Tulane head coach Bob Toledo spoke with the local media during the his weekly press conference on Tuesday in the Wilson Center.
Oct. 12, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -
"First of all, I want to start by thanking the people that showed up for our football game. I thought it was a great crowd for us. They were behind us and it was neat to see them early. We only wish that we would have given them more to cheer for and that's the disappointing thing. We wanted to show progress, but we didn't. So in turn, we all get frustrated by it - nobody is more frustrated than me. I can understand the frustration. Two weeks ago we play Rutgers, we have only three penalties, don't have any sacks, don't have any turnovers and we win the football game. Against Army this week, we just self destruct and obviously we lose the football game. Everybody is very frustrated and showing frustration, and that's understandable."
On Tulane's Turnovers On Saturday Against Army
"Besides scoring points - because that's the most important thing, you have to outscore your opponent...that's the goal - turnovers are the most important stat besides that. You can't give football games away. You just can't give them away and that's what you do when you turn the ball over. Look at the Saints. Drew Brees is one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game. Not only is he a great quarterback, he's a great person. But he unfortunately threw three interceptions, they turn the ball over on a fumble and they lose to Arizona. So it happens is what I'm trying to tell you. We as coaches don't coach that. The players don't want to do that. They don't want to make those mistakes. They don't want to turn the ball over. It happens, unfortunately. It's part of the game. You look at our second quarter and that basically did us in. It killed us. It just put us way behind the eight ball. We had three fumbles in about a seven-minute span - two kickoffs back to back. I've never seen that one, two fumble recoveries back to back. Offensively, we had the ball for three and a half minutes in the second quarter. Three minutes and 30 seconds. Defensively, we put our guys in a bind. Bad field position, horrible field position, and (Army) scored a touchdown, kicked a field goal and missed a field goal. Basically (our defense) got exhausted. They got worn down. That didn't help for the rest of the game."
On Tulane's Inability To Stop the Black Knights' Running Game
"Our No. 1 priority going into the game was to stop the fullback. You've got to stop the option from the inside out. And if you don't stop the fullback, it's going to be a long day. They did some things differently than they've done in the past that hurt us a little bit. We probably didn't adjust to it as well or as fast as we could have. We had some guys hurt. (Oscar) Ponce de Leon, who played a great game against them last year, didn't play. Cedric Wilson sprained his ankle and he was out immediately. We wanted to some things with (Justin) Adams at nose. We had to move him back to the tackle position in the three technique, so it kind of hurt us game-plan wise. We just didn't have enough people in there. They pounded us pretty good."
On Tulane's Play On Special Teams
"Our kickoffs and our coverage were horrible. We didn't kick the ball where we wanted to kick it. We put it in a place we didn't want and then we didn't cover and get off blocks and tackle very well. And of course the on-side kick at the end was a disaster. We don't have that, they probably don't score the last touchdown."
On Army's Ability To Take Time Off The Clock
"The third quarter was kind of interesting. We come out at half and we're still in the game. We feel like, `Hey, we're going to make a comeback.' We kick off to them and they go 16 plays, eat up eight minutes of clock and score a touchdown. That was a little demoralizing. They kick off to us, we go 18 plays in about eight minutes and into the fourth quarter. Of course we score a touchdown and it's 31-15. We both had the ball one time in the third quarter. One time. It's hard to score a lot of points if you only have the ball one time. Usually, you get the ball a minimum of two to three times a quarter. That's what I mentioned last week. It's hard against these guys and you get frustrated because they keep the ball and you're sitting on the sideline waiting to get it. We took too long to score a touchdown. We should have scored quicker."
On If The Score Was More One-Sided Than The Game Was
"The final score in my opinion looked a lot worse than the game really was. Obviously, we lost the game and that was disappointing. It could have been a good football game. You take away the three fumbles and the on-side kick at the end, that's 17 points right there. It could have been a heck of a football game and unfortunately it made it look a lot worse than it was."
On Where Tulane Goes From Here
"There is a lot of football remaining. We've got seven games left and they're all league game right - three on the road, four at home. We as a coaching staff and as a team are going to stay positive. We're going to continue to work hard. We're going to practice hard. We're going to try and get better and win some games. There are some games out there that we can win. That's our goal right now - play one game at a time. Tulsa happens to be the next one on the schedule."
On This Weekend's Opponent, The Tulsa Golden Hurricane
"As you know, Tulsa is 3-3 and 1-2 in conference. They had a touch loss last week, 21-18 to SMU. They're really good. Offensively, they return nine starters. Their quarterback, G.J. Kinne, has got a lot of mobility in the pocket. He's able to run with the ball and he's a good passer. They're the No. 1 rushing team and No. 1 total offense team in Conference USA. They're the No. 3 passing team and scoring team in Conference USA. Their punter averaged over 36 yards last year and he's doing the same thing. He's got great hang time. He puts the ball where he wants it. I think he put it on the 1-, the 5- and the 15-yard line last week. He keeps you pinned down and does a great job. Their kicker, I think he was 14 out of 15 in field goals last year. He's off to a good start. He kicks off real well. They're kickers and punters are good, and of course we all know about Damaris Johnson. He's one of the best punt and kick returners in the country. He'll end up being the best punt and kick returner in the history of Tulsa. Defensively, they've got an experienced front group. Their defensive linemen have experience. Their linebackers are inexperienced but they're getting better each week. They've got good size. They've got good athleticism. Their secondary is very athletic. They got hurt earlier in the year because of their inexperience, but you can see them getting better."
On Tulane's Injury Status
"J.T. McDonald has had a bad neck the last three weeks and hasn't played. He's been more of a special teams player. Kevin Moore started throwing some passes yesterday but he's not ready to play with a broken finger. Kevin Burris has the knee. He's out for the year, basically. Kris Rhymes pulled a hamstring running under a kickoff last week. He's out. Derrick Strozier injured his quad on a kickoff against Rutgers. He didn't play the rest of that game and didn't play last week. Cedric Wilson has a bad high-ankle sprain. He's out. Questionable, Zach Morgan - our guard - sprained his ankle in the game as well. We had to play Emmanuel Aluko most of the game. And of course, Oscar (Ponce de Leon) still has the ankle. He's questionable and we'll see how he responds this week."
On If His Team Can Bounce Back After A Tough Loss To Army
"I think so. With the leadership of our seniors, with the coaching staff remaining positive, and knowing that we're not going to face that offense or defense again, I think it gives us hope that we can play against the people that we have to line up against the next seven weeks. So yes, there is still hope that we can attain one of the goals that we set for ourselves and that is to get to a bowl."
On If The Strozier Injury Indirectly Led To Tulane's Fumble Issues On Kickoff Returns
"One was a redshirt-freshman and one was a sophomore. We did it against Rutgers and he made some good returns...almost broke one. Sullen I'm talking about. But again, he was stripped of the ball. He was running with the football and right at the end, he didn't wrap it up. They did a great job of stripping him. It happened right in front of me. I know a lot of people are talking about challenges and this and that. I saw that fumble. I saw Joe's fumble. I saw Van Hooser's fumble. Those were fumbles. You don't challenge things that you know are not challengeable because you're going to waste a timeout. Those things happen unfortunately. That's why we put the two running backs back there at the end of the game. At least they're used to running with the football more and protect it more."
On How Much He Is Having To Adjust Blocking Schemes Due To Injuries
"That's always a problem. You're trying to protect the quarterback. We did some things this week because of their rush. If you don't maximum protect sometimes, they're going to get you. As it was, they got us three times. One was by the left tackle, one was by the tight end and one was by the fullback. So three guys missed blocks that caused us to get sacks. Last year, we were running for our lives against them. We said `Hey, we're going to go in with this kind of a plan, try and protect ourselves and try to throw the ball deeper down the field.' And we did. We threw for more yards and we threw for more touchdowns than we had all year. That worked. Our running game, we had a good plan running-game wise. But it ended up that our two tailbacks only had 16 carries out of 24. We ran a couple of reverses with receivers. We had to get out of our game plan. We got behind so fast that we had to get out of it. We were very efficient running the football. We felt we had a good plan. As it was, we ran enough plays and we scored some points. But when you don't have three possessions and possibly four - because on the third play of the game we dropped the football for a first down - and that would have kept another possession alive. They might not have gotten the ball, gone 60 yards and scored on the first series. All of those things come into play. You're trying to protect people. At guard, we've got guys banged up at guard. Harris Howard was playing on one foot basically and did a nice job. He played good for a guy playing on one ankle. With Zach (Morgan) out, here's Emmanuel Aluko who hasn't played a lot of football but did a nice job."
On If He Feels The Offensive Tackles Are Getting The Job Done
"People in the stands, people in radio and on TV, they see things. But they don't see what we see. As soon as the quarterback gets sacked, it's the offensive line. It's just one guy. We missed one block. We ran the ball well. We protected well. Eric (Jones) didn't have any problems at right tackle. Unfortunately, we had a mishap at left tackle on one play against a really good pass rusher. People's perceptions are a lot different. When you watch it on film, you see it and you know what you're really looking at in a game, it's a lot different that people in the `stands' see, so to speak."
On If Having To Max Protect Was Due An Inability To Block By The Offensive Line
"We had to throw the ball away at times. But no, it was because of what they were doing, what they did to us last year and what they've been doing. It was a little bit of a plan that we put in for this game. We were running the ball really well. We ran a counter. We ran a sweep. We did some things game-plan wise that were pretty good. We just didn't have enough opportunities to stay with it. But that was our plan."
On Dropping The Third Game After Starting 2-2 The Last Three Years
"I'm hoping that it doesn't happen again. We still have to play the games, but I'm just talking about attitude. The attitude of this football team is really good. I think the leadership from our upperclassmen is really good. And not that it wasn't last year because last year it got better, too. The two preceding years was really difficult, but last year our guys didn't quit or give up all season. We were going into that last game and we played our fannies off. We'll do the same thing this year. Now whether we win or not will depend on if we can stop beating ourselves."
On If He Is Challenging The Receiving Corps To Make More Plays
"Yes. Yes we are. One of the things with the `spread' offense is that you have to run after the catch. Right now, we're not running after the catch. We're throwing some deep balls, but we're not out-running people to catch the ball. And when we do, we drop the ball sometimes. We've got one receiver who is really playing well. Casey Robottom is really playing well. If you're going to bet your house, you bet it on Casey. But those other guys all have to step up. They have to play better. So yes, we're challenging them to play better. We think they've got some physical ability to play better, but they got to perform better."
On If Tulane's Receivers Are Having Trouble Getting Open
"Sometimes, yes. You're talking about separation. You've got to separate from defenders. But like when we played Houston, they came up and they just bumped us. That's when we had to try and get the ball deep and get them out of there. We were successful doing that. If you're not successful doing that, people just keep crowding you and crowding you. It's hard to run after the catch if when they do that."
On The Importance Of Scoring A Lot Of Points Against A Team Like Tulsa
"They're going to score some points. Everybody in this conference is going to score some points. If you don't score with them, you're going to have some problems. We scored 23 last week. They were giving up 24. But basically, we scored almost more points than we've ever scored. We had more yards than we've ever had. We passed the ball for more yards. We ran the ball efficiently - not for a lot of yards, but efficiently. I think we're on the verge of doing some good things. We just have to stay with it, keep battling, keep coaching, keep playing and not beat yourself. We're not good enough to overcome problems. Some people are good enough that if they make some mistakes, they can overcome them. We're not good enough right now to overcome major mistakes. We might have an offsides. We might have an incomplete pass or something. Bu the major mistakes, we're not at a point in our program to overcome them. We've almost got to play perfectly to have a chance to win. (Against Rutgers) we didn't beat ourselves. We played well enough to win. And how did we beat them? With a couple of trick plays. It's not like we went up and down the field on them. We've got to play well."
On What It Would Mean To Get A Win At Tulsa
"It would be huge. It would be huge because it is a conference game and it is on the road. We always talk about how you have to win on the road, like we did at Rutgers. Like Bob Hope, we're going to another homecoming. We have more homecomings than Bob did. But here we go again. We just have to go out and perform."
On A Comment During Saturday's Post-Game Press Conference That The Game Plan Was Too Specific To Army
"No. 1, you have to game plan against your opponent and what they do. The people who make those comments, maybe they should catch the ball and not fumble. Do what you're supposed to do. If we do what we're supposed to do, we might have won the football game. But you can't fumble the ball and drop the ball and win football games. People who make those comments, that's an excuse. It wasn't the whole game plan. It was a portion of the game plan. And we did it to have success. When we did, we had some success. We threw the ball deep down the field, we had some big completions and we ran the ball pretty well in the formation that we were running. We were trying to protect ourselves. As it is, we had three sacks. God knows how many we would have maybe had if we didn't do that."
On If He Is Happy With Where Ryan Griffin Is At This Point Of The Season
"Well, he's hurt. His drop is what it needs to be, he's not throwing the ball with as much velocity - although he threw a couple of outs. He's hurt. I don't know if any of you have ever had a separated shoulder and tried to throw a football. He's going through a tough time. But I'm proud of the way he's responded. He gets knocked down and he gets right back up. He wants to play. That's one of the reasons that we have Joe (Kemp) doing a few things on offense. He's not a quarterback for us full time but he gives us a chance for a couple of plays."