Quotes Following Tulane's 28-23 Loss to East Carolina



Nov. 17, 2012

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East Carolina 28, Tulane 23
Tulane Game 11
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.


HEAD COACH Curtis Johnson

Opening Statement
"We ended up on the short end of the stick. Our guys played hard but we didn't do everything right. We wanted to send the seniors out with a bang and they played like it, but we didn't make the plays we wanted to. I'm happy to see we won the turnover battle. These guys were big and physical and they completely stopped our run."

On allowing numerous sacks
"That's what happens when you pin your ears back and come at a guy. We couldn't run it, and since we couldn't we weren't balanced. This team is too good to throw, throw, throw. We also dropped some. It was a collaboration of misses, drops and missed reads. The worst part of the sacks today was that sometimes we got sacked by a three-man front."

On the referee calling Josh Rounds down
"I really wanted to challenge it, but since the whistle had blown I couldn't. I just didn't think it was a good call. I'm not getting mad about it but I thought he was up. It was a bang-bang thing and we could see it on the screen but the referee didn't have that. It kind of took the wind out of our sails."

On the toll the season and close games are taking on the team
"The biggest thing is the amount of injuries we are starting to have. It's that time of year and it seems like every play we are having somebody out for the game. The injury bug is hitting. If we were full force we would have a better chance of winning. At one point in the game we just didn't have any linebackers. We are getting thin. We had five freshmen out there and three of them were true freshman."

On Ryan Grant's performance
"He had a great game. He and Griffin are playing very well. Grant is having a great season and he is just one of those guys that you can count on. He has been banged up and gets hit but he is out there doing his job and getting it done. He is terrific."

On the emotions of senior day
"We made a concerted effort to send them out with a win. We gave the effort and I think everybody played well. All these guys came out and fought hard. We played a tough team and Coach (Ruffin) MacNeill did a great job with those guys. They bent, but they didn't break. Their defense was exceptional today."

On the difference between first half and second half
"We struggled a bit. In the first half I thought we had a good mix of pass and run. Orleans (Darkwa) was doing a great job but we got some injuries and we became one dimensional. Towards the end of the game we got it moving again and got a good score."

On Ryan Griffin's performance
"He played well and didn't turn the ball over. Not turning the ball over gives us a big chance to win the game and he threw for 290 yards, almost another 300 yard game against a really good, stout defense. We just had a couple of negative plays, a couple of sacks and a couple of costly penalties."

On Cairo Santos remaining perfect
"He is something else now. One time I asked him if he could make it and he said he didn't know so we punted it. He is playing lights out like he has all year long. Obviously this helps him with the Lou Groza Award, but it's more about staying in the game. If we didn't have those field goals we wouldn't even be in the game. I constantly think in my head about what we have to do to only be down by two at the end of the game so that he can seal the game for us. I can't go for it on 4th and 10 and get nothing."

QB Ryan Griffin

On emotions of senior day
"It really hasn't hit me yet. I don't think it will hit for a while. It's very emotional having the whole family here. It probably hasn't hit me yet."

On fourth quarter drive
"We should have scored a few more drives before that. We had way too many three and outs today. I think that was our biggest problem and not getting touchdowns in the redzone. I wouldn't say it's the defense's fault. I would say it was our fault not scoring a lot of points. You have to score a lot of points in this conference; you have to be greedy."

WR Wilson Van Hooser

On final drive and overturned call for touchdown
"I knew I caught it because Griffin just put it like a rainbow back there. That was about as perfect of a throw that you can get. I knew as soon as I caught it, it was a touchdown. I was looking at one of the officials and he wasn't even giving me a sign so I didn't know what was going on. Especially when the showed it on the jumbotron, we knew it was a touchdown."

On difference of ECU defense in second half
"They were really shooting out their back there. They have that big #56 [Derrell Johnson], he was really shooting out. He was lying down like he was going to blitz and he was shooting out for the flat and really getting underneath our short stuff, our quick game. That was kind of frustrating in the second half. But we still have to execute with that and we have to turn those field goals into touchdowns. That's the biggest thing. We scored more times than they did, but we didn't score as many points as they did. And that's what it all boiled down to."

On what they can take out of this game
"I thought we were clicking pretty well. Really these last couple of game, we're sending off these seniors on a good note. Also it's a huge jumpstart going into next spring and next season, and really even going into Christmas break with the right mind sight of `Hey we got something going next year.' And that will get guys to work hard and believe in the system. Believing is the biggest thing. When you're right mentally, you have confidence, you have swag and you're going to have a good football team."

CB Ryan Travis

On emotions of senior day
"It's kind of surreal: the last home game playing in the Superdome as a collegiate football player. Like I told one of my teammates earlier, I can remember sitting in the tunnel watching Jeremy Williams go out my freshman year and I thought it was going to be a long time before I come out here. Today was the day. It came by so fast; we wanted to get the victory. Unfortunately we didn't get it."

On how the game went
"We tried to start fast like always. Second half we came out kind of slow. Those guys scored and then we couldn't put the ball in the end zone on offense. That was kind of tough."

On last game of career vs. Houston next week
"We're just going to go out and try to finish on a good note. It's going to be emotional for all the seniors. It's been a long time coming. It was a long hard road, but we're going to try to come out on top."



Opening statement
"Wins are hard. I'm very proud of our team, and the way we fought. We faced an emotional football team tonight with it being senior night, and honoring the young man that was injured. We knew that. Also, CJ (Curtis Johnson) is doing a great job. He's a good football coach. So to take this one, and be 6-1 in the conference, and 7-4 overall is good. I was proud of our guys and proud of our staff. It was a big win for us."

On the defensive changes at halftime
"We talked about it (defense) at halftime. We said we had to do a couple things: stop the run, affect the quarterback through bat-downs, pressures and sacks and make sure we reroute them on the back end. It was one of those things I didn't mention much in the media. We wanted to reroute their receiver routes, and we did. And cover the back end. They're going to complete some passes. Ryan Griffin is one of the highest rated quarterbacks in the league. I was proud of our guys, proud of our defense, and proud of our offense for sticking in. It was a team win."

On the play of QB Shane Carden
"He had a big time throw to Bode. He was off a little bit on the fade, but Shane will bounce back. He's a young quarterback, still developing, and I'm proud of Shane. He led us and he never got down. He wants to do well for the team, and East Carolina, and he's our quarterback. He'll bounce back and have a great game next week."

On being alive for a C-USA Championship berth
"I'm proud. I'm really proud of our team, and where we are, program wise. We're developing depth. We're not there yet. We still have to develop our kids, and keep recruiting like we are. We have a great start on that. We have to keep developing our schemes and those things. I'm proud of where we are intangible wise; the no ego, team work first, our kids believe in that and so do our coaches."

On the game against Marshall next week
"I love Dowdy-Ficklen. I know our fans will come out and support our seniors. It's Thanksgiving, but come out and have Thanksgiving with us."

On the C-USA race
"There's far more elation winning this game, than hearing UCF lose. To see the kids happy, the look in their eyes and the sense of accomplishment from our coaches and our players is really priceless. But to win here, and know that UCF lost, means that we have a chance."

On having the first winning season at ECU since becoming coach
"I appreciate that. We have high expectation. I'm a Pirate. I'm what East Carolina is about. It raised me. So when things go well I'm going to share it, and when things don't go well it hurts me to the bone. To see us accomplish things brick-by-brick. To build a foundation, it's what we want to do. I didn't come to East Carolina for it to be a stepping-stone. I'd like for it to be our home. I want us to win for seasons, not just a season. We'll keep working and keep developing."

On the first interception
"He (Carden) saved a touchdown. It was big. He learned from that. He saw some different things tonight, but he learned from it. You saw the effort, that's determination, and why he's our leader."


On his thoughts going into the game
"We knew it was their senior day, they were going to play their hardest. We knew it was going to be a fist fight, a hard game, and we stuck in it till the end and the last drive we put together was great. I think that's what we can do and what we should have done. The Superdome is a hard place to play so this was huge for us."

On if it was hard playing in the Superdome
"I don't think it was that. Their defense was doing a lot of good things over there. They were moving around their coverages a lot and blitzing different sides. I thought they were playing very well. I have to play better on my own, just straight up I need to play better for this team. The defense was playing well, the running backs were running hard, and the receivers were doing well, too. I need to step up in the first half but we played much better in the second half. Environment, a little bit, but I think it was just us playing better."

On what he saw on the Pirates' final touchdown drive
"We try to pick a side on the quick plays that we run and he was one of the guys I was looking for. I picked the right side and came inside of the inside slant. We knew all week that a few of their guys dropped off in the middle. I think that's what kind of got me earlier on that pick. The guy came down and he was able to get it. Bodenheimer ran a nice route, a man route, we knew all week they were going to man against us. Bodenheimer ran a great route on a slant and gave me a lot of room to throw the ball and got down the field to score. I am happy for him."


On the importance of today's win
"It was very important as it gave us a chance to get to the Conference USA championship, especially knowing that UCF lost today, so that one more and we are actually in it. It was a great opportunity to come out and play. It was very tough because there were not a lot of people here, but we weren't really worried about it and we just focused on winning as a team."

On what Tulane did to keep the offense off balanced
"They came out with the mentality to play tough against us. They knew we were going to run and pass at the same time. It was their senior day so we knew they would come out tough and we just had to keep fighting through it. Eventually it just opened up later."

On what playing in the C-USA title game would mean
"It means a lot. You want to end with a bang as a senior. You want to do the best you can to help out the team and you want to win every game. It didn't work out that way this year, but we are still on a winning streak. We just need to keep our heads right and hopefully pull off the win the next couple of weeks."


On the importance of today's win
"It was very important. We knew they were going to play a good game. It was their senior day and we knew they were going to come out with a lot of emotion. They play very well in the Superdome and we knew they were going to give it everything and we knew we had to take it from them. We just found a win, there is no ugly win, a win is a win, and we just found a way to win and the defense helped us out with it."

On his second touchdown
"I had been running a lot of verticals all day, and I hadn't been running anything inside. I thought I had chance to make a play thanks to Justin Hardy clearing it out for me and a great throw from Shane Carden. I had to be patient and I was able to turn his hips and get a chance to get up and make the catch."

On Tulane's on-sides kick attempt
"Coach Dodd always told us that the on-sides kick is the play to win the game, so we take it very seriously. We did some on-sides kick returns in practice and went over them in meetings as well. We prepared and our coach did a good job of getting us prepared. It showed out there as we made a routine play on the onside kick and it won the game for us."