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If bears are like this in Maine, that is not how life should be.
Today at Orange::44 we have an expert on the Maine Black Bears. However, unlike our usual fare of interviewing opposing team bloggers, we have a bone fide expert. Rich Kimble is the play-by-play announcer for the Maine football team, and he was kind enough to answer some of my questions on his team and some of his other thoughts.

1. Orange::44: For those of us not familiar with Maine Football, what should we know about this team? How have they traditionally done in the FCS?

Rich Kimball: Maine has made three trips to the FCS/1-AA playoffs since 2001. In '01 & '02, the Bears won first round games at McNeese State & Appalachian State before losing in the national quarterfinals. Last year Maine lost in the first round to Northern Iowa. The Bears have seven former players on active NFL rosters, tops among FCS teams, including San Diego LB Stephen Cooper, Mike DeVito of the Jets, Jacksonville Special Teams standout Montell Owens, and Pro-Bowler Lofa Tatupu who played his freshman year at Maine before transferring to USC.

2. Orange::44: Who are the players that will have the most impact for Maine on the field this Saturday?

Rich: One of Maine's top offensive players, All-American fullback Jared Turcotte will not play. He has surgery this week for a groin injury and is out indefinitely. The Bears have used a quarterback rotation the last couple of weeks, led by 3rd Team All-American Michael Bruskoa sophomore transfer from Iona, Warren Smith. Maine also features a solid running back combination with sophomores Derek Sesson and Roosevelt Boone. Landis Williams and Desmond Randall have been the team's top receivers. On defense, Senior DE Jordan Stevens is off to a strong start, along with LB Brandon McLaughlin and safeties Trevor Coston and Jarrron McMillian.

3. Orange::44: What is your opinion of the Greg Paulus experiment, and what do you think of his performance thus far?

Rich: Personally, I think the Greg Paulus experiment is great for college sports. To have a young man of his tremendous talent get the chance to have one more year of athletic eligibility is something that I'm sure has generated a lot of excitement for Orange fans, and even the Maine fans have been talking about it, having watched his exploits at Duke the past four years.

4. Orange::44: What do you see is the biggest match up for the game Saturday night?

Rich: Maine has struggled to find an offensive rhythm with Jared Turcotte out of action and it won't get any easier against a tough BCS foe. I think the ability of the Bears fairly young line to keep guys like Arthur Jones and Jared Kimmel out of the backfield will be key, but most of all, Maine will need to try and find some offensive balance. On defense, Maine will be challenged in pass coverage, with some talented receivers like Williams and Davis to contend with. The Bears will probably try and keep things fairly simple, maybe trying to put some pressure on Paulus and of course, trying to contain the running of Delone Carter. For Maine to stay competitive, they'll have to play mistake-free football, get good field position and maintain a healthy time of possession.

5. Orange::44: Do you see this game being close, or will the players on Syracuse be too much for Maine to handle?

Rich: This is the sixth straight year that Maine has played a BCS opponent. In their first match-up, they beat Mississippi State 9-7...the next year they trailed Nebraska 15-7 and were driving for a score in the 4th quarter, before eventually falling 22-7. After a close game with Boston College the next year, they've been hammered in the last two "step-up" games, including a 40-3 loss at Iowa last year. Maine won't be intimidated, but it is a young team, still searching for an offensive identity. Obviously, Syracuse is a huge favorite, but the Bears have shown great resiliency the past few years, and they're a hungry bunch after a disappointing loss at Albany last week. Maine will take some comfort in the fact that four CAA teams have wins over BCS teams this year and UMass just missed beating Kansas State, so they're certainly not going out there expecting to lose.

6. Orange::44: Finally, Syracuse has a prominent school of broadcasting. Being a professional in the field, what is the best thing about being the play-by-play announcer?

Rich: I've been doing the play-by-play for Maine for thirteen years on radio and covered the team on television for many years before that. For me, radio play-by-play is the most enjoyable aspect of broadcasting. The chance to paint a picture for listeners, to try and make them not only feel like they're a part of the game, but to really help them visualize what's happening is great fun, and while I've covered many sports, nothing matches the week-in and week-out excitement of college football.

Editor’s Note: Rich Kimball is in his thirteenth season as the voice of University of Maine Football. He has been selected twice as Maine's Sportscaster of the Year by the National Association of sportscasters and Sportswriters and has won numerous play-by-awards from the Associated Press and the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Rich also holds a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine and works as the Freshman Coordinator at Brewer (Maine) High School and is a veteran stage actor who has appeared in over sixty professional productions in the past fifteen years.
Once again, a very special thanks to Rich and Chris Sedenka for setting up the interview. Rich will be on Matt Mc's Sports Fix tomorrow, so be sure to tune in for that or check out the podcast. Also tune into The Big Jab, hosted by Chris today around 5:25 for an interview with Delone Carter. Just click the live audio stream on their website.

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