Quotes Following Football's 24-12 Season-Opening Loss To Rutgers



Sept. 1, 2012

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

Rutgers 24, Tulane 12
Tulane Game 1
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.


HEAD COACH Curtis Johnson

Opening Statement
"Give credit to Rutgers. I thought they came in, played well. They ran the ball pretty well on us. I thought the defense played well. We just have to do a better job. I think the worst thing about tonight was the penalties. 11 for 120, that's a football field wroth of penalties. That's two touchdowns that we just gave away. We have to do a better job running the football."

On youth as cause of penalties
"We were very undisciplined tonight. I think we have to be better. There's no excuse for those penalties. Some of the stuff you can say they made some good plays. I thought they made some good defensive calls. But you just can't have penalties. That's not good football."

On offensive line
"One of the problems with the offensive line was we kept getting behind on downs and then we became one dimensional. We just have to find the right guys. This was a learning experience for me just to see who can play and who can't play. Maybe we can do some stuff a little bit simpler. I thought we were pretty generic tonight. We didn't do very much, but we will figure out who the right guys are and we will be better next week."

On anxiety of offensive line
"I thought that they were a little too revved up. I like to see offensive linemen just a little bit cooler in their demeanor and playing the game. They have got to think the game a little bit more. We will get that accomplished. In a couple more weeks, a couple more practices we'll get that."

On Jamaison vs. Defense
"I thought they had a good scheme. I thought that the couches did a great job. He played well."

On lack of rushing yards
"I don't know that there's a blame. I just think that when you're 1st and 20 or 1st and whatever, it's the negative yards I thought that killed us. After we had the big turnover in the second half, we became one dimensional. We had to be one dimensional in order to stay in it."



On not scoring in redzone
"I thought coming out of halftime we had a good drive going. The momentum was on our side. We didn't punch that one in. Then they changed field position on us and we had the big turnover. One thing about those kids is they never quit fighting. It could have been a lot worse. They fought, they hung in there. They put together a good drive at the end. We did score, we had another opportunity but it just wasn't our night."

On changing offense
"I think it was trying to be a little more balanced. I think one stress of our team was our running backs. Then the quarterback started taking a pounding so I just tried to save him a little bit. I just didn't want to stay one dimensional and just getting him hit."

On telegraphing passes
"He was probably sticking to his first read. He made a lot of good completions. I don't know if there was a situation where I can say he looked at this guy the whole time. I thought he was just going to the progression and his read. I thought he played okay."

On high expectations
"I think we just have to keep working. We have some young kids that played well. Some guys in the secondary, I really liked what they did. Also, we know that there's a progression in getting better. There are some things we have to change. As far as just operating in the game, I thought we were doing the stuff we wanted. We just had too many negative plays and the inability to run the football."

On his expectations
"It's always to win. I just have to look at the positives and we have to correct the negatives."

On giving up good kickoff return after cutting the deficit to 7-3
"That was one of the things that was disappointing because we had a scheme where we were crossing face and a couple of guys didn't cross face. They had a natural gap in our coverage. Other than that, I think special teams did a good job. I thought our punters punted well. And the kicker, first game jitters he kicked one out of bounds but I thought he kicked well."

On not playing QB Devin Powell
"I wanted to give him a series in there but the game turned. We just felt that we had to stay the course a little bit to figure out what we were doing. We just began to be so one dimensional. I just didn't want to put that kid a situation where it was a no win, a los situation. But he will play; we'll get him in next week."

CB Ryan Travis

Overall performance of the defense
"Overall the defense was going real well. We kind of made a couple mistakes towards the end, but over I think we played really well for the first game."

On the missed tackles
"We missed a lot of tackles. They didn't really throw the ball deep, but we just missed a lot of tackles."

On the interception
"I give the credit to coach (Lionel) Washington. He called the right play at the right time. Those guys didn't expect the coverage that we called. It was a totally different coverage and again, I give all the credit to coach Washington."

WR Ryan Grant

On coming back from injury
"I just wanted to go out there with my head on right and be focuses throughout the whole night. I told myself the whole week that I needed to play big for my team and be a leader on the field. I did that, but we still didn't come away with the win."

QB Ryan Griffin

On the pressure Rutgers put on
"They were mixing up with cover two and blitz. They did a good job of overloading the side and they did a good job so hats off to them."

On the running game
"The running game is not to blame. We put ourselves in bad situations with holding penalties and false starts. It is tough to relay on the running game to get those yards back. We had to pass the ball. It was just how it came out."

On the penalties
"We did a good job of picking some of those long third downs. The percentages are not always good, but we picked up one or two of them. The guys did well up front. Guys made plays. Ryan Grant was big for us today. He was kind of unstoppable. This is the first game and I'm excited for us to bounce back and get Tulsa."



Opening Statement
"The most exciting part (of getting the win) is that all three phases got to play a big part in the win. On offense, it was certainly the big touchdown run by Jawan (Jamison), a big run by Savon (Huggins) that flips the field and a touchdown catch by Brandon Coleman. On defense, Brandon Jones had a chance for a pick-six earlier in the game and then comes back and gets one a little later in the game. It is exciting to see (Brandon) come back like that and the kickoff return by Jeremy (Deering) at the end of the first half was a huge play in the game. I though we got some nice plays on kickoff coverage from T.J. Johnson, that was really exciting to see that, even though they may go unnoticed by the casual fan. Those were big plays in the game because if he doesn't make those tackles the field position swings could be significant."

On his concerns at 10-6 with Tulane having possession
"You know, I wasn't really concerned because it doesn't surprise me. Like I said during the week; that is a team that beat us two years ago and played a team in our conference to a 37-34 game last year. They are a good football team and have a head coach that who knows a tremendous amount about offensive football. They have an excellent staff and they have hard-working players. It didn't surprise me that it was a close game."

On the offensive struggles early in the game
"I didn't think it was sluggish at all. Early in the game we had a ten play drive and I was excited about some of the things we did early (in the game). I think we had some penalties that kept us from scoring and we had a missed field goal early in the game, but it was nice to see Kyle (Federico) come back and make some kicks. I didn't feel like we were sluggish at all, I just felt like the penalties on both sides probably kept both teams from being a little more productive early on, in terms of the scoreboard. "

On starting quarterback Gary Nova
"I am pleased with the way that Gary played. I am sure he has a throw that he would like to have back and we would certainly like to have it back. I didn't feel at any point that he wasn't the right guy to have out there. I think (Gary) is going to grow and learn from it. Like I said during the process, whoever became the starting quarterback was going to need the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and go forward. I have no doubt in my mind that Gary will do that and he got better as the game progressed. He had a big third down conversion later in the game to Tim Wright and that is a big play because you go from punting to having a first down on their side of the field."

On jumping the short routes and having chances at interceptions
"I thought we would have a chance (for an interception) just because Brandon Jones had the chance earlier in the game. I thought Logan Ryan was close to a couple, but Brandon actually had a chance (early in the game) and just had it slip through his fingers. I felt like at some point, if they kept throwing it as much as they did and we could continue to stop the run like we did that we would get a chance at (an interception)."

On Brandon Jones fighting through injuries
"He is just another great example of the value of seniors in your program. They are people that you have four or five years of your hard work in the weight room and your hard work on the practice field invested in those players. When you have a guy like Brandon (Jones) and he is able to produce that quickly in a season, it doesn't surprise me. It just shows how important those seniors are. Teams that really excel at the college level usually have their fourth and fifth year players playing at a high level."

On the defense playing well all game
"It starts with stopping the run. I think if you stop the run you are going to play good defense and we did a great job of that tonight."

On the running game
"It was good to see Jawan (Jamison) pick up where he left off last year and it was good to see Savon (Huggins) break out on one of those runs as well. Until I look at the film, I don't know how happy I am with it, but I am pleased with the production on paper. I think that there might be a little that we left out there in the running game tonight. That is was the season is for. Hopefully as the season goes on we can get better and pick up some more of those yards."

On coach Brocks debut as offensive coordinator
"I don't have any concerns about Dave Brock. I've worked for five years with Dave, two of those years he was the offensive coordinator, and he has coordinated some of the more prolific offenses in the country. As Dave continues in our role as offensive coordinator, I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to have continued success on offense."

On the final assessment of the offensive line after one game
"No sacks and one-hundred and fifty-one rushing, I think it is a good start. For five guys who are all playing in new or different spots from last year against another Division I football team, I think we are moving in the right direction. That is how I felt during training camp, so I am glad to see that on the field on game day."


On the game seemed to be a bit of a fight out there tonight
"A little bit, those guys are a really good opponent, they played us really tough out there, you know, at the end of the day we got the win, which is all I was really concerned about, we can get to the film room and clean up those things that we need to, but to those guys credit, like I said, they were a tough opponent, and they played us real tough."

On when it's 10-6 in the 4th quarter
"I just knew that we had to do our job, stop them and get the ball back to our offense. I knew that sooner or later our offense was going to do what they were supposed to do, and that's score points. We have a great system over there, a great coaching staff over there, we have some great athletes, some great players, look at Jawan, you see what he did tonight, and Coleman, I knew that we just had to get those guys the ball back and it was going to start clicking. That pick 6 helps, but at the end of the day, we just want to go out there and get the ball back to our offense."

On if he felt it was a matter of time before someone jumped a route
"I knew sooner or later it was going to happen, because you know, Jones dropped two clear interceptions that could've been pick-6s so, he could've scored 3 touchdowns today, really, but to his credit, he kept focus, and he kept chopping, you know, the opportunity came around again, and this time he capitalized so, that's what great defenses do, that's what great players do, they don't allow stuff to hang on them or get them down, they just chop the next play, to his credit, his opportunity came around again, and look what he did, he took it to the house for 6."


On if it a matter of time before someone jumped a short route
"Yeah, I didn't capitalize on the first two, but coach put me in a good position to make a play on the 3rd one, and I saw a three-step and I went for it."

On if he could have had three touchdowns tonight
"Definitely, I'm upset about it, but I capitalized on one of them, and that was enough for our team to win, and I'm just happy with the win, so we did a great job to pull through tonight."

On if the defense felt they needed to do more when it was still 10-6
"I just felt like we just needed to keep playing within the defense and that something good would happen. I knew the offense would pull through and put some more points on the board so, I just knew if we kept doing what we were doing, good things would happen."

On how he felt after scoring
"I haven't been in the end zone since high school, so it feels good, but hopefully there's more where that came from."

On if his interception was more meaningful based on when it happened
"Yes, it was a big turning point because the game was close and, like I said, we just kept chopping and kept doing what we have been taught to do and somebody was going to step up and make a play, and I'm happy that I was able to do it."


On how he felt tonight
"I felt really good, I told you that we just needed to come out and get it going, and once my confidence in my offensive line is good, I do well, and the defense did really well, it was just getting our feet off the ground, but we did really well tonight."

On if he felt the team struggled when only leading 10-6
"Yeah, I felt like we need to work on our finishing better, we can get it going, we can drive, we just need to work on our finishing, that's something that comes after the first game, after we work out the kinks."

On if he can take on the same workload you took on last season
"Definitely, I feel like I'm ready for it, in high school I didn't get a lot [of touches], and I'm still fresh, I came in fresh and I'm still fresh, I'm ready for it and I think I can do it, whatever they need me to do I'll do it."

On the performance of the offensive line
"They were really good, they opened up a lot of holes for me, sometimes I would make a wrong read, it's never their fault, they were giving me good holes, and sometimes I would take the edge, and sometimes I would cut back too early, but that was on me, they were doing really well tonight."