Head coach Bob Toledo addressed the media during Tulane's weekly football press conference at the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center.
Oct. 4, 2011
NEW ORLEANS -
Bob Toledo Tulane University Head Coach
On last week's loss at Army
"To start off, we had 10 penalties - four on kickoff returns. We ended up on the minus-20, the minus-10, minus-8 and minus-15. We also fielded a kickoff going out of bounds on the 16 which is something we preach not to do, but again, they don't always do on the field what we tell them to do. We (allowed) five sacks - three by offensive linemen, one by a running back and one the quarterback needed to get rid of the football. All of those resulted to bad field position, and we know how crucial field position is. We also had two fumbles and we had two interceptions. That resulted in 17 points. Plus we missed an extra point."
On Tulane's defensive effort at Army
"Defensively, we did one of the things we wanted to do and that was to slow the fullback down. We did that. We took away their option. They stopped running the option, but we had a hard time stopping their inside running game - their counter and their power inside. When they threw the ball, they were 3-for-3 - 100 percent - with a 40-yard touchdown pass."
On Tulane's offensive production at Army
"Offensively, we felt we could run the ball and we did early. Our plan was looking good early, but then we got behind, started struggling and they pretty much teed off on us when we started throwing the ball every down."
On the upcoming opponent, Syracuse
"As far as Syracuse is concerned, Doug Marrone as you well know is their head coach. He's a good friend of mine. He coached with the Saints. He was a neighbor of mine at English Turn. For those of you who don't know, I have a home out there. They're 3-2. They have three overtime games. They won two of them and this last week, they lost to Rutgers 19-16."
On Syracuse's offense
Offensively, they run a pro-style offense very similar to the Saints and very similar to some of the things we do. Their quarterback, Ryan Nassib, broke the school record last year for completions and this year he has nine touchdown passes already. Their tight end, Nick Provo, is an all-conference player. Their running back, Antwon Bailey, is a little guy - about 5-7 - but he's very powerful. He rushed for about 125 yards last week. He's a second-team all-conference player. He's a heck of a player."
On Syracuse's defense
"Defensively, they run a 4-3 and they combine it with a 3-4. They've got an attacking, aggressive defensive scheme. They held Rutgers to five yards rushing last week, so they're pretty aggressive. Their linebacker, Marquis Spruill, is really active. He was a freshman last year. He's a middle linebacker and he is a very good player. Three of their four defensive linemen are seniors. Both of their safeties are returning starters and are very active in run support."
On the reaction to the loss at Army
"After our loss to Army, obviously we were hurting like a lot of people were. I can understand the frustration of all of the people that follow our program that are outside of the program, but right now my biggest concern is about our players. I can't be worried about outside people. I know we obviously are not competing to our capabilities and that bothers me. However, I do believe our coaches are coaching extremely hard. If you want to come and follow us around, we are here 15 hours a day so you're more than welcome. Our players have given us good effort. They are trying hard. We've made some mistakes obviously that have affected us. But right now, our main focus on the football team - we met Sunday and the team me - and we're trying to band together. We can't let the naysayers - some of the people that are out there and some of the media people - try and distract us. We can't have them keep us from having a good season. We don't want them to ruin our season, because obviously that's what they're trying to do by distracting you."
On the team's outlook for the remaining seven regular-season games
"There are only three teams in Conference USA that have winning records right now and we play two of them. There is enough football left that we can still have a successful football season. We just need to continue to work hard in practice to get better. We need to stay focused and not let people distract us. And we have to go out and we have to perform. If we do that, everything will take care of itself."
On the possibility of not having wide receiver Ryan Grant for the remainder of the 2011 season
"We lost him in the first quarter of the first game and it's affected us already to be honest with you. We're playing with some younger guys. Brandon LeBeau had a concussion in the first half of the Duke game. We lost him for last week. He's a big-play guy so hopefully we'll get him back. Right now, we're playing two walk-ons, Carlos Wilson and Jacob Davis. We've lost a bunch of guys who are hurt. We don't have a lot of depth at that position. Brett Comardelle was a guy we were going to redshirt, but we're trying to bring him back. When Joe (Kemp) graduated, we were going to bring him up. Now, we've got to play him. We just don't have enough receivers. I was talking to Ryan Griffin this morning. He was out there yesterday actually throwing to some of the young, freshmen receivers because they need to get on the same page."
On the up-and-down performances of Ryan Griffin and Tulane's passing game
"That's why he went out on his own yesterday and worked with some of those freshmen and younger guys. The passing game is all about timing. Obviously, you have to have protection. You've got to throw the ball on time and you have to catch it. We've been struggling because some of our routes have not been run exactly like they're supposed to be run. Our protection has broken down at times. He's become a little frustrated. I think the combination of all of those things have affected his performance and our performance offensively. It comes down to the fact that we need to run the ball to set up some play-action pass plays. As you saw when we did win, those are the things that were effective. But when you can't run and you get behind real fast, all of the sudden it affects you. We started out the game Saturday. We were running the ball and doing what we wanted to do. The game got out of hand so quick and our field position was so bad, we were playing catch-up the whole time."
On if he is surprised about the backlash following the loss at Army
"It's the bandwagon people. When things are going good, everybody jumps on the bandwagon and everyone is excited. As soon as things go bad, everyone starts ripping you in the paper and they start ripping you on the Internet. That's why I don't read those things. I hear about them and it bothers you. You're a human being. If we had sit, talk about you, and say the things that you guys do, you wouldn't like it either...The point is, you can't worry about the naysayers. That's going to happen and it's been going on forever. There's always a lot of people out there - nameless, faceless people - that are going to write things about you and say things and not even give you their name. I don't respect those people anyway, so I'm not going to let those people bother me or let me lose my focus because of that. I'm going to continue to maintain my focus, I'm going to continue to work hard, and I'm going to try and get this thing turned around and heading in the right direction."
On how the recent negative press has affected his players
"The one thing I said is when we did win big, I told them about all the people who jumped on the bandwagon. I told them as soon as things go bad, those people will jump off the bandwagon just as fast as they jumped on. You just have to educate them. We now realize that it doesn't matter what the outside people think. It's what we think. We had a great team meeting on Sunday. For the first time in a long time, the players said, `Coach, we want the coaches to leave and we want to talk.' We had a team meeting without the coaches, and I heard that it was outstanding. But while I was in there, we had players stand up and actually cry it hurt them so much. That's why I believe that this team, more so than any team we've had, is heading in the right direction regardless of what people think."
On the fans looking for progress and only seeing the final score
"That's understandable. But I want you to understand that the players feel bad about that. We, as coaches, don't coach some of the things that are going on. We don't coach them to hold and to catch the ball going out of bounds, to throw interceptions, to fumble and get beat deep. We don't coach them to do that, but that's part of the game. Unfortunately, it's happened to us and it's happened to us numerous times. That's the bothersome thing. That's why I said that we need to focus and we need to perform better. We're not performing to our capabilities. I realize that more than anybody. I've been doing this a long time. It hurts me more than it hurts anybody in this room or outside of this room."
On if there is any specific area of the team that has under performed
"Well, first of all, last week was difficult with the run. We held them to under 400 yards and that's less than they've had in the past. The thing about that offense is when they get on a roll, they keep the ball away from you. We only had 48 snaps, so they keep it away from you. The thing that hurt us more than anything else was our field position. We couldn't get good field position to open things up and do things we wanted to do. Is the team underperforming in certain areas? Possibly."
On the performance of Sam Scofield in his first collegiate start last week at Army
"Sam did a very good job. He performed very well, to be perfectly honest with you. He had a really good game. I was pleased to see how he performed against a very difficult offense to get ready for in your first game as a college starter. He's played a little bit in the past at the end of some games, but he started this game and he played very well."
On if he plans to adjust his schemes or just stick with what he's been trying to do
"We're a multiple offensive football team and we can do a lot of things. We can play a lot of people, we can do a lot of different things scheme wise and we've tried those things. We've tried slide protecting. We've tried keeping backs in. We've tried keeping tight ends in. We've tried to run the ball and failed at times. We just haven't put it all together. We've got the tools, if you want to call it that, to get the job done. We just aren't performing to get the job done."
On if he feels as if he has to say the same things in his press conference following consecutive losses
"First of all, one of the things I did this season is I came out and made a bold statement. No. 1, I wanted our players to believe that we're pretty good. No. 2, I want people to believe that we've improving and getting better. For it not to happen all the time, because we've had a couple of incidents where it's been good and a couple where it's been bad, but I can't worry about that. I just have to keep coaching and doing what I'm doing. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough. For the most part, if you talk to our players, they've bought into what we're doing. They know what's going on. They feel bad because they haven't performed. I had one kid get up and he was crying because he felt bad for the coaches. He knows that we're trying to coach them hard, but it's not getting done. It's been very frustrating to be honest with you, very disappointing. The only thing I know how to do is go back, keep working hard, try to continue to get better and start performing to our capabilities."
On if the Tulane job is the hardest he's ever had
"Ever. It's the hardest job I've ever had in a lot of different ways."
On if he's worried about Ryan Griffin pressing too much to succeed
"He wants to win so badly that he may be pressing a little bit. He wants to do everything himself. He wants to make all of the plays right now. He's got to play within the system. He's got to just take what people give him and do what he's been told to do. He is such a competitive guy and he wants to win so bad that sometimes he's getting out of character and doing things that aren't within himself. That's when he gets himself into trouble."
On if Albert Williams has fallen off the depth chart and where fits into the offense
"Last week, because of what (Army) was doing with the Bear defense, we felt that we needed to be physical running the football. Our two most physical guys are Orleans and Robert Kelley. We gave him a few plays that he ran and he'll get some plays again this week. Right now, the best two runners on our football team are Orleans Darkwa and Robert Kelley. Danté Butler is a good little runner, but we can't get them all into the game right now. You can in certain situations, but you can't play them all. I wanted Orleans to get off and start experiencing some success, and he did. He rushed for 100 some-odd yards. Robert Kelley is really an outstanding talent, too. Albert is more of a role player. We've talked to him about it. He's got to understand his role and when he gets in there and has an opportunity, he's got to take advantage of it."
On if he is concerned about the future of his tenure at Tulane and that of his coaching staff
"I don't think you can worry about next year right now. I'm worried about this year right now. I can't control what happens down the road. I can just control what happens week to week right now. That's kind of where my thoughts are."
On if he feels the team play well if they get off to a good start and stumble after falling behind
"I don't know. That's a good question. I know that our team feels very bad feels very bad about not performing to their capabilities week in and week out. That's the thing that's been bothersome, we haven't been consistent. I want to see us get better every day, every week, every game. To be on a roller coaster ride is very frustrating. They are as frustrated as anybody. If you know anything about them, they work their butt off. They've worked harder than any team we've had. They are better than any team we've had. All that I can say is that we have a lot of football games left and when the season is over, we can evaluate what happened and we'll go from there."
On if he feels there in any dissention in the locker room following back-to-back losses
"Not to my knowledge. I talked to Griff a while ago about the meeting they had, and he said, `Coach, it was awesome. We're all pulling together. We all realize what's going on and the mistakes we've made to get us beat.' I think they're attitude has been fantastic. I'm not one to go and brow-beat them now and beat them up. That's not my deal. I think we can win, as I've said before. I think you can be a little more demanding of them, if you want to call it that. We're going to continue to be demanding, but we're not going to be demeaning."
On if he feels attacked with the recent story about his home being for sale and if he's ever had to deal with that before
"First of all, the media here is nothing like Los Angeles. And in Los Angeles, I sold three houses. I know what Sean Payton is going through now when he put his house up for sale. I don't have helicopters flying over yet. I feel for Sean. People are ridiculous. People are absolutely ridiculous. I put my house up (for sale) in May. The timing of this article and stuff is really interesting. I lose two football games and all of a sudden my house is for sale. The timing is really interesting. I put my house up for sale in May because my wife and I decided that our house is way too big for us at this point. It's just her and myself, and to have a 4400-plus square foot home and be where we're at just doesn't make sense. Last May, not Sunday, we put our house up for sale to scale down and get a little villa in English Turn because we love English Turn. That's what we're trying to do. A lot of people buy and sell houses. Chris Scelfo lived out there and sold three houses. What did you guys do to poor Chris? Doug Lichtenberger, my special teams coordinator, has been here five years with me and he's sold four houses. I can go on and on. And they're assistant coaches. This is what bothers me too. Come and attack me. Don't attack an assistant coach. They're renting. Most coaches across the country rent. Steve Stanard has a house in Colorado. Steve Stanard has a house in Athens. Steve Stanard had to rent. You people...It makes me sick, to be perfectly honest with you. It's amazing how cruel people can be. People are cruel, and I understand it being in my position. But I see these faceless, nameless people on the Internet that don't give their name and then go out and rip you. I have no respect for any of them."