Nov. 7, 2009
Tulane Post Game Quotes
Tulane 45, UTEP 38 (overtime)
November 7, 2009
New Orleans, La.
Tulane Head Coach Bob Toledo
"There are some emotional guys in that locker room right now. It was unbelievable and they certainly deserved it. We played against an excellent football team, a team that beat Houston and Tulsa. We had a lot of points and yards on those guys. I'm just so proud of our guys. They never gave up and never quit. I know a lot of people have quit on us, but the important thing is we have not quit on ourselves.
"I told them in the locker room about the old Winston Churchill deal. He was very successful and people did not think he was going to be much of anything and he kept going and his final speech was `Never give up, never give up, never give up.' Never. Never. And I tell you what, they never gave up. They played until the end and made some great plays in the course of the game.
"The punt fake was a great call on their part and it was successful and they went down and scored, but our guys came right back. Defensively I was pleased with a lot of things we did and the finish. I think Steve (Stanard) will tell you he was disappointed in the tackling. We had a lot of guys behind the line of scrimmage that we missed and they made plays on. Offensively I thought we ran the ball very efficiently against an eight man front. Our receivers made some big plays and the quarterback (Ryan Griffin) with 1:14 to go with no timeouts and overcoming a penalty took us down the field as cool as I have ever seen a freshman. Dan (Dodd) did a great job with him and calling plays. I just can't be happier for him and the players that did a great job and won the football game."
"We came out with a few ankle sprains. Nothing very serious hopefully. (James) McMurchy had an ankle sprain. He got it early in the game on a kickoff. And (Antoine) Duplessis had and ankle sprain and did not finish the game. But I think for the most part we had some nicks and bumps but nothing serious."
What did you learn about Ryan Griffin today?
"We learned that he has ice in his veins. He is a cool customer. He does not get rattled and he knows what is going on. You bring him off the field and you talk to him and can ask him what happened and he can tell you exactly what happened He knows what the defense is going and how to attack them. He threw a couple of bad balls and he mentioned that, but for the most part he managed the game well, did not turn the ball over, got us in the end zone, scored points and won the game."
On the young players stepping up
"It is interesting. Here's a freshman (Ryan Griffin) throwing a touchdown pass to a true freshman (Brock) Sanders and then he throws another touchdown pass to another freshman Ryan Grant. So you are talking about some young guys performing. Shakiel Smith on defense. He's a 179 pound linebacker. And I'll tell you what, he's performing.
On some big plays
"How about Williams on the kickoff return, that was huge. We made so many big plays tonight. I can't remember that in a long time."
On the crowd
"They really got wild at the end, the ones that were there and gave us a lot of energy. I appreciate them. That is what I have been saying all along. The ones that are loyal and they are here, I really appreciate them because they got behind us and they were very effective for us. They gave us a chance because of the noise."
On the offense
"You saw our offense the way it is supposed to be. And I know everyone talks about offense. You have to have a running quarterback and you have to have a spread offense. Go ask Rich Rodriguez about the spread offense. He is a great friend of mine. The point is that is does not matter what offense you run, the players have to perform. And tonight our players performed in the offense we gave them."
On Jeremy Williams' kick return for the touchdown
"It jumped started us again. It gave us hope again and that's what we needed. We needed to particularly perform on special teams and we did that. That was a huge play in the game."
On Williams and others' big plays throughout the game
"He is a big play guy. He's a guy that we lost at the end of last year and along with Andre (Anderson). Those are two big play guys. But I think you are seeing some other guys start to develop too. We've got some young guys. A great catch by Cody Sparks and a great throw by Ryan Griffin. That's a huge play. There are a lot of bright spots and I can't be happier."
On how hard it was to tackle UTEP's Donald Buckram
"We missed a lot of tackles. It is not that we don't practice it, but we just have to get better at it. He's a good player, but we missed the quarterback too. We had bad angles and we leave our feet, we don't wrap up and we don't grab cloth. We have to be a little more proficient in what we do and tackle better."
On having an indication that the players had this type of game in them
"The thing that helped is when I talked to the senior leadership group on Tuesday they said `Coach this is going to be like the Superbowl. Our season is over and now we are in the playoffs and we have to treat it like a four-game playoff, but we have to win the first one. If we don't win the first one then it does not matter.' Right there I said these guys got something so I played that up all week. I said `Hey, we're going to the Superbowl and we have to win a four-game schedule. The regular season is over and this is a playoff game and we've got to win. I told them today that I'm going to see how tough we are and how mentally touch we are because this is a must win. You must win this football game.' They've been working hard all year. They've never quit and never given up. That is a great tribute to the seniors. They very easily could have given up and they haven't."
On Andre's touchdown at the end of regulation
"It is so well deserved. He was injured last year and missed the last part of the season and came back and worked extremely hard and then to go through some of the trials and tribulations and the things that have gone on the first part of the season he could have given up and he didn't. He's been a great leader. That's what people don't see. He's our captain and he's been a great leader. He's very vocal with the team and he's backed it up so he leads by example. That was a huge play and to score the touchdown in overtime, it could not have happened to a better person."
On Alex Wacha's sack to end the game
"It was big because we benched him a little bit because he was missing some tackles. He was not tackling very well and we took him out and then we put him back in at the end. It was huge, a huge play. And a great call by Steve Stanard. He took a chance. We are a zone blitz team and not a big man team and he dialed up some good defenses today. We didn't execute them all the time, but we executed them when we needed to."
On how you felt at the end of the game
"I can't explain it. It is hard to explain all the hard work and effort that has been put into this program for three years and we want to see us get better. We want to see us improve. We want to see us win games and it was an unbelievable feeling. One that I can't explain."
Tulane Player Quotes
Freshman QB #11 Ryan Griffin
On not being rattled...
I was just frustrated just right before the last one. We got a great return from Jeremy (Williams) and we started on the 49. I was just happy to get the ball back again. I knew we would pull it out with guys like Andre (Anderson), Jeremy (Williams), and Casey (Robottom).
On his confidence growing throughout the game...
I sort of got into a groove towards the end of the game. I kind of started out slow.
On the final play...
We ran the same thing against LSU (Louisiana State University). It's just slants. I just looked over and there is Andre (Anderson) again, just like against LSU, and I just threw it to him and he scored.
On managing the game...
When you get the ball with 1:12 left, you can't really manage it. You got to go out and score.
On his first win as a starter at Tulane...
It's as good as it gets. Probably my favorite memory in football. It was awesome.
Senior WR #20 Jeremy Williams
About the teams comeback...
We have been through so much this season as a team. I felt that since today was senior day, some of the guys last game in the dome, so we just needed to go out and fight for everything we talked about this week.
About his kick-off return for touchdown...
I got to credit my blockers with that one. That's the first time that we actually hit it right. When I hit the edge, the only person I saw was the kicker and I knew that if I beat him, I would be gone with it. I definitely have to credit that to my blockers.
About the change in momentum after the kick-off return...
It definitely put us back to where we needed to be. It was a huge boost for us.
On his performance on the hurry-up drive...
Yeah, that was crazy. That's the second time we won in the clutch this season. We don't even practice late game drives that much. We just go out there and make it happen. Casey, Ryan, and I were just on the same page and we got in the end-zone.
On Andre Anderson's touchdown in overtime...
The whole game, they had been biting on me on the fake reverse. We called it twice in a row in overtime. The first time, we got about seven yards. The second time, when I saw the guy coming after me, I knew he would have a chance to run that in and he did. I was just extremely excited.
On his actions after Anderson's touchdown...
I ran right over to him, and he was being bum rushed by other players. I just went up to him and congratulated him.
Senior RB #32 Andre Anderson
On the final play...
For me, it was a different perspective. I had to cut the end on the back side, and I dove at him. I looked up and looked at the other side of the field and see that Jeremy (Williams) scored already. I turned to look at Ryan and Ryan was looking at me. He threw me the ball and I knew I had to get in the end zone. It just felt great to get the go ahead touchdown. It's just a great feeling. You play to win, and it feels great to be the guy who made the play at the end.
On the final drive...
Ryan was making some ridiculous throws, and the receivers were making some great catches. Their defense kind of calmed down and played a little base, a deep zone. Ryan was picking them apart, and the receivers were making plays. It shows a lot about our team. Senior leadership, we said we were going to go out there and fight and get a win, and we found a way to do it.
On his reaction to the final play of the game...
I did what everybody else did; jump on the pile. I didn't see the sack, but I heard everybody screaming so I knew that we got him. I was so excited
On this being the offense's breakthrough game...
Definitely. We clicked today. We didn't make a lot of mistakes. We have moved the ball on a lot of teams, but we haven't capitalized. We made plays in the redzone. Ryan made some plays. We told ourselves that this was a game we were not going to lose. Our last regular season game in the Superdome.
On getting in the endzone at the end of the game...
I was just trying to score. He threw me the ball and the clock had nine seconds left. I didn't know how much time was on the clock when he threw it to me, but I saw a couple of defenders were on the ground and I just needed to stay on my feet and weasel my way in there. I dove in and scored. I said that this was going to be a game that we weren't going to lose, and I'm glad that I was the one to make the play and back that up.
Junior S #8 Alex Wacha
On it being an "up and down" day...
Yeah, it was a very up and down day. I knew I wasn't going to let my teammates down.
On the final play...
The coach called up a blitz and my number was called. I wanted to get him down and I got him down.
On letting the quarterback escape throughout the season...
It happened a few times today and that's frustrating. He is kind of slippery in the way he maneuvers as a quarterback. He just kind of spins out of it. I got him down.
On what happened after he made the sack to end the game...
I saw everybody running at me and I did not want to be tackled by everybody. They caught me, and everybody was on top of me. I couldn't breathe. I was sitting there kicking my legs trying to get everybody off of me. It was fun.
On #3 Donald Buckram...
He was real shifty. It took us a little while. Our defense didn't play too well. Our offense kept us in the game.
UTEP Post Game Quotes
Head Coach Mike Price
Yeah, real disappointing. There were some real good efforts on both sides of the ball, but they made some good plays when they had to.
Is this kind of a low point for the defense?
Its kinds of a low point for everybody. We all had plays and things we could have done better. You can't put this on the last play of the game, or the last play of overtime. It's got to be on all of the plays that got us there.
On where to go from here...
Well, we got three games left and we're still going to play them for all I know. Nobody had cancelled on us.
On making big plays and the offense's performance...
Well, I don't think the whole team played well enough, so that's what happens. So we lost the game. I think each phase of the game played good at times. We didn't leave too much in the refrigerator.
On whether or not he would have gone for two if his team scored in overtime...
I don't think I would have right then. Maybe later on. I didn't think we were real tired. Well, maybe Buckram was tired, but it seemed like everyone else was in pretty good shape.
On Buckram's performance...
Oh, great game for him. He played great. He ran the ball really well and caught it. The screen pass was awesome.
On how to improve for the next three games...
We just got to make plays and play a little bit smarter. It's not like we didn't know what they were going to do there at the end. They were going to throw the ball down the middle to number 20 (Jeremy Williams) and we just couldn't get that covered for some reason.
Running Back #3 Donald Buckram
About his performance...
Well, I ran good here and there but I missed a few holes and missed a few blocks to help the team win the game. It was a good performance, but I could have done better to help us win the game.
On performing so well in a loss...
It's just real frustrating. We missed a lot out there. We could have completed more balls. We could have made more big runs. And that could have been the game. We could have got the first down when we had to get the first down, and we didn't get it. It's real frustrating.