Historical Stats & Info
"It is the most important victory of my career." -- Head Coach Dick Voris, after the
Hoos’ 15-12 victory over Duke on September 27, 1958.  Voris finished his UVA career
with a record of 1-29.
"We've stopped recruiting young men who want to come here to be students first and
athletes second." -- Former Virginia head coach Sonny Randle, describing his strategy
for turning around UVA's football program
"As the score mounted, to 20-0 and finally 26-0, his movements slowed. With two
minutes to go and South Carolina threatening once more, Voris stood behind several
rows of substitutes, staring at his shoes." -- Sports Illustrated, describing Coach Voris’
stellar coaching performance during the Hoos’ 26-0 loss to South Carolina in 1960
"Really, Texas wasn't as good as I thought they'd be." -- Ted Manly, Virginia's
freshman quarterback, after Texas had spanked the Hoos 68-0
5 Questions with Noel LaMontagne
Noel LaMontagne played football at the University of Virginia from 1995-1999. During
those five seasons, the Hoos compiled a record of 39-21 and went to four bowl games.

LaMontagne was one of the most talented and versatile offensive linemen ever to play
at the University. After playing in nine games (including one start) as a redshirt
freshman in 1996, LaMontagne started all 11 games at left guard in 1997. In 1998,
LaMontagne helped pave the way for Thomas Jones' first 1,000 yard season and was
voted 1st Team All-ACC, despite missing three games after injuring his ankle against
Georgia Tech. He was back in the starting lineup for the regular season finale against
Virginia Tech, when the Hoos stormed back from a 29-7 halftime deficit to stun the
20th-ranked Hokies, 36-32.

LaMontagne was selected as a team captain in 1999.  He started the first seven
games at left guard before moving over to left tackle for the final four regular season
games. His strong run blocking was instrumental in helping Thomas Jones rumble for
a UVA-record 1,798 yards and 16 touchdowns. LaMontagne was once again voted 1st
Team All-ACC, becoming UVA's first offensive lineman to be named to the 1st Team in
consecutive seasons since Ray Roberts.  He was also named to two All-America
teams (1st Team All-America by The Sporting News, 2nd Team All-America by College
& Pro Football Newsweekly). In addition, he won the ACC's Tatum Award as its top

Despite suffering a knee injury against Illinois in the 1999 MicronPC Bowl, LaMontagne
was picked up by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2000. He was with the
Browns for two seasons, playing alongside former Hoos Wali Rainer, Percy Ellsworth,
and Ryan Kuehl.

Following his NFL career, LaMontagne joined Eastern Athletic Services, where he
currently works as a sports agent.
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1.  What's the hardest hit you remember laying on an opponent?

As an offensive lineman it starts to get really hard to remember all the hits, because
you are knocking your head against someone on pretty much every play.  You actually
become numb to it and what you really focus on are the hard hits that you receive,
because those are the guys that you have to pay back later in the game.  The hardest
hit I ever received was friendly fire in a summer camp scrimmage.  Just before the
whistle and next to the pile I was finishing a block, when I saw a blur coming in my left
eye, I had just enough time to brace myself before impact so that I could keep my feet.  
It was one of those loud plastic helmet to helmet pops that leaves your ears ringing
and I can just remember taking the guys momentum and using it to slam the guy in to
the pile after the hit.  Sure enough, I look at his chest and see "3" and then I can see
through his mask it's Poindexter smiling and saying something like, "I was trying to
light you up big Noel," and I just muttered a couple cuss words and started back to the
huddle.  Thankfully I outweighed Dex by a hundred pounds or so and I saw him at the
last second, otherwise it would have been ugly for me in the oline room later that day!  
But, at the same time I finally realized why Dex put so much fear in to ball carriers
because that guy could bring some power with him when he made contact.  I never got
to pay him back for it, but watching him play for four years was enough payback, Dex is
still the best football player I have ever seen on a football field at any level.  Had his
career gone a different way, everyone who watched him knew he would end up in
Canton, there just wasn't another spot capable of containing that talent.

The hardest hit I ever saw or heard was my true freshman year, again in a summer
camp scrimmage, James Farrior hit Tiki Barber in the hole, head on, and knocked him
out.  I vividly remember the noise it made and I can still remember seeing Tiki's head
snap back so fast and hard that he had a gash on the back of his neck from where his
helmet cut him.  Tiki was done for the day and he still has a scar on the back of his
neck from the gash.  Up until that point the offense had been running up and down the
field on the defense and Coach Welsh just exploded on the defense, questioned them,
ridiculed them, pretty much just dressed them down.  On the very next play Potsie
made that hit, and from there on it was pretty much over.  I would say that both sides
played to a stalemate, and our offense was good, so that turnaround was impressive
to say the least.  Coach Welsh did not say a word the rest of the scrimmage.

For me actually delivering a hit, we used to run what we called a "Jailbreak" screen
play, where the front side offensive linemen would block their guys to the outside of the
formation and invite their players deep upfield.  On the backside of the play we would
begrudgingly invite our guys to the inside and release them a count or two later than
the front side guys.  The running back would fake out in to the backside flat and then
come back behind the defense towards the middle of the field and behind the rushers.  
As we were releasing our guys to the inside, the quarterback would dump the ball over
the defenders and we would loop back around in front of the running back with the ball
and pick guys off as they turned around and realized what was going on in the play.  It
was a guaranteed kill shot on defensive lineman and backers all over the place.  For
us, watching the film on those plays was a comedy show and it was always a lot of fun.
 I would have to say, just based on strategic advantage alone, my biggest delivered hit
had to have come on one of those plays.  We would always look at each other in the
huddle and be so happy if we were called to the backside of the formation for those
plays.  Other than that, I played a lot of guard and pulled a ton in my career, so I am
sure I had a few good shots on some pull plays too.  As a big guy it takes some time to
build up enough momentum for a big hit, its not quite like a safety running full tilt on
someone from the secondary, so pull plays would give me that time to get downhill.  It
is like turning an aircraft carrier, most people see it coming, so the sneaky plays were
our best bet to make a highlight reel.

2.  What's your favorite memory from your time in Charlottesville?

The thing that always amazes me about my time in Charlottesville is the overwhelming
amount of fond memories that I accumulated.  Something as simple as walking
through campus on a really nice Spring day or the smell of an empty Scott Stadium
when we would get off the bus and walk the field before a game.  Virginia has a power
to it that made you feel like you were part of history just by attending the University and
experiencing it on a daily basis.  I am originally from eastern Pennsylvania and when
Virginia started recruiting me, I really did not know anything about the school or the
football team.  I grew up in Penn State, Michigan, and Notre Dame country, so Virginia
might as well of been the deep south to me.  But from the first day that I set foot on
campus, I felt like I was a part of something special and I felt like a part of the family.  
We had to report early my first year because we were playing Michigan in the Pigskin
Classic, I want to say that we reported on July 31st that year.  It was hot, all of the
freshman were wide-eyed and clueless as to what we were getting in to, but the locker
room and the University made us very close and made us all get along in a way that life
in general just cannot do.  Given that all of us came from all over the country, north,
south, east, and west, I think that is a special thing, to create friends from different
classes, backgrounds, races, ages, the whole nine, we became a family.  

Ironically, the football memory that always comes to mind for me when I am asked this
occurred at one of the worst moments of my career.  My senior year we were playing
Illinois in a bowl game down in Florida, I always confuse the name of the game,
because I think it has had about seven or eight different ones since its inception.  But
either way, Illinois beat our heads in and we just no answer for it all night long.  The
first quarter was a hard fought battle, but we lost three starting left tackles to injury,
including myself, who was the starting left guard at kickoff, and with those injuries up
front and a few others around the offense, we collapsed.  I watched the second half on
a sideline cart with a blown knee, so I had all kinds of reasons to be especially
bummed out during that game.  But late in the fourth quarter our offense was pinned
deep in our own territory and the whole night turned around for us on one play.
Apparently the quarterback called an audible in the huddle and ended up running a
deep route for our third string quarterback slash all American holder, Will Thompson.  
Will ran a deep sideline pattern and got behind the secondary and caught a sixty or
seventy yard touchdown to close out the game.  It was Will's only touchdown of his
career and it was awesome.  I think in some small way it let us know that if all things
were equal and we had our guns on the field, we would have made the game a
different type of contest.  Again, it just went back to our mentality of never giving up in a
game, despite the score, we just could not kneel down and accept our fate in a loss.  
On a night where a lot of us needed a reason to laugh and raise our heads, Will's
touchdown did that for us and that is why I think it always resonates with me as such a
strong memory.

3.  Did you ever see Coach Welsh laugh?

Outside of a chuckle or an odd smile, I cannot really recall seeing Coach Welsh ever
come out and laugh, certainly not a hard laugh or a gut busting guffaw.  I am sure he
has it in him and he probably has a lot of it built up over the years, so when he does
belt it out, it is probably impressive to see him.  I do recall a moment my freshman year
at Maryland where it had to have been one of the happiest moments of his career.  We
went in to the game one win away from the ACC title and Maryland was extremely
outmatched against us that year.  But, given the rivalry and the physical nature of the
Maryland game every year, anything could have happened.  Needless to say, we came
out with a historic win and locked in the ACC title and in the locker room after the game
Coach Welsh got up on a table and led a celebratory cheer.  It was almost surreal
seeing him standing on a table in the middle of the visitors locker room screaming,
"Hip, hip, HOORAY!", at the top of his lungs.  We all got in to it, because our first
reaction was that of being stunned, but we were all screaming and yelling right beside
him and it was a lot of fun.  We had plenty of happy moments in my years there, but for
some reason the look on his face during that cheer sticks out to me as one of his
happiest.  Not quite a laugh, but a big smile will have to suffice!

4.  What have you been doing since you left UVA?

Since leaving the University, I have gotten to experience a great deal of amazing
opportunities that have enriched my life significantly.  I realized my childhood dream of
playing in the NFL, I have gotten to travel all over the country and world, met people that
I had only ever known in magazines and on television, and I stumbled in to a career
that I enjoy immensely on a day to day basis.  The funny thing about the game of
football is that it can really take over your life.  In order to succeed at any level, you have
to pour your life in to improving every single day.  When you throw a full college course
load at one of the best Universities in the world, your time can get eaten up pretty quick
and it does not leave you with much freedom to explore the world or life in general.  It is
just a sacrifice that you have to make if you want to accomplish all of your goals that
surround the game.  After my football career ended, I was able to open up my life and
do a lot of things that I never had the time to do before, while I would never trade my
experience in the locker room or on the football field away, the liberation of being away
from the game has been an equally amazing experience.  Now, I completely
understand what it must have been like to just be a regular student at the University,
we always used to watch people walk around campus and wonder what it would have
been like to not have practice, meetings, lifts, travel days, study hall, and all the other
things that our schedules were filled up by day to day.   

5.  What do I need to do to get guns like Thomas Jones?

I got turned on to what we used to call the "Early Morning Crew" in my freshman year at
Virginia.  It is not really all that ground breaking a name, but it basically related to a lift
and run session that would start around 6 or 7 in the morning every day of in and off
season workouts.  The group ebbed and flowed over the years, but the core always
remained and more and more guys caught on as we got older.  I know I will forget a
bunch of the names, but I can remember myself, John St. Clair, Matt Link, Doug
Karczewski, Patrick Kerney, Duane Stukes, Walt Derey, Kofi Bawuah, Dillon Taylor, Rob
Hunt, Travis Griffith, and of course, Thomas Jones.  Pretty much the group consisted of
the offensive line, some select defensive lineman, a few other dedicated skill guys and
Thomas.  Thomas worked out with us so we could teach him how to be strong and
really chisel his body properly.  I think it is pretty well known in the football world that
lineman possess the most muscle mass on the field, we just have to cushion it to
prolong our careers and protect ourselves from all that contact we have to endure.  
Unfortunately for Thomas, he was never able to really cushion himself with much more
than one or two percent body fat, and he was left looking like Adonis.  I guess at the
end of the day he has battled through it and made it work for him, but not all of us can
look like offensive linemen, after hard work gets you to a certain point you need the
genetics to really drive it home!

In all seriousness, Thomas was and is one of the hardest working people I have ever
been around on or off the football field.  He was a great student, he has proven to be a
great humanitarian, and I think the football speaks for itself.  I ran in to him after an NFL
game two years ago at Giants Stadium and I asked him if he got stung by a bee colony.
 I sure hope his skin is elastic, because he is going to be sagging all over the place
when he deflates after his career!

Wa Hoo Wa!
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