Quotes Following Football's 42-32 Win Over McNeese State



Sept. 26, 2009

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Tulane 42, McNeese State 32
Tulane Game 3
Louisiana Superdome
New Orleans, La.



Opening statement
"First of all, we got the monkey off of our backs, so to speak. I can't tell you how happy I am for our players and our coaches and the people that have continued to support us. The people that stayed with us and didn't jump ship so to speak, so I'm happy for all those people that hung in there with us.

On Saturday's Opponent, The McNeese State Cowboys
"I want to give credit to McNeese. They have a good football team. They've scored a lot of points against a lot of people and offensively, they gave us fits. Defensively, we had our way with them. I think we were a little bigger and more physical than they were. When we had the ball, we capitalized. But, you have to give them credit - those two running backs really ran the ball well, their quarterback is a good quarterback and they're going to win a lot of football games. They're going to be very successful in 1-AA."

On who stood out in the win
"I was really pleased with a lot of our players, particularly Andre Anderson, who we lost a year ago - and you see how important he is to our football team - and Jeremy Williams, another guy we lost last year. When you lose two players like that, it puts a big dent in your football team and that's what happened to us a year ago. They proved their worth today. They showed you how good they really are. Joe (Kemp) had a good game except for the 2 interceptions, but he managed the game well. He did some nice things, just doing what he had to do to get us through and win the football game. The fumble recovery by (Darryl) Farley was huge that we turned around and went down and scored on it. And then of course (Adam) Kwentua got the fumble down at the end there too and that kind of burst their bubble right there because we were able to keep the ball away until the last minute and a half or so and it gave us an opportunity to win the game."

On the overall health of the team
"We had some injuries. Casey Blum in pregame warm-up, our backup left defensive end, blew out his knee. David Kirksey got a real bad stomach-type pull and he didn't play the second half. Austen Jacks came out of his red-shirt year in this game and played the whole second half at middle linebacker. He made a couple nice plays. (Alex) Wacha got dinged a bit and he couldn't really see so we took him out most of the game and (Corey) Sonnier played in his place. Reggie Scott might've broken a finger, but we're not sure yet. All in all, I think we're in good shape. (Kasey) Stelly hopefully will be back next week at fullback and some of the other guys that are nicked up will be back. I'm just happy to win a football game. It's been a long time coming."

On how he will remember André Anderson
"As a guy who is a competitive person. A very competitive person. He's got so many similarities to Matt (Forté) in that he is a great kid, he's got unbelievable work ethic, he's a quiet leader, he's a very physical runner and I think he showed you he's got better speed than some people think. As I've said before if we can run the football, we can play-action pass. If they're going to put eight guys on the line of scrimmage and give us single coverage, they're going to pay. And that's our system. On that short-yardage play, they had 10 guys on the line of scrimmage, Jeremy was behind them and we threw it for a touchdown on third-and-one. I told (offensive coordinator Dan (Dodd) we're going to run this play and if we don't make it we were going for it on fourth-and-one. And then we also went for it on fourth-and-one at the end and we did a great job of making a big first down."

On the performance of Jeremy Williams
"He caught 10 balls and he carried the ball four times. He had a couple big plays actually that got called back and one of our goals, our objectives for the game, is we needed to get him the football. I told Dan Dodd in our meeting yesterday that we want him to touch the ball 20 times. We didn't have it very much - we only had 52 snaps and part of that is because we scored from a long way out and that sort of thing. They had 73 snaps. They had a lot more snaps than we did. At halftime, they had the ball for 20 minutes and we had it 14. I told our team we need to take the ball away from them and we need to score points. Jeremy is a phenomenal football player and you'll see him playing on Sundays next year. Trust me."

On if he was surprised by Williams' game
"No. You've seen him in practice. He goes up against two people and makes phenomenal catches. He's got great leaping abilities and excellent speed and quickness. He's got really good hands. He's a fierce competitor. And again, when we lost him last year, we lost at least a touchdown every game because that's what he was scoring when he got hurt."

On playing true freshman linebacker Austen Jacks
"Austen Jacks, he has to play. He played hard and made a nice tackle. We told him earlier in the week because of special teams too and because some other guys have been hurt that he's probably going to have to not redshirt this year. He was all for it and he did a great job and was just really pleased that he got in and got a lot of experience. I don't know how many freshmen that is now, but that's another freshman that played that hasn't played this year so far - true freshmen."

On how this win feels
"Great. I am so happy for the players. I kicked them off the field (in practice last Wednesday). It wasn't quite 66-3 like the last time, but it was a big win and I told them in there I hope I never have to kick you off the field again. I don't think I will. They came back and worked hard and it's a great feeling. It's a great feeling for them and my staff and the people that have been associated with our program."

On the biggest difference going into this game than the past two games
"The opponent. I hate to say it, but we matched up better with them. The two teams that we lost to were really good football teams. Tulsa - even though they went back and lost - and BYU, those guys are both going to win a lot of games and both are probably going to go to a bowl game. We had to start the season with them with a young football team and so, this team matched up better with us size-wise, skill-wise and that type of thing. There's still a difference, let's be honest. We haven't lost a I-AA game in the history of Tulane (football). And that's not a knock on them. Gosh, they beat Appalachian State and scored a lot of points. They're a good football team and they're going to go a long way. But and again, those teams on any given Saturday can beat somebody. The point is - there is a difference. There is a difference and that's why we beat them. Physically upfront, particularly the offense line, took it to them pretty well."

On Joe Kemp's two interceptions
"He threw a couple bad interceptions and again that's a learning process and he's got to learn, particularly when we're ahead like that. Don't throw the ball up for grabs. Throw it away and we'll punt the football. Sometimes when a quarterback has a lot of confidence and ability and he has a guy like Jeremy Williams out there, he thinks he can throw everything up and it's going to be caught. But sometimes the bad guys catch them too and he's got to learn that."

On if he will re-evaluate the depth chart for this coming week
"We'll evaluate it like we do every week. We'll go in tomorrow, the coaches will grade the film, we'll look at the players and see who's hurt, and then find out who is playing the best. Our guys know right now there's competition at positions and if they don't perform, somebody's going to move ahead of them. I had two young linemen start today - true freshmen at (both) guards. I'm anxious to see the video and see how they did."


On his 44-yard completion to Jeremy Williams on his first pass of the day
"I think it was the third or fourth quarter, there was a comeback-and-go that I threw to Jeremy. It didn't score, but it got us to the five-yard line. I had got some pressure and I told myself before the game that I'm done taking sacks so I just threw it up in Jeremy's general direction and he came down with it. That doesn't surprise me or anybody that watches him every day. It doesn't surprise anybody."

On how having a solid running game today helped opening up the passing lanes
"It helps a lot. It helps soften up the safeties whenever we run the ball like we do. Then when we play-action on them, they can't help but come up after André and the run. It makes it that much easier to just throw it over the top of them. The offensive line with the way they block on the runs, they're so aggressive that whenever I come back to pass on my play-action, it felt like no one's even close to me."

On the offense's production as a whole
"It was exactly the way we planned. Everything went exactly the way we planned in practice all week long. Even the ball lining up on the hash the way we put it. It worked out perfectly. It's something that we're all confident in knowing that we can do that on every drive. We expect to score on every drive."

On getting the first win of the 2009 season
"It just feels good to win. It's not only my first win as starting quarterback, but it's our first win as a team and it just feels good."


On his overall performance against McNeese State
"I'm just excited to go out and get a win for the first time in a long time and give the fans something to cheer about. Before the game, we got together with the offensive line and decided to make it a point to go out and play our style of football. People have been taking bad about our offensive line the past few weeks and we wanted to prove we were a good team and had great guys on the line like Nick (Landry), Pete (Hendrickson), the two freshmen (Zack Morgan and Hunter Howden) and Andrew (Nierman). They came out and they played very well and showed it out there on the field. I'm just happy for those guys to get a little pressure off of their backs and to give Joe (Kemp) some easy passes down the field."

On his 63-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter
"We ran that play a couple of times during the game and that particular time the weak side linebacker over-ran the play. I cut back and looked around and nobody was near me. I just saw the end zone and took off. I looked up at the scoreboard and saw some guys catch up, so I had to make sure I got in the end zone. I wasn't going to let them catch me."

On how it felt to carry the ball as well as he did today
"It feels good. The first two games weren't what we expected. I didn't run the ball as many times as I wish I would have. I would say I'm the type of guy that the more carries I get, the better I get as the game goes on because I get a feel for the defense and a feel for how my O-Line is blocking the guys. It just feels good to get that many carries. In the fourth quarter, we tried to run the ball and tried to run the clock, and that's what I live for. You know when you're in the fourth quarter and you're up by a lot or you're up and you have to run the ball out, that's when the running backs have to step up. The offensive line did a great job today opening the holes and making it easy for me."


On his 11-tackle performance against McNeese State
"Me and (David) Kirksey had spent a lot of time together and I kind of fall back on him a lot when we're out on the field - just getting the defense lined up. But the guys who they put in to replace him - they're kind of young - so I had to step up. I had to keep my composure, so that's what I did. I made the strength calls and got the defense lined up and we went from there."

On Tulane forcing turnovers
"The turnovers we did get, they came at some pretty good times. They were much needed. The defense was a little winded and they were starting to drive, so they were definitely some drive-breakers."


On his performance today against the Cowboys
"I always feel like when the ball is in the air it's my ball. They just kept bringing those safeties down and left their men out there on an island and I had to exploit them."

On which of his 10 catches was his favorite
"The one where I dove and caught the ball in the end zone. I really didn't think I was going to catch it. I came up with it and I was happy."

On the balance of run/pass displayed by the Tulane offense
"It was really good to see André (Anderson) running the ball like he was a year ago before he got hurt. I know when he's running the ball like that, it's going to be hard for them to hold both of us down. I try to come 100 percent every play and now that we have Dré (André Anderson) going, it's going to be hard to beat us. And I'm also proud of the 0-Line. They really brought it. We needed them to bring it this game and they did and did a great job because without them, Dré can't obviously run the ball."



Opening statement
"We respect Tulane and their program. When we go out, we expect to win. Our kids thought we could win the game, and now afterwards, I still think we could have won that game. Tulane made the plays when they had to and we didn't."

On his team's four fumbles, and field position
"I thought those were huge in the game. And give Tulane credit. They forced them and that's something we have not been doing. If we had, then we'd have gotten killed by Appalachian State, I promise you. We haven't been turning it over and penalties haven't been hurting us. Tonight, we turned it over and had some really silly penalties. Give Tulane credit. I thought field position killed us. It seems like we started back every time. We weren't getting deep kicks and they were starting at the 40. It's football, you can't lose the field position battle and expect to beat a team like Tulane. We couldn't.

On building off this game entering the Southland Conference portion of his schedule
"I'm excited about the way we are playing. I think we played really hard. We have the ability to move the ball and do some things on defense. Hopefully we can get some guys back this week. I thought that was critical in the game. Tulane did a great job and max-protected, played one and one on the two wideouts against our freshman corners. So hopefully, we can get those guys back."


Overall thoughts on the game
"I just think we wanted to stay 4-0 and they needed a win really badly. We played hard and so did they. That's where the silly penalties came in. Field position hurt us, but we have the offense to move the ball down the field. We'll get it done next time. We have a good team. Everyone plays hard, everyone does what they have to do, and we have great coaches and good schemes."

On where McNeese State goes from here
"It's a loss. We've got to take it and move on: correct our mistakes. We've got a week off, but we'll be practicing and focus on what we need to get done. Our offense is going to keep pushing us and our defense is going to hang in there and make plays. They made plays today, they picked the ball off. We'll be ready (for conference play)."