Quotes Following Football's 34-7 Win Over Jackson State



Aug 29, 2013

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Tulane 34, Jackson State 7
Tulane Game 1
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.


HEAD COACH Curtis Johnson

Opening statement
"It's good to be home. I'm glad I'm not driving back from Birmingham. I think I'll go home, and I hope I'll have lights. I think last year, I didn't have any of those things. The victory was outstanding tonight. It's good to be 1-0. There is a lot to improve on. We'll get better as the season goes on."

On the establishing the running game
"That was the first thing that we talked about last year at the end of the season. We have to establish the running game. I thought those guys did pretty well. (RB Orleans) Darkwa had two running touchdowns. We did a pretty good job running it in spurts. We just have to get a little more consistent in our running game."

On Nick Montana's debut
"I think as he goes on and gets his feet wet a little bit more, he'll get a lot better. He missed a couple of throws that I thought he definitely had. A couple of times he ran out of some trouble. He was very effective on some of those deep balls. The receivers went up, we got around the goal line and he threw a couple of touchdowns, so I think he did pretty good."

On Montana's red zone patience
"That comes from years of playing. He is a little bit more comfortable with that than a couple of those other guys."

On the defensive line
"I thought they played pretty good. I would like to see the front play a little bit more and stop the run. I need a pass rusher. I need some guys rushing the passer with a four-man front. Otherwise, I thought they swarmed the ball well and they ran to the ball. A couple of those (turnovers) we got were just from hard hits."

On the lack of depth at the cornerback position tonight
"We didn't have (CB Jordan) Batiste tonight, and then Doss goes out, so we ended up playing with some young guys that have not played before. I thought they played well for us."

On the number of freshmen played
"We were counting them up, and I think we got to 13. I was trying to get the number for you. That's good for us, but you don't want to be a program where you are playing 13 freshmen every week."

On playing Devin Powell
"I want to play Powell every game up until a point because here is what happened last year: we get to the second game, and (former QB Ryan) Griffin was gone. We just have to make sure we are playing a quarterback. We can't be afraid to play the kid. We may need him to win a game."

On Lorenzo Doss' ejection for targeting
"The guy said he speared him. (He said) head-to-head contact. But I didn't see it that way. I'm going to appeal it because he might be out for more than just this game. We'll definitely see this again. I'm going to appeal that."

On the referees reviewing Doss' hit
"They reviewed it, but they just upheld it."

On Dominique Robertson leaving the game early
"Dominique was ok. I thought he had a cramp, and that was it. There were no major injuries, so there is nothing to add to the injury report."

On whether he thought Montana was nervous at the start of the game
"No, not nervous, but I thought he just had to get accustomed to what we were doing and what we were playing. The first drive, I thought he drove the ball pretty good. We wanted to run the ball, and that was the theme. We have to run the ball and establish the run. And that's what we did. We didn't want to open this thing up and have to rely on Nick like we had to do with (former QB) Ryan (Griffin) last year. I don't think we have to do that with Nick."

On how key it is to have Orleans Darkwa back healthy
"I think it was very important for Darkwa to come out and play like he played. I think he played pretty good. He hadn't played very much. He was injured all last year. He was probably the top back coming into this season, so we just wanted to get him off to a good start, and I think we did that."

On Ryan Grant's athletic catches
"Ryan can do those types of things. He just went up and got some catches. He looked great to me. Devon Breaux had another one in the end zone. He's a young kid, a high jumper, and he's athletic. And that was against a real good corner. He was the preseason player of the year in the SWAC. Devon just went over him and took it from him."

On creating turnovers
"When our defensive line puts pressure on the quarterback, (six turnovers) are the kinds of numbers you'll get. That was the same thing we did with (former New Orleans Saints safety Darren) Sharper. He ran about a 5.3 40 (yard dash), but he was just back there getting catches because we put a lot of heat on guys. That's exactly what we want to do."

On using this game to approach the next games
"What this does is helps me to figure out the mistakes. It's good to have a big win, but also, I see some things that we did not do well. So now, I can kind of grind on them a little bit."

On whether or not they wanted the shutout
"You always want your defense to have a shutout. Anytime you can do that, it builds morale. It gives you something to look to. Our kids gave up a couple of big plays."

On Montana's demeanor
"He was very, very cool. I don't see him getting rattled too much. I wanted to yell at him a little bit just to see how he would respond. I had an opportunity to, and he just responded outstanding."

On why he didn't play Tanner Lee
"We were going through the decisions we were making, and we felt like he was the least likely to see the blitz. This team blitzed a lot. We need to get him more comfortable seeing the blitz. I just felt that Tanner wasn't quite ready for that in a game-like situation."

On the next step
"Our theme is going to be the same all year. First and foremost, we are going to run the ball. There are going to be some eight-man fronts that we are going to (face). We just have to establish a running game. And we have to stop them from rushing. I have to get that edge rusher."

On the new uniforms
"They loved it. They just loved it. They were buzzing about it all week."

On Devon Walker being on hand at tonight's game
"Anytime a man goes through what he's gone through, and he even wants to look at a football, that's inspiring to me. He's been an inspiration to our team and to all of us. He's a shot in the arm. I'm trying to make him one of my assistant coaches, but he sleeps to late, and you have to wake up a little bit early."

On what Devon Walker did pregame and at halftime
"He was with us at pregame and halftime. He spoke to us pregame. He just said that he couldn't play anymore and that his football days were over, but now there is a big opportunity for him. He was just inspiring."

Junior QB Nick Montana

On his first game at Tulane
"It was not what I wanted, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement, especially for me. The offensive line played awesome, and same with my receivers, they made some great plays, I just have to get the ball to them quicker and give them more opportunities to make plays, but at the end of the day we won so that's all that matters."

On his touchdown passes
"They were playing man tonight, and I just basically put it up there and both times my receivers went and got it, they made some great plays."

On the running game
"It was awesome, it pretty much set the tone for the game tonight, that and the defense. The offensive line playing the way they did made it a lot easier on us."

Senior RB Orleans Darkwa

On his health
"I feel good, everybody did their jobs well, and the offensive line made holes for all of the running backs. It went pretty well today, I know that we can do better as an offense, we're going to go back and look at the film tomorrow and see what we can do better."

On running the ball stemming from practice
"It definitely does, going into the season, all of the running backs took that stat from last year very personally, and we know we can do better. We emphasized that a lot during practices, and we know we can run the ball better than we did today, so we can't be satisfied with just the stats we had today, we have to keep on improving game in and game out."

On getting big runs in the season opener
"It was good to see those big holes opening up, because we know that with the backs we have, if we just get the smallest hole in the line, we'll be able to get through it. We want to get some big runs, longer than the ones we had today, but it was a good start, and we just have to keep on improving from here."

Senior CB Jordan Sullen

On being back on field
"It was a great feeling to be back out there. I've gained a lot of new brothers on this team, and there are still some old guys on this team that I have good chemistry with; I think we came out and we really brought it. I think we came out fast, for a minute I think we did take our foot off the pedal, but then we regained our momentum, and after that it was history."

On playing off each other in the secondary
"We definitely do, in the secondary we feed off of each other. Sometimes we may come out flat, for whatever reason, it may be that you're nervous or whatever, and some of these guys it was their first game tonight, so it'll be interesting to see what next week is like. We definitely have gained a lot of swagger back there, we have a new attitude, and I love everything about it. We took four balls away today, and that's a great feeling to leave here with, knowing that you took four opportunities away from the offense."



On keeping Clayton Moore on the sideline
"Well, I talked to Clayton this morning and he told me he felt 100 percent mentally ready but about 80 percent ready to play. I just couldn't take a chance on injuring him any further when I know that down the line, conference play starts next week and we need him. So, I decided to go with (LaMontiez) Ivy because he took more snaps during camp. I thought it was the right choice because during camp he has taken 70% of the snaps. I think we made the right decision. I hated losing him (Clayton) tonight. I'm waiting on a report to come in tonight to let me know exactly what took place."

On the injury to Clayton Moore
"I just saw him looking at his lower left leg, but I don't know what it is or what it could possibly be. I sure I will get a report on the way home from the trainer. Well be able to announce something tomorrow."

On positioning for the upcoming SWAC schedule
"We lost a good quarterback, but I think it will make us a better football team. We can see the turnovers that we lost, but we can see that we can drive the football down to the end zone. We can stop people. We are still giving up some big plays and some long bombs on third down. These are some things that we should be able to stop and get a handle on. It is hard to gauge with all of the fumbles and interceptions. It throws you off a bit. Without the turnovers, what could we have done here tonight? I think that if we didn't have those, we would have been in the ballgame. They are a good football team. I'm not taking anything away from them. I take my hat off to them. The coach has done a fine job. We handed that game away."

On outgaining Tulane in yardage
"We had 33 minutes on the clock to their 25. We had more yardage than they had in total yards. We just turned the ball over tonight. When you turn the ball over that many times against a team that is looking to move up in class, you can't do that. They play with a lot of excitement and heart. They wanted the win. They didn't play like Jackson State was going to be a pushover. They played us hard. We needed that. It was a good test for us. I think we will be better for it."

LB Todd Wilcher

On falling to the Green Wave
"Of course we wanted to come out and get a win. That was first and foremost, but pretty much we wanted to come out, look crisp, play physical, and play hard. I still feel that we did that. We just had some missed opportunities."

On the defensive line
"They did really well. They allowed for myself and my other linebacker to run a lot, which was good. They showed me a lot. They showed me that they can play with these boys. It was Division One and all that, but we played a good game as far as the upfront is concerned. So I'm happy with our D-line."

On stopping Orleans Darkwa
"Basically, just play physical. We knew that they were going to come out and try to pounds us, the `lesser team'. Like I said, we held pretty good upfront. They just wanted to give him his touches this game, I guess. I'm not really sure."

On starting the year against Tulane
"It's always good to put yourself up against the upper echelon. We're the best. That's why we go out there and play this game. We don't play to lose. We don't play this game thinking someone's superior to us. Every team we're going to treat like the Alabama's, the USCs, and the Georgia's. We're going to play Jackson State football."

On missing Clayton Moore
"We missed him. He would've been there once Ivy went down. We depend on all our quarterbacks. We expect all our quarterbacks to step in, and be productive in our offense. Of course Clayton, we need him back soon. We would like to have him back."

WR Tobias Singleton

Overall thoughts on the game
"We played a good game. We left 21 points on the field. We got to play with each other a little bit more. We have to put more points on the board. I had a good game, but I could've done better. I dropped a couple balls, but I got to focus, and I'll be all right."

On the turnover
"I blame me. If I would've got the ball quicker and stayed on my feel, I probably could've scored one time. I ain't blaming nobody. We just got to move on from it."

On out-gaining Tulane offensively
"We knew that we had a good team. No one else knew, but we knew. Like I said, we just got to bond more. We put up a lot of yards."

On being back
"It feels good. I'm just happy to be back. I'm staying focused. It starts with practice, playing hard as a team."