Nov. 14, 2006
Weekly Press Conference
James W. Wilson, Jr. Center
New Orleans, La.
On Saturday's game vs. Southern Miss
"Last Saturday was a game that I thought was very competitive up until the fourth quarter. I've said it before, but there were several plays that changed the outcome of the game and there were a couple there in the fourth quarter that really made a difference. Defensively, I thought we played well, played hard. Special teams, I thought did a nice job. Offensively, going through it again, we didn't play up to our standards and you know you're all going to ask me this: `Why did you punt on third down,' and I'll answer it before you do. You know the standard on our offense in eight years hasn't been what was out there on Saturday. That's the bottom line at the end of the day. We weren't reaching anywhere near the standard that's been set here, and that's something that's realistic."
On punting on third down showed a lack of confidence in the offense
"Well, if you look at it from that standpoint, it shows a lot of confidence in the defense at that time and how well they were playing. And we almost got that fumble the first play right after that. But we had three unforced errors and it's a standard. When you look at it offensively, that's the worst output of the day. It just made it clear that that's not what we're about."
On the play of the offensive line Saturday vs. Southern Miss
"Looking back at it, the offensive line really disappointed me Saturday. They disappointed themselves. We had played so well up front; that standard has been raised as this year has progressed...and we didn't reach it. We didn't play the way we were capable of playing up front. So from that aspect I was very disappointed."
On his comment that the offensive line was intimidated during post-game press conference on Saturday
"Well, I don't think anyone's going to say that they were intimidated, but what? You couldn't be ready for a rival game? We didn't match up with them. they schematically didn't do anything different, and they physically got after it. And there's been some days like that, but it hadn't been like that on offense in a long time. We're going to regroup, pick it up and get ready to go against Central Florida."
On Matt Forté's season ending knee injury
"We were holding out hope. Last week, he got another opinion and he's done for the year and it hurts our football team. But as a football coach, I feel bad for him. He really prepared himself for this year in the off-season. He found the places to work out. He prepared himself this year like a true, complete football player. He's a great person and his goal was to get 1,000 yards this year and he was on track to do that. He's been a very important cog on our offense and he provided a lot of leadership. I really feel bad for him for his season to be over."
On the seniors' roller-coaster ride of an experience during their careers at Tulane
"This group of seniors experienced the high of the highs of going to the Hawaii Bowl. You ask any one of them what's probably been their most enjoyable experience in their life and its been going out to Hawaii. So that was one of the highs of their highs and then obviously last year, one of the lowest points that any one of us has been through. Not just as an athlete, as a person. And you factor in '03, the reviews and the anxiety of that period of time. They've seen it all and they were in one of the most difficult times in this athletic department's history. At the end of the day, there's not one of them that won't be ultra-successful. I can't just talk about one, because I think every one of them will be successful and a great representative of Tulane, of this city, and of their families. This is going to be one group that I'm really going to miss."
On other players stepping up in place of injured Forté
"You know other guys have to step up. I thought Ray Boudreaux ran hard and I thought Ade (Tuyo) ran hard. Like I said, we didn't get much help up front and that falls directly on them. I think Demarcus Davis is healthy. Preston (Brown), he's still hobbling somewhat, but he's going to get out there and go. Every guy is going to have to step up and when they have the chance to make a play, they have to make it."
On the running game Saturday, without Forté
"I thought we had some success running the football on Saturday. We can't be one-dimensional. Either way, we're going to have to do both."
On Lester Ricard's status as the starting quarterback
"Lester is going to start. Lester had no help on Saturday and we went in with a change. Like I said, I thought we moved the ball at times. We had an 18-play drive and we were coming back in the game. But no, Lester's going to play. He didn't get much help Saturday."
On why there's such parity in Conference USA
"I think a lot of factors go into it. Our kids have been through more than anybody in the last year, and just for us to say they were back home and flip the switch on and we're going to be (successful)...it didn't work that way. These kids are battling hard. Central Florida's kids are battling hard. I don't know about their injuries and how many they've lost (for the season), but different factors affect the league. I think in our league, if you really break it down, three or four plays can change the outcome of a game. It's never as bad as it seems and it's never as good as it seems. Coming off of the Mississippi State win, I sat here and I told you all, we have not arrived yet. It's week to week and what goes into it and how it plays out."