Anyway, I was just saying how much fun it is to win and celebrate with these guys. And after all these years of coaching, that is by far the most fun for me, is to be in that locker room after a game like that and celebrate. And there's nothing like it. You know, people talk about games that -- I've heard the term meaningless bowl games. I mean, it just makes me mad when I hear that because I know how much it meant to us. And if you're in that locker room, you would have seen it. If you were in that practice every day, you would have seen it, and just really proud of our guys for just busting their tails for us and trusting us.
And we in the game started out sorry and the defense is playing great -- started sorry offensively. You know, the defense could have started pointing fingers and getting mad and all that kind of thing. We just don't do that here. It starts with the coaches and the players follow suit. Then we get one big play to Ahmmon [Richards] and I don't know if anybody knew it or not but the kid pulled a hamstring about ten days ago or whatever it was. Slightly pulled it. That's the first day he ran full speed was right there. So I'm glad his hamstring was healed. But he hadn't practiced for a while now. But, you know, one play kind of sparked the team offensively, especially, and I think helped Brad get out of -- he was just missing some targets. Not quite on the money balls that may have been catchable, but not the darts that I'm used to seeing him throw. And then after that, he just -- he took off and started drilling the ball. And I thought the -- excuse me -- the drive right before the half was huge. There's a lot of huge things, but we -- we really didn't have any one-minute drills the whole season. There might have been one. I can't even remember. We might have started one and didn't get much out of the first play and then just took a knee or whatever we did. That might have been the first one-minute drive of the year that ended in a score. There may have been one other somewhere along the way. And we really hadn't practiced in a while, because on Thursdays, you tend to -- it's a day I want to get their legs back and if I make them get full speed in that drill, sometimes I'm worried about a hamstring or something like that. Just a great job by everybody doing that type of one-minute drive without really practicing a lot. We talked about it a lot, but we didn't practice it at full speed really until tonight, and we hadn't done that probably since mid-season. So, anyway, I'm talking too much. I'll let you-all ask whatever questions you want to ask and we'll go from there.
Q. Can you recall a game that turned on a dime so quickly like that and I know you -- I mean, you guys kept staying with it and staying with it and you gave that one big one to Ahmmon Richards, but obviously you had to be quite worried after six punts?
MARK RICHT: How many drives was it? We had six drives with nothing. Yeah. That was fun. I'm shocked we had a first down in that mess. You know, I think you've got to give a lot of credit to West Virginia, especially their front. Their down lineman whipped us inthe run game. I don't know if we ever really had a run that we just blocked everybody beautifully and we caught a crease and got some -- a nice, positive gain. I think the only time that we might have had a long run was when we might have bounced something that wasn't there. He got stuffed and bounced it and got some yards here and there, but I don't know if we really had a running play that we just knocked anybody off the ball and created a scene for a back. So you've got to give West Virginia's defense, their line and linebackers and their defensive coaches credit. They did a great job of stoning us and then, you know, thankfully we made a couple of plays throwing the ball and the damn kind of broke a little bit.
Q. Coach, how big this win was for you?
MARK RICHT: It means a lot. It means a lot. I love this school. It blessed me during my time here. It blessed me more with life lessons, probably, than anything else, being a backup to Jim Kelly, one of the greatly players ever at Miami and in the NFL. So I think the biggest lesson I learned is, you don't always get what you think you earned. We have people work hard. And you think, well, I earned it. Well, I worked hard enough, but this other guy was better. That's life. You've got to learn that. You don't always get what you want. You don't always get what you think you earned, and you've got to learn to decide every day what your attitude's going to be and how hard are you going to work? So I knew I could control how hard I worked. I knew I could control my attitude. And then I trusted God with everything else after that. It was just a good life lesson for me.
Q. Coach, as a former quarterback, what did you tell your quarterback after the first quarter to settle him down? He was overthrowing receivers. How did you settle him down?
MARK RICHT: I just said, just let it rip, you know. Just throw those BBs that I'm used to seeing in practice. Just let it rip, you know. Put it on him, because he's one of the most accurate guys, you know, but sometimes he'll be -- he understands that more games are lost than won, okay, so he doesn't want to put the ball in jeopardy. So sometimes he's careful, maybe a little too careful at times, but then once he just kind of turned it lose and started drilling the ball with confidence, it was over after that. He did a great job.
Q. Coach, in each of your three previous games where your team ran for less than 100 yards, you lost to the team. So to do that tonight, if you would, describe how the passing game made up for that and was able to help you all win this game.
MARK RICHT: Okay. So we ran for less than 100 yards. Well, again, just guys making plays. You know, we -- I know the first touchdown, I don't think it was man coverage. I think it was a zone coverage, and Ahmmon [Richards] just kind of cut across the field and scored. The touchdown on the one-minute drill, I know was man coverage. I know [David] Njoku's coverage was man coverage. So a lot of times, if you play us man-to-man, we've got some pretty good skilled guys that can hurt you, if you can get the ball to them. A lot of times it's just a matter of protection. Can you protect well enough to give [Brad] Kaaya a minute to sight it up and put it on him? That happened enough times where we were able to take over the game, you know, throwing the ball but it just wasn't -- it wasn't a pretty overall offensive performance, but we made enough plays to win it.
Q. Coach, could you just try to put in perspective -- I know it just ended -- but this season for you, your first in Miami? You had some ups and downs but finished up the right way.
MARK RICHT: No doubt. I wish we would have made an extra point early in the year. That would have been nice. Who knows how things might have changed then, but, you know, that's part of life. We didn't get it done. The games we lost, we're mostly in every one of them. The Virginia Tech game got away pretty much mid fourth quarter. We had a chance to score and get it within 7 at one time with maybe 5 minutes to go in the game. We might could have made it a game, but we didn't score, and then they did. They were up 14, went up 21 or whatever it was. But other than that, we were battling it in every game. We fought hard. We've got to learn to win the close ones. So that will be important.
But as far as my perspective, I do remember the first couple of days being at practice, bowl practice, and allowing the former staff to finish. They had done such a great job at the end of the year, last year, and I just got to kind of watch, got to meet the guys little by little, and I knew I was going to fall in love with them, you know. You love them before you get to know them because that's just part of your job, but once you get to know their personalities and everything -- the relationships to me are very important. Strategy in competition kind of got me in the coaching business, but the relationships with these guys is really the most important thing to me now, other than watching them jump in the locker room and win games and championships. I love that too, believe me, but I think it's -- I don't know. I would call it more of a mission for me than a job.
Q. Good evening, Coach. Can you speak about your receivers, specifically Coley, who threw two big blocks on scoring plays?
MARK RICHT: He did.
Q. It seemed like all your receivers were all into today running, blocking?
MARK RICHT: Early on, we didn't run block very well. Even some of those little swing passes we throw out there, we didn't block very well in the beginning and then westarted to sling them out there and we started to block a little better. And before you know it, we gained a lot of confidence. Of course, the one to [David] Njoku was just a great job. [Brad] Kaaya seeing that -- normally man coverage, we won't throw that ball to that receiver, because the defender, if he's got a man-to-man, he could just take a beeline to them. But they were trying to disguise the blitz. They were deep enough where [Brad] Kaaya knew if he ripped it out there, we had a chance. Then, as you mentioned, [Stacy] Coley's out there in front of it, finishing off his guy and allowing [David] Njoku to get in the end zone, and that's big. We're big on receivers blocking. We're big on running backs blocking. But those guys just aren't running and pass catching specialists.
Early on, I thought West Virginia was just whipping us. First quarter, it was just very evident. They were just more physical than us up front and in the perimeter. But, again, you know, we got the one play. We got more confidence. It energized the team and we just started getting after them a little bit better. I don't know if fatigue set in with them or not, but a lot of times throughout the game, no matter how good a shape you are in, you're not going to have the same stinger as you do early in the game.
Q. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the momentum now going forward when you were able to end the season with a win. That's something Miami hasn't done for such a long time. How do you want this to translate over the next few months and going into the spring?
MARK RICHT: I think it's going to bless our program in recruiting. I think it's going to help us, even our current players, to be looking forward to the future. I hope that people that watch this game that have a say in, you know, who's who or whatever in college football, hopefully they've got a good feeling about us and that we're on the rise and I think our fans are going to get even more energized. I think even things like fundraising for indoor facilities and things like that hopefully will continue to move forward in a real positive way. There's just a lot of positives to it.