Oct. 27, 2007
Memphis 28, Tulane 27
Tulane Game 8
New Orleans, La.
HEAD COACH Bob Toledo
"It's another sick feeling. I just told the team, I apologize to them because I didn't call timeout. I thought the ball was out of bounds; they had stopped the clock. Matt was running towards the sideline. The guys in the headset said he was out of bounds. I thought we'd have time to run another play, call timeout and kick a field goal. I blame myself for that one then. It was a hard call."
"As I told the players, one play doesn't make the game. We had a lot of opportunities in the red zone, or green zone - whatever you want to call it - and we didn't score touchdowns. We had to kick field goals. And we missed a big one at the end. Our punt team was okay. Our punt return was okay. Our kickoff coverage was horrible. We had bad field position all night because of it. Our kickoff returns were pretty good. So, our kicking game didn't do a good job. We missed that field goal. We ran the ball well. We stopped the running game pretty well. We did not stop their passing game. We played horribly in the passing game. We didn't throw the ball as well as we would have liked, but we threw well enough to win the football game. I'm really sick for these guys because they've really worked their tails off, and they deserved better tonight. My hat's off to Tommy West and his team. They battled back too, and won the football game. I just feel so bad for our football team because they worked so hard, and to end it like that was sad. We've got four more games and we've got to find out if we're going to regroup and keep playing. And I think we will. Our kids played hard tonight."
On the explanation from the officials after the game
"They took off. I couldn't talk to them. They were gone. The guy on my side said he saw it over there. He said he signaled timeout, but it was just a first down. I said he ran out of bounds. Our guy on the top said he ran out of bounds. What about the play earlier in the game when Forte fumbles? Is that a fumble? We have six TVs around here getting replays. We got one replay on it. Anyway, they said that he got tackled in bounds, is basically what they're saying. They stopped the clock and then started it. I should have called timeout. I didn't realize the clock was even going for a while. By then it was too late."
On if he will take the issue to the conference office, or just let it go
"They always seem to win the battle. Let's put it that way. It's pretty hard for us to comment on officials. We get reprimanded. So, I turn in stuff every week - the penalties and things that happened and plays they missed - and I haven't gotten much response lately though."
On what the officials told him about reviewing the play after Forte's fumble
"They told me if I called timeout and wanted to review it, I wouldn't have any more timeouts for the rest of the game and it was so early in the game, I didn't want to do it, because I felt we could win the football game without losing a challenge right off the bat. It's one of those calls when they make it, they're probably not going to reverse it anyway."
On if the coaches could see the replays of the fumble
"No, we couldn't see it. The only thing we saw was the one that was on our board. They don't play them up there, so we couldn't tell. I looked up quick and I couldn't tell. So I didn't challenge it."
On if he considered calling a timeout on Memphis' last possession
"I did, and I was talking to (defensive coordinator) Thom Kaumeyer, I was right next to him, and I was asking, `Can you stop them? Can you stop them?' And it got to the point where I did call timeout. I wanted to save some timeouts for us to be able to win it with a field goal."
On senior running back Matt Forté's performance
"I tell you, he is one of the greatest backs I have ever been associated with and he's very deserving of being an All-American. He deserves to be a Heisman Trophy candidate. He's just a guy you don't see many times in your lifetime as a coach. Tommy West, their head coach, said, `Wow, is that guy special!' So, you can go talk to Tommy West and he'll tell you the same thing. They had a hard time tackling him. You talk about eight- and nine-man fronts, now - they changed their defense up and they were bringing people to stop the run. So, whatever he made - 2-hundred and seventy-something - is incredible."
On whether losing games like this can hurt Forté's Heisman hopes
"Yeah, it does. And that's kind of what I've said from the beginning. You know, we're not winning football games and you hear about the Tebows and these other guys, and it's hard to make up ground. He's deserving of it, is what I'm saying. I think he's an All-American. I think he's the best running back in the country. There's not a better running back in this country. I don't care who it is. So, he's deserving of being an All-American running back. He's deserving of getting the Doak Walker award. He's one special person. Like I've said a thousand times, he's not only a great football player, he's a great person. He's go thigh morals. He's humble. He's a competitor. I tell you, I might not ever see another one in my coaching career."
On the missed field goal
"Well he just pushed it right. He likes the ball on the left has, so we wanted to stay on the left hash, and he just pushed it off to the right."
On if the ability to close out games is something learned over time
"I hope so. I hope so. It's like Anthony, God bless him, he was all excited. He thought we were winning the game. You can't even assume you're going to win until the gun goes off. So, yeah, we need to learn how to finish football games. It's a matter of making first downs, scoring touchdowns, kicking winning field goals. We've got to finish games. We don't finish games. And that's something we need to learn, yes."
On what makes Matt Forté special
"He's got size. He's got speed. He's got great vision. He can see a lot. I've always talked about you run with your eyes. I've been talking about that for forty years. I learned that from John Robinson at USC. You run with your eyes. He's got great quickness. He makes people miss in the hole. They don't get a lot of great shots at him because he's so quick. Then he's always going forward. He can catch the ball. He can do it all. He's got all the right numbers."
On if he said anything to quarterback Anthony Scelfo about getting into the officials' face after the game
"It's hard to. And I respect him for that. I wish I could let my emotions go sometimes."
QUARTERBACK Anthony Scelfo
On the final play call
"We already made the protection call. We had everything set up. All we could do was run the play. So when the clock was running, we ran it and they adjusted to what we were going to do. They just took all of the middle. I thought I was going to get the first down and they were going to look at it and see what happened. But it just caught us off guard. I turned around in the middle of the play and nothing happened, I don't know what happened."
On how many seconds he believed should have been left on the clock
"I want to say like 11 or 12 seconds. We were taking our time, we huddled up. You don't huddle up in a two minute drive. Down by a point with 30 seconds left you don't huddle. I mean our whole team, our offense, our coaches...we all thought the previous play was out of bounds. We huddled up, called the play, took our time, made our protection. I mean, I don't know."
On Tulane's loss in the final seconds
"It's like a recurring theme huh? We're right there. On the one, on the inch line, in the red zone. I mean we're there; we just have to do it. We're not doing it right now and we have a few games left to fix that. We'll go back to work and see what we can do."
On the final call
"I think they should've made the right call. We all saw him get tackled on the white, so I don't know what to say. It's not his job to tell us if the clock is running. I mean, we need to know that but, we all saw what we saw. We know he got tackled on the white so I don't know what else we could have done."
On if there was any response from the officials after the game
"No, we were running off and the back guy came up and he was asking the referee, `didn't that ball go out of bounds?' And they just didn't seem like they were on the same page. I don't know what happened."
On Matt Forté's performance
"Same old, same old...what else is new? He rushes for a bunch of yards, bunch of touchdowns and runs over people. I mean, it's getting kind of old. He's a great player, it's obvious. It's fun handing it off to him and watching him work. It's just too bad we couldn't get a win for him."
RUNNING BACK Matt Forté
On what he thought happened on the final play
"Basically, I saw what everybody else saw. I thought that Gabe got hit and he was tackled out of bounds. And so you know, we were huddling because the ball was out of bounds and the clock's not going, and won't start until we snap the ball. We got the next play in and we looked up and the clock's running and Anthony was like `what's going on?' and I looked up and the clock was running, so we had to snap the ball. We snapped it and everybody else didn't really know what was going on. The clock ran out and we were trying to tell the referee that it was out of bounds. He wasn't listening to us, he was just talking to the other refs and they just kind of got out of there."
On if he thought Toledo should've used his last timeout
"I knew we had one timeout left but I thought they were going to stop the clock. I thought they knew he was out of bounds, so I thought the referees were going to handle that. But they didn't."
On how well he performed tonight
"Like I've been saying all season, you can have a great game, but losing - it just still doesn't mean anything to me. I want to win and it's been tough to come by around here, now. We just have to keep our heads up and we can't let this get us down. We have to come out each week in practice and forget what happened on Saturday. We will have to come out and work hard to get better for next Saturday."
On what happened on the first possession where he was close to the goal line and fumbled
"We got hit in the backfield and I was close to the goal line and I stretched the ball out and the ball was across the goal line. My arm hit the ground and the ball bounced and it came out. I thought they would have seen that. The ground caused the fumble and the ball had crossed the line."
On what needs to change
"It amazes me, some of the stuff that happens. Some of the stuff that we can't control, the stuff we can control. Basically we have to stop beating ourselves. We come out on Saturday against another team and we play them and ourselves; making penalties and turnovers."
CORNERBACK Josh Lumar
On his take of the final play
"I didn't see the original play because I was on the sideline, but when I looked at the replay I saw him get tackled out of bounds and I thought when you get tackled out of bounds the clock stops. I don't know. The official made the call that the clock didn't stop so we just had to deal with it and move on."
On the play of the defense
"When we come into the game we are confident that nobody should score on us. We were confident throughout the whole game, but once we started pounding them and pounding them we gained more confidence in doing our job. We always think that we have everything locked up and we should stop everybody, but it just didn't fall like that today. "
On what Toledo told them in the locker room after the game
"He just felt bad for us. He knew that this loss hurt and what happened had made it hurt even more. He just told us that we have to bounce back and work hard and not give up, which we're not going to do, and turn the season around and have a good season."
HEAD COACH TOMMY WEST
On the last second touchdown for the win
"That's the kind of game that's a heartbreaker to lose and it's great to win one like that. We've been on both sides of that, so I know how it feels to lose and I know how it feels to win."
On whether or not the clock should have been stopped on the last play
"I guess they called him in bounds over here on our sideline. Then once the ball is snapped, you can't go back and change it. It could have been reviewed, I guess, but they didn't. I assume they caught him in bounds on this side."
On the offense in the second half
"To be honest, I was really disappointed offensively with the way we played. In the second half we turned the ball over twice. On the first drive I thought we had a chance - not to put the game away - but at least to distance ourselves. We had a great kickoff return. We got the ball at midfield and drove it down there and fumbled the ball. That killed our momentum and then they scored with it. Instead of being up two scores, we were down. I thought offensively in the second half, the two turnovers were due."
On the rushing offense
"I think they're good upfront. I really do. Their defense is good upfront and they blitzed us a lot. They gave up some passing yards because of the way they chose to play our run game. To be honest, we were trying to stop their running game, and we can't stop it. We were using everybody we can and we couldn't get him on the ground. They decided defensively that they were going to stop the run and blitzed inside a lot more than we anticipated."
"We did a nice job down here on the ball to Earnest (Williams) right before the half. I thought Martin (Hankins) did a great job there. Again, I thought Martin Hankins managed the offense and put the ball where it needed to be placed against their schemes. I was disappointed that we couldn't run the ball, but I know why because of what they did. We had no idea they would blitz us that much."
"We've got some wide outs that I think are really good players. He's giving our wide outs a chance to make some plays. We had some busts today. We had a bust on the one where Carlos (Singleton) didn't get the signal and we threw the intercept, but that one was more on Carlos than it was on Martin. I think Martin is playing really well right now."
On Duke Calhoun's touchdown and the final minutes of the game
"It was a chess match. I really thought they were going to let me run the clock down to nothing. Once we hit the 25-yard line, I told (Offensive Coordinator) Clay (Helton) to slow it down because it was about three minutes left. I can't tell you how many coaches I've worked for that were offensive guys that never run that clock out. I knew all they would need to beat us was a field goal, so I thought they were going to let me run the clock out and us have two plays. I had the timeouts, but Bob (Toledo) has been around a little while too and he made a really nice call calling the time out and not letting me run the clock down."
On trying to contain Matt Forté
"We came in here hampered because we didn't have enough linebackers to play this game. We stacked the box about as much as you could stack it, and we couldn't tackle (Forté). I guarantee you, we're going to watch this tape tomorrow and we're going to have people in the hole and he made us miss. I think he's a great football player. At halftime, he had 22 carries for a buck eighty and if that was a game, I'd have been happy with that to be honest with you. I'd feed him too, they're doing the right thing. He's a tremendous football player
On Memphis' back-to-back wins on the road
"We've won three out of our last four ballgames and we've won back-to-back games in the league. What we're trying to do is climb back up into the middle of our league. And it's hard. It doesn't just happen; you have to fight like crazy. We're climbing our way to where we want to be. We'll get it all back together again. The good news is we've won back-to-back games on the road. We were underdogs going into both games, and that's not easy to do. I thought our team played all 60 minutes. When you turn the ball over twice in the second half, that really hurts your chances to win the game, but we found a way to come back and get it."
On the last big play
"We talk about that in practice. I trusted Martin and I found a hole. Martin is a good quarterback. I trusted in him, trusted in the O-line and just ran."