Nov. 23, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -
On last week's loss to UCF
"Let me start by saying there are a lot of reasons why we got beat the way we did, but it would only sound like excuses is I used them so I'm not going to go there. Let's just say that from the opening kickoff until the final play of the game, Central Florida pretty much had their way with us. We were out-coached and out-played from start to finish. That's the way I look at it. It's a shame our season had to end that way at home and I feel really bad for the seniors. It was their last home game in front of friends and family and it's not the way to go out"
On his goals for the season finale
"Hopefully we can end our season this week on a positive not by beating Marshall. If we can do that, it would give us five wins. By having five wins, the seniors' legacy will be that we built a solid foundation for the future. That's what I want for them. We're trying to enjoy this last week together - it is Thanksgiving. We're trying to enjoy our time together and hopefully go down, play well and win."
On Saturday's opponent, the Marshall Thundering Herd
"Marshall is 4-7, 3-4 in Conference USA. Last week, they lost to SMU 31-7 and won their previous three games. But it's interesting, here comes another team just before us. So each team we've played this year, the opponent lost the week before. Statistically, I think Marshall is an awful lot like us. If you go and look at all the stats, they're very close to us. The one difference is they lead Conference USA in sacks with 25 and the least amount of sacks allowed with 10. We're leading the league in the least amount of yards penalized. Obviously, we're a disciplined group. We've got a nice bunch of kids and don't have a lot of penalties."
On Tulane's injury status
"Injury wise, Darryl Farley has an ankle injury. He didn't play last week and is very questionable for this week. Ryan Griffin, with the wrist, did not play last week. He's going to try and throw the ball a little bit today to see if he can go, but again, he's very questionable. We're not going to do much with him all week. Hopefully, we'll travel him and see if he can play. Cody Sparks injured his knee in the first half, but had it taken care of at halftime. Hopefully, he'll be able to play this week. He hasn't practiced. He's probable. Kevin Moore injured his ankle when he ran out of bounds in the second quarter. He's in a boot right now and he's very doubtful. Casey Robottom just played a few plays in the first quarter. He caught a pass for 30 yards and ended up having to run out of bounds and injured the hamstring again. He reinjured that and he's very doubtful. Kris Rhymes had a concussion. He didn't play last week, he's primarily in on special teams but he's out. Alex Wacha reinjured the ankle during the game. He's very questionable right now. Kendrick Washington, our right corner, played about nine plays, he injured his knee. It's probably a serious thing and he's definitely out. That's kind of where we're at. We've been pretty fortunate all year. We haven't had a lot of injuries all year, but Central Florida beat us up pretty good. It was one of those games where we came out banged up. But we'll continue to play."
On the injuries sustained against UCF
"Yes, they beat us up pretty bad. This is as bad of an injury report as we've had - and these aren't all the guys. There are some guys that are out at practice who could play but they're not on the trip anyways so I didn't mention all the names. But we got beat up pretty good. (UCF is) athletic and they're tough. If you listened to George O'Leary the week before, he was disappointed because he felt Southern Miss out-physicalled them and he was going to change that. They out-physicalled us."
On if Tulane might come out flat against Marshall after losing to UCF
"I'm hoping not. All you can do is talk to your players and tell them, `Hey, let's have good practices.' Hopefully, with good practices you'll play well. It's our last week together. We're not out there beating them up, yelling and screaming at them. We're telling them, `Let's enjoy each other and let's go out and see if we can win this fifth game. Let's not slip back. Let's see if we can win more games than we have since we've been here.' That's kind of our motto right now."
On the UCF Knights
"I said going in that Central Florida was the best team we'll play all year. I still believe that. They've got everything going for them. They're the largest school in the country. They've got over 56,000 students. They've got 130 players on their football team. They've got a great recruiting base. They gave North Carolina State and everybody they've played a heck of a battle. They were ranked in the Top 25 the week before we played them. They are head and shoulders the best team in this conference in my opinion."
On if Marshall is a must-win game
"Well, I think it's really important. I think we need to finish on a strong note and we need to show that we've made progress. Like I said earlier, I think this is the best football team that we've had. It didn't necessarily mean we were going to win more football games. I've said that, too. We are better, but we don't have all the pieces to the puzzle as I've talked about earlier. I think it's important for us to go and win this football game to show that we have made progress. I told you last week, we're playing 20 freshmen right now - 12 true freshmen and eight redshirt-freshmen. We're playing 16 sophomores and we're redshirting 16 players. If you look at it, there are only 12 seniors on the football next year. So we're going to be a sophomore/junior football team and we're on the verge of having a very good recruiting year, too. I think the program is heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, last week it made it look really bad. I'll be the first one to admit that. I felt horrible about the outcome of the football game and how it was played. It is what it is. I think it's important that we do win this football game. As far as me and my future, we'll sit down like we always do with the administration at the end of the season. We'll talk and we'll see where it goes from there."
On how important it is to show progress
"I think it is important. We need to prove that we are making progress with a good group of players coming back next year. If you look at the schedule next year, we don't play Central, we don't play Southern Miss and we don't play Marshall. We replace those with the other three teams (in the C-USA East). Our non-league schedule, I think, gives us a chance. I don't know if you're familiar with the schedule for next year yet and I don't want to say anything, but we have a chance to be competitive. Let's put it that way."
On if too much can be made from last week's loss
"Probably, yes, just because of the way it happened. It was just boom, boom. Sixteen plays and it was 31-0. The opening kickoff just really deflated our football team, I thought. Not having Griffin and really not having Robottom, that hurt us. Although Darkwa really played well. To rush for 129 yards against Central Florida says a lot. They're a really good defense."
On what his team is missing
"I think we just need a few more athletes. We need some play-makers offensively. We need a few more offensive and defensive linemen. We need some more quality depth at quarterback, and we've got a couple of commitments already. But I think the biggest thing is receivers. We just need more play-makers at receiver - guys that can catch the ball and score touchdowns."
On how important it is to get an extension to help in recruiting
"It hasn't been brought up a lot, let's put it that way. Coaches haven't used that against me. Again, we'll play next year and see what happens."
On if he thinks Ryan Griffin will be able to play
"He's questionable. My gut feeling is that he probably will be able to go. How long he'll go will be the biggest question because he can't get hit. (The injury) is on his throwing hand. He'll have to get it out quick and not get hit. We won't make the decision to game-time whether he starts or not. I saw him this morning, he shook my hand and his grip is getting better."
On if it would be easier for Griffin to take snaps out of a shotgun formation
"We'll do what we've been doing. We've been running a lot of shotgun so it won't be a big change. Unlike the quarterback (Seattle Seahawks' Matt) Hasselback the other day, it was his left hand, not his right hand. With your right hand, you can put your hand under center and almost take snaps with one hand. You kind of catch the ball with the right hand and the right hnd makes the throw. You really don't need the left. You can even hand off with your right. But when it's your right hand and it's your ligament, that's hard."