Russ Huesman's delayed Richmond debut set for Friday in Waco

Russ Huesman's delayed Richmond debut set for Friday in Waco

August 30th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Russ Huesman talks to the media in Thursday at his last press conference Thursday at McKenzie Arena.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

The unrelenting rain that southeast Texas has received in recent days from Hurricane Harvey has resulted in the rescheduling of multiple sporting events.

Including the debut of the Russ Huesman era at Richmond.

The former head football coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was supposed to take his FCS No. 7 Spiders to No. 3 Sam Houston State this past Sunday in an opener that had been moved up four days so it could be televised by ESPNU. Harvey scratched that scenario, so Richmond and Sam Houston State will vie this Friday night at Baylor University in Waco.

Sam Houston State, located 70 miles north of Houston in Huntsville, is closed and is scheduled to reopen next Tuesday. Waco is 130 miles northwest of Huntsville.

Huesman, who went 59-37 in eight seasons with the Mocs and won three straight Southern Conference titles, was a guest Tuesday of "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 FM:

Q: How crazy has it been trying to pin down the day and location of your opener?

A: "Yesterday was a wild day, to be honest with you. Obviously they decided not to play it Sunday, which was the right thing to do, and thank goodness Baylor stepped up and are letting us play in their stadium. It feels like we've been in camp for about two years now. Our players are itching to play, and we were prepared to leave on Saturday. Our game plan was done.

"When it wasn't played on Sunday, it became a waiting game. We practiced on Sunday and banged them around a little bit, because we didn't do much last Thursday or Friday."

Q: You posted your support of the Mocs last week on Twitter. How much of their game against Jacksonville State did you watch?

A: "It was tough watching that, and I watched the whole game. I probably shouldn't have tweeted that out, because I got all of the Jacksonville State fans coming at me like I was still the coach there. Don't they know I'm not there anymore? That's all I kept getting. Those people hate me, and I'm up here in Virginia now. It's ridiculous.

"The one thing I saw was that Coach (Tom) Arth and his staff had them playing hard. I know there was some adversity going into that thing, but those guys are going to be good. I saw kids flying around, and I saw a lot of young kids making plays."

Q: How different has it been taking over a program with head-coaching experience?

A: "It's weird, because when I took the Chattanooga job, it was so down. You win a game, and everybody thinks you're smart. Here, the program has been on solid ground, and there has been such tradition. The past 10 years have been great for Richmond football, so there is a lot more pressure coming and taking this job than there was taking the job at Chattanooga.

"If we found the bus with Chattanooga at that point in time, it was a plus."

Q: How much have you been able to keep tabs with (son) Jacob as he tries to make the roster of the New York Giants?

A: "I try to watch him when they play those preseason games. Sometimes I can watch, and sometimes I can't. Obviously we text back and forth. This is a learning experience for him. He's never played fullback before. He's got to beat out a bunch of people, and it all depends on how he does on special teams. He's got one more preseason game, so we'll see what happens.

"I'm not only rooting for him but all our guys who are in NFL camps right now. We've got eight Chattanooga guys in camp right now, and that's mind-boggling to me. It's fun to watch and follow those guys."

Q: Will you erupt during halftime interviews at Richmond like you did on occasion at UTC?

A: "I may have a new lease on life now. I'm getting to the point now where I don't want to be entertaining. I just want to be in the background a little bit. Some of the halftime interviews I had earlier in my career were not something I'm proud of."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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