Quotes Following Football's 41-39 Loss To South Alabama



Sep 7, 2013

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South Alabama 41, Tulane 39
Tulane Game 2
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.


HEAD COACH Curtis Johnson

Opening statement
"Very disappointing loss for us. First half, our defense started off real, real slow. Too slow and they could begin to move the ball and get a lead. Then we came back in the second half and got some things fixed defensively but we are not good enough to play from behind like that every week.

"I just thought that they came out and we talked about it all week long. The most desperate team is going to win this game. I thought they were a lot more desperate than us. We didn't really do much in the first half and then our eyes opened up in the second half. They we had 138 yards and 3 points and they blocked a punt, but other than that, second half, I thought the defense played well."

On if he was surprise by the way South Alabama used Ross Metheny
"Not really. We just run gap-solid. Two guys in one gap, I would run it too. I would run it every time. For as poorly as the defensive players played in the first half, we had 3 turnovers in a row there, that really got us back in the game."

On the see-saw game as it unfolded
"Yeah, you'd like to have a team that plays pretty consistent football. You can't go on in one end and then play like game-busters in the second half. First half they had over 300 yards and the second half they only had 138 yards. So, you know, we've just have to find a way to get a little bit more consistency and we'll find who the players are and we'll play the players, then other guys will have to watch."

On Jordan Batiste playing in the second half
"Yeah, we played more with man with Jordan. One of the things we did at half time, our adjustment was to play more man. And what we did, I feel comfortable with him. Jordan, Doss and Jordan Sullen, I feel very comfortable with those guys. I thought in the second half those guys played pretty well. Jordan gave up the one play, but that happens. We can't start in a big hole. We're not good enough to do that."

On the blocked punt
"Yeah, but what happened... The snapper kind of snapped it a little bit and then snapped it again and got all freshman jitters, you know, there's no more freshman. You can't start the snap and then if they wouldn't have blocked it, it would've been a penalty anyway. You just have to snap it and punt it and it would've been fine."

On if he was surprised by the overturned interception
"The guys on the sideline said he dropped both of them. You know, both of them hit the group. But I thought the first one was inconclusive. I looked at it on the screen and I didn't think he'd caught that one either but the second one, I thought it was a drop."

On if ESPN's feature on Devon Walker set the stage for a big day
"Absolutely. The only thing that we didn't do was, we didn't play the game as well as we could have. It was just disappointing, but we have to play better and I think we will."

On falling behind early
"The problem when you have a team that's not accustomed to winning sometimes, you take winning for granted. We told them, you've got to come out and you've got to play hard all the time. And this is a lesson well learned. I think this lesson will be beneficial down the road."

On the play of Ryan Grant
"Yeah, we are glad we've got him on our time. But Ryan's been playing like that all year. Last year he did the same thing. He's just one of our better players and he's made plays for us all the time."

On the two-point conversion attempt
"Yeah I thought Montana had him early. He just ran. It was just one of those plays where you've got to put it on him right now. And then Montana got a little heated. He tried to extend the play. He just held it too long."

On if he felt the team missed Sean Donnelly
"Yeah you know those guys, Donnelly is missed, but with all those guys it goes back to everything else. You've got to do the right thing all the time and then you won't miss a game. They put some pressure and that's something we should handle. We've just got to handle it. The next man up has got to be the real next man up."

On protecting Montana
"We heated them up and they heated us up more in the second half. And I thought he was, and I think he will get better at some of it. Then some of it was him, some of it was the offensive line but we'll get better at those things. My concern is the consistency of our play. We didn't play consistent."

On fighting back from an early deficit
"As we go, there will be more character. We'll learn who the character players are. I think we got some more guys. We've got some more depth. I think it was just unfortunate that we have this new, young quarterback who hadn't played for us very much, so he's still learning too. I think he's going to do pretty good once he gets his feet a little bit more."

On the short week and the long road trip
"You know, my message is we've got to be a desperate team like they were. It's one game at a time. The good thing about this week is it is a short week. We've got 4 days and then we're back on the field so we get the chance to play another opponent. We don't go all the way to Saturday, we play on Thursday."

On the team's consistency
"We just have to simplify a little bit, who we're playing. We're playing a lot of guys and I think a lot of plays deserve to play. I have to watch the film and scrutinize this film really well, just to see who are the real players and who deserves to play more."

On the play of Dominique Robertson
"Yeah he played well. I thought he played well. He had an interception and a bunch of tackles. That's consistency again. I just wonder what happened in the first half. I watched it, now I get a chance to study it."

QB Nick Montana

On having to throw the football when being down big early
"You never want to start off a game by going down big like that, but we just fought to get back in it. We did whatever we had to do, run or throw."

On rhythm during comeback and Grant's momentum
"Grant does that every week, along with a bunch of the other receivers, they are all out there making plays every week. We just fought back, and we really should've won that one."

On having time to make plays
"I thought the offensive line played well, but we just missed a few plays here and there, and we didn't finish. That's what it comes down to, and we can't have missed opportunities. When our defense creates turnovers, we have to score; we really have to do our best job with that, and I don't think we did a good job with that tonight."

WR Ryan Grant

On the game he had
"I don't feel like I played that well, just personally because of that fumble. I dropped a few balls that I should've caught, but I just kept playing through that adversity; my stats don't mean anything at this point, I just wanted to win."

On reversed interception to TD late in game
"I just knew the ball was going to come to me, being the player that I am, I knew that he was just going to throw it up to me and let me make a play. I'm glad I made the play, but we still didn't win."

On rebounding next week with a short week
"We just have to saddle up tomorrow and get it going, we have to be ready for Louisiana Tech on Thursday."

SS Sam Scofield

On having 15 tackles being a good or bad thing
"It's a little bit of both, ideally I shouldn't be making 15 tackles, but we ran a lot of down safety, so plays came to me and I just made the play."

On why South Alabama jumped out to an early lead
"We didn't have too good of a practice, and I think that showed; I guess it wasn't working or we were just busting, but then we went back to our bread and butter and we played a lot better. We can't start like that though, there's no excuse."

On disappointment in overall play
"We just can't start like we did, if you start like that, your odds of winning go way down. We had a great second half, but we have to play like that for four quarters."



Opening statement
"That was a great win for a lot of reasons. We struggled last week at the end of the game. We played well for three-and-a-half quarters but then lost it. In this game we played well, but then they (Tulane) came back and we bowed up and won it. That's a sweet way to win a ballgame; Tulane is a much improved team. But my hat's off to my staff. We worked 16 hours a day since last Thursday night because we care about these players. And these players care about this team. They came and worked - we had a great practice week. They did everything we asked them, never dropped their heads and they came out and won the ballgame today. That's what it's all about. That is a good life lesson for them there. This is the biggest win we've ever had. We have a lot of games coming that we can win. Winning is a habit. We want our guys to win, and they have done that. I'm so proud of the way they fought back, and fought against the fact we lost last week late in the game and came out here and won a tough game on the road."

On the keys to the win
"We got up big (early). The offense played great the first half, probably the best offensive half we have had. Then we came out and had three turnovers fairly quickly in the second half, but the defense was playing really good in the second half. We had to have a big play, and we blocked the punt. The punt return staff did a great job of coming up with that punt block. It was something we saw on film, and it worked just right. You have to make those plays in order to win big games and we did it."

On Roman Buchanan
"Coming in and playing like that in Division I football as a true freshman is big. We know he's a great player, and he's going to be a great one in the future for sure."

On stopping Tulane's two-point conversion
"That was big. Most teams want to sprint out to the right, and I went up to (defensive coordinator) coach (Kevin) Sherrer and asked him if we were going to bring edge pressure and he said, `We're going to bring everybody.' We brought an all-out blitz and pressured the quarterback, and he couldn't really get his feet set to throw the ball. It was a great call by coach Sherrer."

On snapping a seven-game losing skid
"It's the biggest win we've ever had. Tulane is a much-improved team, and they have a good football program. They're going to do well in Conference USA. For us to come on the road and win one like that is big for the South Alabama football program."

On Tulane
"(Head coach) Curtis Johnson, his staff and the players acted first class the entire game. My hat's off to them. They are the kind of team you want to play against, because they play the game the right way."


On getting the win
"It's huge. I mean, we've been losing so much to the point that it's time to get that first taste of blood in our mouths. Now that we've got one, I feel like we can get another, and another, and another. That's all we needed was just one to start."

On his play
"My job as a defensive player is just to get the ball back for the offense. We knew what the game plan was. We were prepared. We knew what they were coming to do. We knew who they were giving the ball to. It was just time to go make a play, give the ball back to our offense, and have no excuses to lose. Last week was a terrible loss. I lost 75-28 in high school, and that loss, last week, hurt worse than that. There was no way that we could lose this game. We've got one under our belt, and now we just got to keep rolling."

On the reversed interception call
"It was not at all [bobbled]. (I knew I caught it) All day. I knew it was coming. We were there watching film, and Coach Sherrer got us ready. So, we were ready for it. Once he put his foot in the ground, I knew I caught it. I mean, I caught it all day. It worked out for the best so I'm not even worried about it."

On gaining confidence
"My confidence is up right now. I feel like I could play with anybody right now. My first game, when we played last week, I was like, I'm coming in straight out of high school. I'm thinking these guys will be bigger, stronger, and faster than me, but when I got out there I was like, `Yeah, I am ready'. So this week, I had my confidence up. I was just ready the whole time. I was waiting for coach to call my number, and he finally called it. It was just time to make a play. All day. I knew it was coming. We were there watching film, and Coach Sherrer got us ready. So, we were ready for it. Once he put his foot in the ground, I knew I caught it. I mean, I caught it all day. It worked out for the best so I'm not even worried about it."


On getting the win
"It's big. Finally getting another D-1 win, it's just another stepping stone for this university and this program. We knew coming in, it was going to be a big game. And, we knew it was kind of a must win for us to see how our season was going to go. I think we fought unbelievably, and we fought through some pretty tough adversity. It was a great team win."

On the offense
"We were just taking what they gave us. We just kept rolling. The thing is we actually made the plays. That's what our offense is set up to do. We put ourselves in positions to make plays. We just actually got to make them. We struggled with that a little bit last year, and early against Southern Utah. Finally, we made the plays, and did what we're supposed to do tonight.

"The biggest thing was it was a team win. Offensively, in the first half we were rolling, and scoring points, and we (the offense) were kind of carrying us. In the third quarter, we came out and kind of made some mistakes. We tried to throw it away, but that's when our defense stepped up and played huge. I think we kind of fed off of that. The third aspect of the game, special teams, came up with a huge blocked punt for a touchdown, things like that meant it was just a great team win."