Nov. 10, 2007

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

Tulane 34, UTEP 19 Tulane Game 10 Louisiana Superdome New Orleans, La.




Opening Statement
"I just want to say that first of all, I'm really, really happy for the seniors. We all got up last night in our senior meeting and talked about what it meant to be here at Tulane. It was kind of a special time. I told them `you have to play for pride and self-respect,' and I think our entire team did that tonight. I was pleased with the way we ran the football. Matt (Forte) did a nice job running the football. It appears that we threw some long balls. I think Jeremy Williams had an excellent game. He was really on fire tonight. The offensive line did a good job of blocking and protecting. Defensively, we went against a team that's a very good offensive football team. Marcus Thomas, I think, is one of the most outstanding running backs in this conference. He gave us some problems and of course their quarterback is a heck of a young prospect. He did a nice job. Our big thing on defense is we just missed a bunch of tackles. If we didn't miss all of those tackles it might have been a little different too. I'm just pleased that we won the football game. A lot of people said when we started that we wouldn't win a league game and we very easily could have had six wins at this point. That's big for a team that's trying to build a program."

On Tulane's improvement
"We went from last week, not playing well in any phase, to playing very well in all three phases against a good football team tonight. They've been scoring a lot of points and moving the ball well. If you look at the Tulsa game, you know we lost to a good Tulsa football team last weekend with a great quarterback and you saw what they did today. I'm proud of the fact that we're building this thing. We're taking little steps but I think we're headed in the right direction."



On if he thought the team was going to give up after last weekend's loss
"As a coach, you never know. You have to try and motivate them any way you can. We constantly tried to motivate them as you saw during the course of the year with different things that we did. We were positive then we yelled at them. Then, we were positive again. And then we pleaded that they played for pride and respect. During the course of the year I did a bunch of things that hopefully kept us alive and the kids responded."

On the fake punt
"That was a big play because they faked a field goal and we stopped them. And then we faked the punt and ran down and then we scored on that. So that was a huge turn of events."

On why he called the fake punt play
"Fred Bleil, our special team's coach, saw it on video. He was just waiting for me to say if it was okay to do it. There was one other chance and I said no, I'm not ready for it yet. So when that opportunity came up, I said do it. And so we did it and it worked. You know when they work you're always good, when they don't you're a bum."

On the turnaround play of Jeremy Williams
"What turned it around is he didn't give up and quit. He very easily could've given in to it. We were trying to find his hot button. And I think we did. I told him during the week he's a little casual out there. He needs to be a little more focused, and a little more aggressive in practice. We told him that this week again. Yesterday, he dropped a pass. He's casual. He's got to learn not to be casual. But he definitely has a lot of physical ability. We benched him basically. He wasn't catching the ball and we benched him. And like I said, he could've gone one of two ways. And he responded because he kept working hard. And he's been playing pretty good lately."

On playing with a depleted defensive line
"It was hard. Three of our guys are out-- Logan Kelley, Julian Shives-Sams and Sean Carney. So we had three defensive linemen out. And we had guys banged up during the course of the game. We only had six total guys for the game. We had to go with what we had. We did a couple different little nickel packages that Thom (Kaumeyer) put in to get (Reggie) Scott involved almost like a linebacker. We just did a few things to play with the people we had available."

On the pressure Tulane put on UTEP's quarterbacks
"I think Thom Kaumeyer did a nice job of putting pressure on the quarterback and basically controlling the run. And if you look at third down conversions, we were pretty good. They were 3 of 13. So we put a lot of pressure on their guy and yeah, they caught some balls and made some plays, but I thought we did a nice job putting pressure on their quarterback."


On playing for pride
"We're not going to just come out here and lay down just because we're not going to a bowl game. You have to think its another opportunity to play football and get better and play the sport that you've been blessed with the talent to do. It would be wrong to go out there and not play hard, or as hard as you can because we're not going to a bowl game. We're not just playing for pride, we're playing because we love the game. So, you've got to go out and play hard."

On Tulane throwing the football
"I tell you what, it makes my job a lot easier when we do that. So, I love it when they pass the ball well. It kind of gives me a break. I'll have like three or four runs and then they pass the ball and get a big gain so that gets everybody's motivation up and everybody on the sideline gets hyped and it gives me a little rest before we go and run the ball again. I love it when they pass the ball."

On the meeting last night in which the seniors talked about their favorite memories
"It was real personal. A lot of guys were just telling stories over the four or five years that they've been in college and it was real emotional. The four or five years of college that you're here are supposed to be the best years of your life. You make friends that you're going to remember forever. And being with all of these guys, it's like a family. You're together every day."

On motivating everyone for this game
"You challenge everybody up to the young guys and tell them to go out and play for the seniors, and young guys they listen to that. They know that in the future they're going to be in that position and when they're seniors they want the young guys to do the same."

On being 0-for-8 in the season for completed passes
"I have thrown the ball and I had two dropped touchdowns in the past. I can't do anything about that. Tonight he (Jeremy Williams) was covered so I guess I just threw it out there. All I can do is throw the ball. I'm not a quarterback but I can throw pretty well."

On how much they worked on the first play he had to throw a pass
"We have always worked on stuff like that, but in the summer, just playing around, you throw the ball around. So they already knew I could throw pretty well. If Brian (King) or Jeremy (Williams) needed extra work with a quarterback I went out there and threw the ball to them like a quarterback so we've been practicing plays like that."

On how he felt to get the record tonight
"It feels good. I've been breaking records this whole season and I just thank God for giving me the ability and opportunity to do things like that. And although we haven't had as many wins as we wanted, it has been a great individual season, which you know, you don't want to be selfish, but you know I just thank Him for that."


On his performance tonight
"I wasn't really expecting that this game. I was kind of expecting more of them to jam us up and not get many balls thrown. But we just kept getting open and I just kept trying to jump up and get the balls and beat them any way I could."

On coach getting on him for dropping passes
"Yeah, I dropped some when we were going through the walk through. I was being lackadaisical. I just went on the slant route and the ball went straight through my hands. They got on me pretty good."

On why he thought he couldn't make catches
"I don't know. There was something in my mind. It was something psychological. I just couldn't catch the ball even if I wanted to. I got with Coach Woods and we were talking. He told me just catch them with your eyes. And I've been doing that since and I haven't dropped a ball since."

On if they key was focusing
"Yep, just keep my eyes on the ball. Don't let it get out. Just watch the ball, that's all I do."

On the first touchdown pass that was almost intercepted
"I was coming on a route and I knew I had the corner beat but I saw the ball coming and I saw the safety come in the window at the last second. I was about to get real mad because he was about to pick it, but then it came right out of his hands and it fell right into my hands."

On the 63-yard touchdown pass
"He told me he threw it. Usually when he throws the ball like that I don't get to it. So I don't know. Something happened tonight."

On what he will remember most about Matt Forte
"The thing I'll remember most about Matt is how much he challenged me. He's always the person on my back making sure I'm in the weight room, running, everything. Making sure I was here in the summer. He's kind of been like a big brother to me."


On tonight's win
"It was real important for the seniors and for the team to go out with a win. Before the game, we got to together and talked about basically needing this win. We are trying to set a great foundation for the underclassmen, and I think this win helps verify that a lot."

On stopping UTEP's fake field goal attempt
"It was an unexpected play. I was actually going for the block, but once I saw the guy get the ball I knew it was a fake and I knew I had him."


On the fake punt
"Basically it's just a little fake we've been practicing all year. Coach (Fred) Bleil told me if it was there to go ahead and take it. On the field, we had what we wanted, I made the call and we tried to make something happen with it. It was definitely a crucial part of the game. We needed a spark because the offense got stopped and the big run put some life into the team. We went down and scored off it and that was a big play. I was just doing a small part in a big game."



On the game tonight
"Tulane coached better than I did tonight. I thought we were at a mental good framework coming in here and had a lot to play for. The kids wanted to play. All they had to do, they just had to play for pride. They certainly did a good job of that. We definitely intended to stop #25. I thought we overall did a pretty good job of tackling him and wrapping him up. The play-action pass killed us. Playing the ball in the air, we didn't come down with it. Their receivers played tremendous. Their quarterback threw the ball well. We didn't execute.

"What happened in that game sometimes, they would get in a blitz with a running play on and check to a pass. We didn't execute, didn't throw it in, and didn't catch it. In the kicking game, we got beat. We've done a great job of coverage on kickoffs and we didn't cover real well. We should have kicked the field goal instead of faked the field goal. We should have been in prevent defense on the punt in that place on the field instead of the play we had called. That's my fault. So, there were some important coaching decisions that I blew too. This was the first time that we haven't been ahead. We weren't ahead at all, I don't think."

On his team's effort
"I thought the effort was good. I thought our effort was good. I thought we were in shape, I thought we gave good effort. I'll look on the tape, but I don't fault the effort. We just didn't execute and they did. Gee whiz, their quarterback threw the ball in there, the receiver caught the ball great. The running back was everything he anticipated he'd be. We've just got to win in those other areas. We knew that. Let's win running the football. Let's win catching balls over the middle, making good catches. Let's win covering punts and covering kickoffs. Catching the ball and returning punts on kickoffs."

On where his team goes from here
"Well, we go back home and we've got Southern Miss. We'll come back home, and these guys have a lot of pride, they've got a lot of character. We'll play hard again. We've got to play better though. "

On what is left to play for
"I'd like to play for pride, and for the seniors, and for El Paso, and for a win."


On what happened during the game tonight
"It's devastating. We put a lot into it and the results aren't what we expect. It's a tough thing to swallow and a tough thing to overcome as a team, but that's what we need to do."

On where the team goes from here
"Up, I guess. It's the only place to go. We've got to come together and we've got to stick together. We've got some leaders on this team, and we'll figure out what we need to do to get a win and get this team going back on the straight and narrow."