Transcript from Tulane Head Coach Bob Toledo's Weekly Press Luncheon

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM TU head coach Bob Toledo gave his accessment of the homecoming game against Army on Saturday and stated that the Black Knights will not be a pushover despite their 0-4 record.
TU head coach Bob Toledo gave his accessment of the homecoming game against Army on Saturday and stated that the Black Knights will not be a pushover despite their 0-4 record.

Sept. 30, 2008

New Orleans - Tulane head football coach Bob Toledo met with members of the local and state media today during his weekly press luncheon at the James W. Wilson Center. Toledo addressed the Wave's win over SMU last week and previewed Tulane's upcoming homecoming game this Saturday against Army.

Opening Remarks: It feels like the last game was about a month ago since we played, but we did win. We played very well the first half. I was really pleased with the performance for the first 30 minutes. We had two penalties, we didn't have any turnovers and the score was 31-7 at halftime. If we could have ended it right there I would've been really happy. But in the second half we ended up having eight penalties and we turned the ball over twice. It appeared that we lost focus, we lost concentration and we lost some composure. We were not disciplined at times and that is the thing that disappointed me. So, doing stupid things always bothers me as a football coach. You know, you don't beat yourself and that was a real concern. The thing that was tough was we gave them a chance to get back in the game. And it should never have been a close contest in my opinion. But it was because of the things that we did.

On what Tulane can take away from the SMU game: The great thing about it is it was a learning experience. Our guys realize that you have to focus for four quarters; you can't just play a half. You've got to focus for 60 minutes and you've got to play until its 00:00 on the clock. So in that sense, something good came out of it. Obviously there's a lot to improve on. As a football coach you're never satisfied. A win is great, but you're never satisfied with the total performance of your team usually. We got their attention so to speak and that's good. They didn't need to be thinking they've arrived yet. Obviously, we're 2-2, 1-1 in the conference. It's the old deal, you're never as good as you think you are, but you're never as bad as you might think you are either. We're getting better as a football team, but we have not arrived yet. And hopefully we continue to grow.



On this week's opponent and playing at Tad Gormley Stadium for Homecoming: This week we're going to play Army. They're 0-4. We've got them at Homecoming honoring the '98 team and the Hall of Fame Inductees. We're going to play at Tad Gormley (Stadium). I have never played out there, but from what I've gathered, it's a great atmosphere. I went out there this last spring and looked at the facility. From what I've heard they've improved a lot of the areas; the locker room, the bathrooms, the turf field; I think they've worked on it really hard these past few days. So hopefully it will be in good shape and with the weather being like it is it should be a great atmosphere for tailgating and fan support and that type of thing.

On the upcoming game vs. Army: We're averaging a pretty good group at the dome. The problem is it's so big that 25,000 doesn't look like many, but out there it will look great. We can't take Army lightly. I know they're 0-4. You look at their record and you think this is going to be an easy game, but its not and I told our team last night it's going to be a hard football game. It's going to be very difficult. They put in the option and they're going through some growing pains right now. But you can see them getting better each week. And I watched the Texas A&M game last week and in reality, Army should have beaten A&M. You know, Army fumbles the ball; the defensive lineman picks it up and goes 58 yards for a touchdown. So, instead of winning 21-17, they (A&M) very easily could've lost that game and Army could've won it. So, I've got my guys thinking that this is going to be a tough football game and if they don't play it that way then we'll be in trouble. Like I said, I see them getting better.

A&M only had 10 possessions in the game and that's the thing that worries me. They had the ball 48 plays (A&M) to Army's 70 plays. They had the ball for 37 minutes to Texas A&M's 23 minutes. So, you start talking about on the year, they've had the ball 35 minutes to their opponents 25 minutes. We're just the opposite. We've had it 36 minutes, to the opponents 24 minutes. So, we've had it about 10 minutes more than the opponent. But Army has done the same, so obviously something has to give. And the thing you have to do is you have to take advantage of each possession you get. Normally you get the ball about 13 times a game. We'll probably have the ball nine or ten times against Army. You just don't get the ball very many times. And I can remember two years ago playing at New Mexico against Air Force. And being on the sideline with my arms crossed just waiting to get the ball back because they make three yards, four yards, two yards, or whatever and then its fourth and one or two and they go for it and make it. And they just keep the ball away from you. They just frustrate you and what happens is you feel like you have to score on every possession. They put pressure on you to have to score. And of course the key is you have to end up with more points than they do so you shouldn't press, but it gets very frustrating as an offensive coach calling plays because you don't have the ball very many times. So I'm sure its kind of like a similar feeling some of our opponents have had the last few weeks when we have had the ball and our defense hasn't been on the field.

Army players to mention: A couple players to mention: their quarterback, Chip Bowden, is an excellent runner, number 10. Their fullback Collin Mooney; he's very physical, number 30. So they're strong up the middle. We've got to keep the fullback at bay; we can't let Bowden break any long runs on us. We just have to be very disciplined against this option. We've talked to a lot of people during the off season and in this last week about defending the option and I wont mention who, but we've talked to a bunch of people, different colleges and opponents that they've played against recently and they've given us some ideas. And we don't see it and it's very difficult to defend when you don't see it. Number 92, their defensive end, Victor Ugenyi, he's a heck of a player. 46, middle linebacker, (Frank) Scappaticci, he's outstanding as well. So, they've got some good players and the one thing they do is they play hard and they don't quit. They get after you. My son-in-law went to the Air Force Academy and I know what type of person he is. And having played against them last year, they don't giver up and you've got to put them away and you've got to play for 60 minutes because they will fight and make a comeback if you give them the opportunity to.

Players of the week: Our players of the week last week: Jeremy Williams, was our offensive player Our defensive player was Josh Lumar and our special team's player was Ross Thevenot.

The Louisiana players of the week were Andre Anderson and Ross Thevenot. So they got players of the week.

Injuries: Injury-wise, as I mentioned before Travis Olexa is out for the season with knee surgery. Alex Lauricella is still out with a knee strain; he might not be back for a while. And there are some other guys that are banged up and beat up a little bit. Some of them have a cold, a little flu bug, I've got it a little bit myself right now. So, a couple guys are probably going to miss practice today. Basically, we're healthy and ready to play the football game.

On if he's brought up last year's loss to Army as motivation for the team this year: Well, you know, I talked to the team about it and we're not going to really mention a lot of revenge factor. Every year is different and it's a different team and you just have to play this year. You know, and we don't mention it too much, although it was mentioned briefly Monday.

On Army's two penalties to Tulane's 11 in the game vs. Army last year and who will be officiating the game this year: We had their officials from the East that had done the Army/Navy game for the last 10 years and I don't want to blame anything on officiating, but we wont have those guys at our game this year. I don't know who we will have. Last week we had half big-12 and half conference USA so I don't know who we've got, I haven't looked.

On what Coach Toledo talked to his team about when he did bring up last year's loss to Army: I think you just have to remind them that we had the game won. And we didn't convert a short yardage situation and then we got into overtime after the Hail Mary. We gave them an 80-yard drive and a Hail Mary, and then we went into overtime and they made the field goal and we didn't. So, you remind them that they've got to play until the end regardless of whom you play and that's pretty much what we've said.

Andre Anderson: He is a different player than Matt Forte. Matt had some different abilities than Andre has, but Andre has his own style. And the one thing about Andre is he's carried the ball a bunch of times now and he's rushing for, I don't know, 120-something yards per game. The thing that impresses me about Andre is he gets a little stronger as the game goes on and that's what great running backs do. They wear you down defensively. And he's going to get his carries. Our tailback is going to be the guy that's going to get the football. He's got to wear people down and run a s hard, if not harder, in the second half than he does in the first half. And in the last two weeks he's proven that with five and a half minutes to go a couple weeks ago and two and a half minutes to go this week that we can get him the ball and he's going to pound you.

On if his summer conditioning has enabled him to have 30+ carries each game: Well, I think he learned that from Matt. Matt worked extremely hard on his own in the off-season and in the summer. He did double sessions on his own, that type of thing. And Matt kind of taught that to Andre and now Andre is kind of teaching that to the younger guys; how to work, how to run 40 yards on each play in practice and do things like that. I think his conditioning and knowing what Matt went through helped him tremendously. He knew that he was going to get to carry the ball and he knew that he was going to get banged up and beat up and that he had to be in good physical shape and he had to work hard.

On how he feels about the game being at Tad Gormley Stadium: I don't know, I really don't. Let me say this, the facility that we play in is a great facility, you know, it's a pro facility, but it's a wonderful facility and there's nothing wrong with the Superdome, but the only thing that's wrong is we don't put enough people in it. So, it's our fault more than anybody else. The thing I like about this week is we're playing in an atmosphere from what I understand is conducive to fan support and I like that, it's nice. So I've never done it, I've never played at Gormley and it's going to be my first experience just like everybody else, but I'm looking forward to the atmosphere.

On if he thinks more games will be played at Tad Gormley Stadium: That's not for me to decide right now. Maybe after playing this game I'll have a little more of a feeling and maybe have a little more of a say, but right now its up to the President and the Athletic Director as far as where we play and who we play.

On how the players feel about playing at Tad Gormley: Our players haven't said much about it to be honest with you. Except the guys that have played there before, they liked the atmosphere, but most of them don't know about it and don't care. I told them after the game I don't care where we play, ill play in the street, ill play on Willow Street, I just love to play football. So it doesn't matter where we play in my opinion, but I think anytime you get a lot of people in a stadium, like we played against Alabama and you have 94,000 people and last year we played LSU in the dome and there were 58 or 68 thousand, it gives you energy. It gives you energy and its exciting to play in front of a big crowd, otherwise it just feels like practice. So, that's why you play the game too, for the entertainment and the excitement and the thrill of the game.

On what he felt was the reason for all of the problems in the second half against SMU: I thought it was a lack of experience. When you lose some composure and some of the things I've talked about already it shows the lack of maturity. We're a young football team. I think we'll have two seniors start on offense and three on defense, so we're a young football team. And we've got to learn from these experiences. As I've mentioned before, we've got to learn how to win and that's part of learning how to win and that's why it was a great experience because we ended up winning the football game, yet we got a lot out of it. If we had lost the football game then I would have been really sick.

On how much does Andre running the football well set up play-action for Tulane's offense: Well, regardless of who you have back there if you are committed to running the football and you run it well and you're a threat, it's huge in the play-action passing game. Because again, the Bill Walsh theory: you make big plays in play-action passes because if they've got to get nine guys or eight guys in the box, you've got single coverage and what more could you ask for in the passing game. It's like the old wishbone. The wishbone would have been a great passing formation because you always have single coverage on the wide receivers; problem is those wishbone guys weren't throwers. But, that's what you're looking for. You're looking for people to pack the paint, so to speak. Get in the box and create single coverage and then put your guy on their guy and see if we can beat them.

On if they are throwing the ball better this year: We're throwing the ball a lot better this year and I've got more confidence in us throwing it this year than I did a year ago. We are throwing the ball better and if you recall we had to do two things to be successful this year; throw the ball better and defend the pass better, and we've done both.

On how he feels playing against Army: I think playing a team like Army is special. I mentioned my son in law went to the Air Force Academy and I know what he had to go through. These guys don't just go there to play football, they've got a lot of units they have to take, they don't get a lot of sleep, they work extremely hard and they had to travel all the way to College Station, TX last week and go home and then come all the way back out here. It's a grueling schedule. They are truly student athletes and they are here to protect our country. I have the utmost respect for any of those academies.

On if he believes Tulane could win its division: Well you would hope, you know. The thing that I mentioned earlier is we control our own destiny in that sense, because if we can run the table and win out in our division then hopefully we would win the division. So we play everybody in the division still, so, there's always still hope. And we're playing some really good football teams down the road that are very explosive, so, again, we're going to take this one and see if we can get three first.