Oct. 26, 2013
Tulane 14, Tulsa 7
Tulane Game 8
New Orleans, La.
HEAD COACH Curtis Johnson
"This is what we talked about all summer and all throughout the year, turnovers. We know that if we create turnovers, we will be good. We had four interceptions, Devin Powell did a great job managing the game, I like what we did with (Ryan) Grant, he was 7-89 with that huge touchdown, Shackleford came through with the other touchdown, Darkwa had 5.1 yards/rush; I just thought the offense played exactly the way we wanted them to, you saw that if you were at practice this week. Our punter was outstanding, Peter Picerelli was incredible today, and he was awesome for us. It was a team win; we played well."
On how Dr. Cowen has inspired the team
"I have to thank Rick Dickson first, he's been in my corner since day one, always encouraging me and being very positive about myself and this football team. Scott Cowen is the same way, I spoke to him before the season and I told him that we were going to get them (Tulane football team) into a bowl game, I thought that was a realistic goal for us, so we just need to keep on winning these games for him. We want to send him out like the winner he is, because he is a winner."
On being bowl eligible for first time since 2002
"It feels good I guess, but again, it goes back to the 24 hour rule. I'm already thinking about FAU; I know these guys have this bliss that we like, and it's a good feeling for us, but we have to keep moving on and going farther. These coaches are very good at what they do; all of our players do what they are asked to do every week, and in general, this entire football team is a group of outstanding men."
On if winning is still exciting
"I won the Super Bowl, and this felt so much better. The Super Bowl wasn't as climactic for me, when Tracy got the interception; I thought the game was over. With this game, it almost came down to the very last play; these wins have been exciting, good, and thrilling; they've been just what you want for a young team. I'm so blessed to have all of these guys back."
On the increased crowd support
"I think the team notices it a lot. We've got a good product, we play well; I think more people will continue to come out. I would encourage them to come out and watch us play, because we are playing great defense and special teams, we have some very exciting touchdowns, we're catching and throwing; it's a very good product right now."
On being in good situation forcing Tulsa to pass
"Well you can see that from watching the game. I think our secondary is outstanding, they can turn guys over, our linebackers are playing well; if we can stop the run and make teams throw it, turning teams into being one-dimensional, we will have a chance on winning a lot of games."
On secondary daring teams to beat them
"These coaches are very bold, they coach our players to be daring, they want them to be ball hogs and get after the ball, and that's what they do."
On where he was in 2002
"I think I was at Miami. Ohio State beat us in the national championship, but this is a lot more thrilling, it's a lot more exciting just to see the growth and development of these young men. All of a sudden, people are coming to see them, and they are excited; it's like Christmas for them."
On the controversial fourth-down play with Ryan Grant
"The assistants were egging me on to go for it. I really wanted to bring Cairo out, but they said, `No Coach, let's just go for it.' I listened to the assistants, they said that they were going to throw Grant on an out route and he's just going to stretch the ball out, and that's exactly what he did. I knew it was a first down, we all did; they gave us a spot, thank god for instant replay we got a better spot, and we kept the drive off alive."
On finishing off the drive with Grant's touchdown
"Ryan is one of those players who will be playing next year somewhere, we will be watching him tomorrow, we'll be talking about what RG is going to do, but he's a great player and a great finisher, he can go up and track the ball with the rest of them. I have full confidence in him; Powell just threw that ball up there and he went up and got it, that's just the kind of player he is."
On the quarterback situation
"The decision that we have to make every week is how much for who. Both of those guys can play, they are good, they can lead a team; I like playing with two quarterbacks, because what happens is, like every position, where you see me yanking guys out of the game, I can yank them out too."
On decision of not playing QB Nick Montana today
"No, we were not going to chance him taking one hit today. I got the evil eye from his dad earlier in the week, so I don't want to mess with Joe."
On Devin Powell recovering from his interception
"That play really wasn't on Devin, he made a call at the line, and Grant didn't see it. It was there. The play was there, Devin made the call to check the anticipation throw, and Grant didn't see it, because he was getting one of the younger guys lined up. That's what happened, so that didn't bother me as much, it's just one of those things that we have to get cleaned up."
On continuing to create turnovers
"That's one of the things that we preached since day one, you guys have been at practice, you know how hard we try to turn everybody over that we can. The pressure that we are getting on the passer, allowing us to turn teams into being one-dimensional, is also another huge key to the success we are having."
On junior SS Sam Scofield's performance
"Outstanding. He played an amazing game. This kid has been playing so well, he did a very good job of getting stronger over the summer, and it shows. He's always been a good player, but he's gotten injured a lot. Now he's playing with a swagger, he's playing very well."
On Lorenzo Doss continuing to play well
"Sooner or later, I think they are just going to stop throwing at him. I wouldn't throw to him at all; it seems like every week he gets another interception. When he gets thrown at, I have full confidence in him that he will be able to go get that ball; he'll catch it just as much as the receiver will. He can cover; he has a great combination of foot speed and instincts. He's just one of those guys that I can't help but say that he'll be playing on Sunday too."
On looking ahead
"I'm glad that it's going the way it is, Rick Dickson took a chance on me, so did Doctor Cowen, and I want to please them more than anything. I want them to be happy with the direction of this program, and I think that's what we are doing. I'm happy for them and these players more than anything; having a coach's mentality, it's all about the next one."
On sophomore FS Darion Monroe finally getting an interception
"Finally! I don't know what I can tease him about next, but that interception was great. It really helped us too, it gave us great field position and great position in the game."
On the performance of senior DT Julius Warmsley
"He's been playing great all year long, he's been one of the games that as a senior, he's been a real team leader. He's one of our team captains; he's been playing outstanding, along with all of our defensive guys, John's doing a great job with them."
On senior NT Chris Davenport's injury
"It was ankle, I'm glad it wasn't a knee, it was an ankle, so knowing Chris, he's a tough guy and he'll be ready to play next week.
On senior MLB Zach Davis getting hit late in the game
"He's fine. He actually went back in the game later so he's ok.
On Tulane being strong in the red zone defensively
"You know, you'd like to stop teams every time they get down there, sometimes you can't, but it just worked out for us today. They didn't cross the 50-yard line towards the end of the game, and that made me feel like we were doing everything right. When they do get down there into the red zone, it shrinks the field so much for us, and I think we are better at that type of game because we are smaller and quicker than most people."
On expecting Tulsa QB Cody Green to play
"We prepared for both quarterbacks today."
On how to refer to Tulane now
"I just want to be referred to as a team that fights hard and continues to play well. I don't want to put a label on this team right now; this just gives us an opportunity to win game number seven."
On getting his first Gatorade bath
"It was awesome. They don't Gatorade assistants, only head coaches, so it was definitely something to remember."
Senior RB Orleans Darkwa
On his feelings following the win
"It feels like a dream. It's been so long for this university. I'm so happy for this coaching staff and so happy for the players. We've got bigger fish to fry, but it's a really good feeling right now."
On defeating the defending C-USA Champion
"We haven't beaten them then 1968 or something like that. We remember what happened last year and we were blessed to be in this situation and blessed to get this win for Devon [Walker]."
On the crowd on hand and becoming bowl eligible
"Like I said, it feels like a dream. It's been so long for this university. We've never experienced this so I'm just so happy. I'm so happy for this coaching staff and so happy for the players. Like I said, it's like a dream right now."
Junior SS Sam Scofield
On becoming bowl eligible
"It's huge. When we went into the season our first goal was to get into a bowl game and we did it. We had a great game on defense and we played great."
On the way Tulane has played of late
"I think this is the last straw before everyone knows that we're a real team. We've known it since the beginning of the season. We pulled it out and we control our own destiny."
On the play of the defense overall
"Oh man, we're playing great. All those turnovers...we feel like we've had that bend not break mentality. They might get a big play every now and again, but we bounce back and get a big interception or turnover."
On his 18-tackle performance
"I was just making plays as they came to me. I didn't know it was 18. We just had a great game plan and I thought we executed very well."
Redshirt-Freshman QB Devin Powell
On becoming bowl eligible
"It was great. It was the best feeling. We still had to continue to play the game and continue to finish. We have to keep our composure and do what we have to do."
On if he was pleased with his performance
"Oh yeah, I'm very happy. I'm just sticking to what I do best, listening to the coaches, doing my job and that's what I'm doing."
On the perception of Tulane and the current reality
"This team and this coaching staff turned the program around. It's a great feeling. Everything is going good so just go with the flow."
On the touchdown at the end of the first half
"Yeah, I just read it out and stick to what I'm supposed to do. We run those plays in practice so it was nothing."
Senior DT Julius Warmsley
On being bowl eligible
"Oh dude, so excited. We're eligible right now. We're not there yet, but we've placed ourselves in a position to keep winning. We just need to keep doing it, keep pushing forward, and keep practicing well. We've been doing it consistently throughout the past weeks and we just need to keep going."
On getting two wins over teams that have given Tulane trouble in recent years (East Carolina and now Tulsa)
"It's great. Coach CJ always says don't eat the cheese. It's nice to be up there and be mentioned with whoever's up there, but to us it really doesn't matter. To us we're just trying to keep winning and that's the goal. We keep winning and everything else will fall in place."
On the defense putting the offense in position to put points on the board and win games
"It's a team effort. It's most definitely a team effort. Everybody is in their positions. Of course we make mistakes, we're not perfect but we're constantly pushing ourselves to get better and just understand our roles even more so that we can perform and be where we need to be in order to makes play or put other people in position to make plays. So far we're doing it. We just need to keep pushing ourselves."
Senior WR Ryan Grant
On becoming bowl eligible
"It's been a long time coming. We've been working so hard during the offseason just to get to this point. We're not where we want to be just yet. It's only step and now we're bowl eligible. This is just one step closer to more wins and to game seven. We're going to celebrate tonight, then get back to work, and focus on Florida Atlantic."
On his overall performance
"I just kept grinding and every play for my team. (Devin) Powell threw me one and I made a play on the ball. It was a great pass. Powell played well today. The O-line played really well. It's a great victory."
On the performance of QB Devin Powell
"He's yet to fold and I don't think he ever will. He just works hard. He's a humble guy and we just have to keep it going."
Head Coach Bill Blankenship
On the early penalties
"I kept thinking that things would even out today. We had been very clean. I don't even know how many penalties we had. But, there were a lot of key penalties that bit us. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. It was more about the timing of the penalties. It was an incredibly snake bit day."
On giving up only four touchdowns in the last 10 quarters
"It should have been enough. I don't know what the red zone issues were. We got down there several times. Turnovers and penalties hurt us."
On failing to convert on the field goal
"I didn't in the beginning, but later I thought it was a momentum changer. Honestly, when he (Carl Salazar) missed that I thought there would be four or five more scores in the game. I really did. I felt like we had done enough moving the ball that we would have more opportunities. I told him (Carl Salazar) to get his mind right. There will be more opportunities today."
On being down seven points
"I hesitated when we were backed up on fourth down, because we had a couple of time outs left, and three and a half minutes to play. Their kicker is just so good that we couldn't give them a short field. We tried to stay patient, because it was a one score game."
On the play of Dane Evans
"I thought he made some good plays at times, but he also made some freshmen type plays."
On what play you would like to have back
"I would like to have the fade to the corner back, the first turnover. You always second guess it. When we were running the ball and had man coverage, I thought that if we could get a pass out there to JJ (James Jordan), he would go get it."
On the remainder of the season
"Trey (Watts) was in the locker room passionately talking to the players about it. With the character of this team, I know we will bounce back. I would bet it. When things get tough, you really find out if everyone is in. It will be hard for some of them because they just don't have the wherewithal. They haven't been in it as much. But, there was some passionate leadership in the locker room. There are all kinds of scenarios. Guys will have to figure out what it means to them."
QB Dane Evans
On if he was affected by the speed of the game in his first collegiate start
"No. The playing time I had gotten against Bowling Green and Iowa State - I think that kind of broke me into it a little bit. The speed of the game wasn't too fast. I just didn't play good."
On rough first start being common for freshmen quarterbacks
"I'm just mad at myself. I let my teammates down. I feel bad."
On if he feels Tulsa can recover and get hot late
"We can do it. We can still do what we want to do. This loss just makes it tougher on us."
LB Shawn Jackson
On Tulsa's defense playing well in another loss
"Tulsa has given up only four touchdowns in its last 10 quarters: "I don't look at it like that. We're a team. We've got to find a way to win, no matter what. We didn't get it done tonight as a team. We don't point fingers at offense or defense."
On Tulsa's defensive improvement with freshmen rotating at end, tackle, safety and cornerback
"We've got to grow up each week. This was game seven. They're not freshmen anymore. Will Barrow had a great interception today. The pups played well today. We've just got to find a way to win."
On if he believed Tulsa would win based on recent history
"Of course. Going into the game, you're supposed (to expect) to win. But this is a tough one."
On if Tulsa can recover and get hot late
"Definitely. The next win will get this taste out of our mouths."