Quotes Following Football's 44-7 Conference USA Loss To UTEP



Oct. 15, 2011

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UTEP 44, Tulane 7
Tulane Game 7
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.


Head Coach Bob Toledo

Opening Statement
"I feel like I have been on a bad roller-coaster ride. We have been up, we've been down, we've been up, we've been down. We just don't seem to have any consistency, and that has been disappointing. Today, the four interceptions and the blocked punt for touchdown dug us a hole that we couldn't get out of. They made some big plays running the football against us. We missed a lot of tackles. They made a long pass down the middle. They basically said they were going to take Orleans (Darkwa) away. They didn't totally, but they did in the sense that we had to get out of our game-plan and stop running the football. We had to throw way too many passes. When you throw close to 50 passes, that's too many for us. We got out of our game-plan and we didn't play well. They punched us right in the mouth and we didn't respond very well."

On early injuries
"We lost Zach early and we lost Griffin early too. That really hurt us. Then we lost two safeties early. They were out for a while. Shakiel (Smith) came back. Kyle Davis was out for the game. We had a couple other guys that were nicked up that were going in and out. We got banged up pretty good. They beat us up pretty good. Guys have to go in there and guys have to perform and we didn't perform very well."

On being disappointed about the season
"Yeah. Sure I am disappointed. I expected more of this football team to be honest with you. It starts with me. I will take the blame. I thought we were ready to play. We practiced hard. We do all the right things, say all the right things, then we get into a game and it doesn't translate sometimes. It is disappointing that we are not performing better."

On Ryan Griffin running the ball
"They were playing us man-to-man. Once the rush got past him, there is nobody on the quarterback. He ran because of the man-to-man coverage and nobody has the quarterback. He took a couple good hits. We told him to get down. We told DJ Ponder to get down. They have to learn to get down."

On considering loading the box on defense
"They threw the ball and made some plays too. Steve felt that what we were doing was right. Our safeties didn't support as well as they needed to in this game. They needed to come up a little faster to give us an eight or nine man box."

On the Superdome being 'cavernous'
"It is a little cavernous. Unfortunately, this is Fall break and a lot of students took off for the weekend. We didn't have as many fans as we did a week ago. Next week is homecoming and hopefully we will rebound and give the alumni and the fans something to cheer about next week."

On the decision not to play Griffin in the second half
"He didn't have any feeling in his legs. He didn't have any feeling in his arm, early. It is a bruised hip. At that point, with the score being what it was, I didn't feel like it was right to put him back in the game and to let him take the abuse that we were taking at that point."

On Griffin providing pressure to get back into the game
"Not totally. He wanted to play. He said he could get in the shotgun and throw some quick passes. That's not good enough and you are putting him in jeopardy. I am not going to do that to a kid. He has a bright future and he is a great kid. DJ (Ponder) deserves an opportunity to see what he can do. "

On the drop-off between quarterbacks
"If Griffin can't respond and come back and be able to play than Ponder has to step up his game and contribute. I don't want to have to play Blouin, a freshman, if we can help it. I might even consider moving Joe Kemp back and having him play some quarterback as well."

On D.J. Ponder's performance
"He hasn't played a lot. He had some accuracy problems today. He will make some good plays and make some bad plays. There is a reason why guys are starters and second string."

On the team's current situation
"Yeah, it is a very difficult time for us right now. People are on us about performing. We are not performing as well as we could or should. It's a difficult situation for all of us."

On coming out flat
"I don't think so. We went down the field and scored a touchdown so I don't think it was that. When we turned the ball over and they scored and they made some plays, I think we pressed a little bit. Then, we had to get out of our game-plan. We were throwing the ball every down and that's not what we need to do. We are not that kind of team."

On what he said at halftime
"I told them we had some guys injured and somebody had to pick up the sword and go with it. I said that I wanted to find out who the competitors are. I mentioned the fact that two years ago, here, we were down and we came back, tied it up, and beat them in overtime. Keep playing. Keep competing. That was the message I gave them on the way out."

On the defense allowing 30 points in 6 of 7 games
"I think part of it is that we turn the ball over in bad field position. Obviously, the punt block goes on defensive scoring. We are not playing as physical or being as aggressive as we need to be. We are not getting a lot of tackles for loss. Earlier in the season we were getting sacks, we are not getting sacks. We just have to become a little more aggressive. When we are more aggressive, the secondary has a hard time holding up. They throw the ball one-on-one and they beat us. It's been very difficult time for everyone."

Quarterback D.J. Ponder

On coming into the game
"I try to prepare myself every week, as if I am the starter and not the back up. So if something ever happens and I have to step in, I can do my job to the best of my ability. I didn't pick up slack today for anybody. I didn't do my job."

On the overall game
"I was just trying to keep us in the game, give us an opportunity. Our defensive played well in the second half I thought. I wasn't able to lead a charge and it was a struggle."

Cornerback Ryan Travis

On the game itself
"We came out kind of slow. They made more plays than we did and they came out quicker than we did. We missed a couple tackles and we gave the some big plays. I know we missed a couple tackles. I know we will have to watch the film."

On a difference if the second half
"We made some adjustments at half time and came out with a little more energy."


Head Coach Mike Price

Opening Statement
"It was our night, there's no question about that. It was our night to win. The ball bounced our way for a change and did not bounce Tulane's way. We kicked and missed a field goal, and they roughed the kicker, and then we make the field goal. The ball bounced right up there and bounced right to our hands like it had been in other games against this. I thought we played well in all phases of the game. We didn't have a penalty I don't think until the fourth quarter. We had a lot of interceptions, and I was very pleased with the whole team performance."

On statistic differences
"The half time stats were just horrible. But it was just that kind of game where they were running up and down between the twenty yard lines, and they got a good club. Then their great quarterback gets hurt, and it's tough to beat anybody in this league with the number two quarterback or your starting quarterback, let alone your number two. I thought he did a nice job, number twelve. It was just a great night for the Miners."

On all three phases of game
"In all three phases of the game, we made big plays. We made big plays on defense, we made big sacks, we had interceptions, we got short yardage, in red zone we did good. We ran the ball well, broke some great runs, got a couple of great passes, and the kicking game was obviously as good as it usually is for us. We're pleased; we got a few guys hurt, not pleased with that. so do they. But I think it was an advantage for us to have those sixteen days off. We were fresh, we were ready to play. They were still bruised from the game they had the previous week."

On how this sets up the rest of the year
"I guess it gives us a great start to the second season. It's going to give us some momentum. We got to make sure that we get rehab and get ready to go."

On whether this proves how good of a team they are
"Well I would like to think so. I still think injuries are an important part of the game particularly in the second half of the season. We just have to make sure we don't get anybody hurt in practice and get a couple guys back."

Running Back Joe Banyard

On winning on the road
"We just came in here with a game plan and we wanted to stick with it. Stick as a team and it worked out."

On getting an early lead
"We wanted to make a statement fast and we knew (getting an early lead) would help us out. Once we did it, we started capitalizing on everything."

On his long run
"I read the safety when he was rolling down to tackle me and just made a move on him. I have to go a little old school with the stiff arm and it worked out because the receiver was blocking his tail off."

On the win
"(The win) is very big. We needed a conference win and it is also a win on the road. It was very big for us."

On how getting a road win feels
"It feels great. In my three years being here, we can finally talk on the plane."

Running Back Leilyon Myers

On how big the win was
"We wanted to make a statement early. We had our backs against the wall, we're 2-3 and need to get to .500. UTEP has probably lost in every way possible, so not only did we need to get out early, but we needed to sustain the lead."

On heading into the locker room ahead 31-7 at halftime
"We felt great, but like I said, we have blown games any way possible, so we had to put the pedal to the metal and continue to play."

On what this win sets up for the rest of the season
"It is a good lead. This is something we were looking for. We needed a road win, we haven't won on the road in a long time. This will be exciting for the team and everyone back home in El Paso."

Defensive Back Travaun Nixon

On his injury
"It is a little sore, but I am not sure what really happened. But it is better that it felt when it first happened. That's for sure."

On being able to play next week
"I am just going to take it day-by-day, rehab and see how it feels. I can't really call it right now."

On the blocked punt
"Earlier we had run the same play, but I was in a different position. I went up to coach Banks and told him if he put me at a different spot I could block the punt. He put me there and that's what happened. I really wasn't thinking about the touchdown (after blocking the punt). I was just thinking about my knee because it was on fire and hoping that wasn't that last football play I would ever make."

On his interception early in the game
"I really didn't even see the ball. I was trying to get past the blocker and it kind of just fell into my hands. We have to start fast and we got the ball in our own territory for the offense."

On getting the early lead
"We need to do that a lot. We have a good football team and we can do that to a lot of the teams we have left on our schedule. I feel like we are going to have a great season."

Defensive Lineman Gemard Reed

On the defense
"This is actually one of the best defenses that I have ever been a part of. We all work together and coach stresses that we trust each other, play fast and know what the other team is doing. It is about believing in each other and we did that tonight. We've been doing that all season, but it hasn't been coming out like we expected. But tonight it came out like we expected and this is one of the best defenses, to me, that I have ever played on."

On the quick start for the defense
"We had a pretty good game, a real good game. We wanted the goose egg, but they got seven (points), so we came in at halftime and knew that we had to play hard the rest of the way like it is zero-zero. That's what we did and it worked for us."

On winning on the road
"It is very exciting. Normally we get on the plane and we don't have a good trip coming home after losing, but we wanted to set the tone for the rest of the season with this game. We had a bye week last week to get our minds in the right place and put ourselves in the right position. It is a really exciting thing that we can turn our season around with this game. Going home happy is a good thing for us."

On having a happy flight back home
"It is very exciting. A lot of the seniors talk about (a happy flight) and for that to happen is a really good thing. We're going to have some fun tonight."