Richardson Helped Bring Change

From Sept. 11, 1999 game program

Catholic University Head Coach Tom Clark can't take all the credit for recruiting senior defensive end Richard Change. He has to give an assist to former Cardinal nose guard Dick Richardson (1994-97), a high school teammate of Change's at St. Pius X in Atlanta. It was Richardson who first told Change about CUA.

"All he said were great things about Catholic and how he loved it, and how the engineering program was great," said Change, who's majoring in computer engineering. "And his parents said the same thing."

Clark first met Change in Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport in 1995 while the Cardinals were en route to play Trinity in San Antonio, Texas. It was Richardson's mother who brought Change to the airport. He eventually chose Catholic over Georgia, Furman and Lehigh.

"I came up for a visit and I loved it," he said.

The 6-foot, 215-pound Change is in his second year as a starter. In last Saturday's 26-21 loss to John Carroll, five of his six total tackles were behind the line.

"That's amazing," said Clark, who also saw Change and fellow senior defensive captain, linebacker Brian Hee, combine for a 7-yard sack. "He has a knack for doing that. Right now, he and Brian are the glue that we can count on each week."

In years past, last week's loss could have wiped out the Cards' chances of advancing to the NCAA playoffs for a third straight year. But with this year's playoffs expanded from 16 to 28 teams, and an automatic bid awarded to the club's new league-the Old Dominion Athletic Conference-CUA can still advance to the postseason.

"Last year our season could very well be done by now," Change said. "That's just not the case this year. We've got a conference to hopefully win, and I think that's what everybody's shooting for."

Change last year led the Cardinals in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (9.5). Clark said Change is a strong All-American candidate whose primary physical skills are speed and aggressiveness.

"He just overwhelms you with his speed, and then is just physically strong enough to deal with bigger people," he said. "His speed, at this level, is pretty impressive. I don't think there's too many guys that have the big-play potential from that position that he has."

One of Change's biggest personal thrills was a 20-yard fumble recovery last year against Newport News that resulted in his first collegiate touchdown.

"His job is to pressure the quarterback and disrupt the running game," Clark said. "We ask him to be a playmaker in the backfield. I'd like to see him start ripping balls out of guys' hands and be a little more ball-conscious.

"He's certainly the guy we look for to make the big play on the defensive line."

"I'm just trying to make a play," said Change, who was named second-team All-South Region in 1997 after recording 8.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. "If you're hustling and you're playing hard, I think a big play's just going to happen naturally."

Change, well known for his chiseled physique, credits his rock-solid body largely to wrestling for four years in high school. He placed fourth in the Georgia state championships as a 160-pound freshman and third as a 171-pound senior.

"In wrestling you use every single muscle in your body," he said. "So, I think that's what pretty much did it for me."