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Q&A with Cary Koch

Senior wide receiver Cary Koch began his collegiate career at Tulane as a freshman in 2005. Just prior to the season, however, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans with devastating effect forcing the cancellation of the school’s fall semester. Koch and his Green Wave teammates relocated to Ruston, La., approximately 250 miles away, and lived the life of nomads with 11 games in 11 weeks in 11 different stadiums. Koch transferred to UVa prior to training camp two years ago and was granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA due to the aftereffects of Katrina. As Hurricane Gustav narrowly missed hitting New Orleans last week and Hanna and Hurricane Ike intensifying in the Atlantic, Koch’s thoughts naturally turn to weather events that have affected his career.

Q: Are you a weather watcher?
A: Yes, I am.

Q: Does this whole weather issue bring back memories?
A: Yes, it does. I talked to a friend last Wednesday who is still on Tulane’s team who said they were evacuated again. If I had stayed at Tulane (Hurricane Katrina) would have been my freshman year. They were joking with me saying, I was glad to be out Tulane for the second evacuation of the team.’

Q: What did they describe to you about the situations like this?
A: The last time that we evacuated they told us to bring a bag for two or three days, and they said to pack a suitcase because they didn’t what the damage was going to be as far as Gustav. They evacuated to Birmingham and I haven’t talked to them since Saturday. I don’t know what their situation is as far as when Tulane’s going to reopen.

Q: What about your family in Baton Rouge?
A: Baton Rouge is more inland but this time my family decided to stay up here during the hurricane. They evacuated up here. Baton Rouge just got high winds and hurricane weather as far as that but no flooding.

Q: Have you heard that Tropical Storm Hanna is supposed to be up here this weekend?
A: Yes, I did hear about it, so I feel like hurricanes are just chasing me.

Q: How tough of a decision was that for you to leave Tulane, and take us through what exactly led to it?
A: I grew up in Baton Rouge and periodically went to New Orleans either to see friends or family. I initially had been recruited by (Tulane) and they stayed with me throughout my whole high school (career) and ended up offering me (a scholarship); it was my only full scholarship offer, so that helped my decision.

When I went there, after Katrina hit and the tough season we had, when I went back to New Orleans in the spring, it just wasn’t the same. I had a good freshman year and basically re-recruited myself to the schools that initially recruited me out of high school.

Q: How much did you hear from UVa in high school?
A: Not much. My brother went (Washington & Lee) and he told me I needed to look at east coast schools because … he had a good time up here. He wanted me to look up here as well. So I had sent my tapes out from Tulane up to a bunch of east coast schools and Virginia showed interest.

Q: You talked about New Orleans not being the same. Can you describe the difference you noticed?
A: When we went back in the beginning it was soooo just barren. It looked like a third world country. There were no stoplights, no street signs, cars still piled on the side of the road. The people still didn’t come back and still never returned. There was nothing to eat except on campus. You couldn’t really leave campus because you didn’t know if the cops … (were) patrolling. You didn’t know if it was safe out there. There really wasn’t anything else except on the campus when we returned.

Q: What’s it like to have a role of your own this year?
A: I feel like the coaches have really put some trust in me. I’ve try to be calm through the spring and through his fall camp to try to become a go to target, where the quarterbacks have trust in me and can put some confidence in where they’re throwing the ball to me.

Q: Did you ever question your decision to come here given that your the last two seasons were not as productive as what you’d been at Tulane?
A: I don’t regret anything I’ve done so far. I’ve had a great experience coming up here being away from Louisiana and just really living on my own. I think after my freshman year playing so much coming up here, having to prove myself and having to really work hard to get a role like I’m in right now has really pushed me to do well and to excel in some areas.

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