Sept. 12, 2013
“I am really proud of what we did defensively tonight. I was really proud of the way the defense competed. We were very aggressive with our defense. I thought guys competed for 60 minutes, I was really proud of what they were able to do with some of the struggles and frustrations we were having offensively. We got much more aggressive defensively and put our corners on an island. I thought they did a real good job, outside of a couple plays, tonight. Defensively I thought we did a lot of good things.
“I thought our kicking game was okay. It certainly was not the reason we would have won, and it is certainly not the reason we lost. It was frustrating to get the clip in the back at the end. You put Andrew Guillot out there and he was able to make a play for us.”
“Offensively it was hard to watch. Offensively, I apologize to the people that had to sit there and watch, because it was hard to watch. When you are about 20% on third down, and I do not know what we were throwing the ball, but it certainly was not good. (Tulane) boiled this down to being a man on man game. They gave us a five man front and made every lineman single block in the second half. They went man to man in the passing game and said we are going to ask your quarterback to stand in the pocket and throw it. You are going to have to protect him and throw it and catch it and we were not able to do that tonight. They did the exact same thing on every play in the second half. It was not a mystery, it was not a guess, it was man on man. I give Tulane credit for what they did defensively with their front, but offensively we are not a very good football team.”
“It does not help when you lose Kenneth Dixon, your work horse who is that bigger back. Tevin has done a great job filling in for him but you have to be careful how many times you give the ball to a 160 pound tailback when he has to run it inside all day. We were really limited with how much we were going to be able to give the ball to him. When Scotty was complaining in the second half about his pains in his side and Ryan (Higgins) had to come in, we just really struggled. We turned it over on our end of the field twice, right away in the third quarter. It put our defense in bad field position. We got behind and had to play catch up and could never make anything happen. It was frustrating, but I said it after we won last week, that we are a work in progress and have to get better, and I will certainly say that after tonight. We are a work in progress and we were probably exposed tonight in some one on one situations and we were not able to do enough to help our players get put in a position to win. We were not able to make the plays we needed to, to win.”
“Offensively, it was as disappoint an offensive performance I have been around, and it was hard to watch. It is unfortunate, and I certainly do not want to make this about offense versus defense because everyone in that locker room lost. The defense certainly understands that from what they went through a year ago. We are not going to point fingers and make this an offense versus defense thing because we are going to have to win and lose as a team. It looks like if we are going to win some football games, we might have to score on defense or get a heck of a lot better as an offensive football team.”
Where does it begin with the offensive woes?
“We had a hard time protecting our quarterback. We took a beating tonight both Scotty, when he was in there getting hit every day, and Ryan when he went back in there. The offensive line has got to get better. I think our quarterbacks have got to get better. We had a couple deep ball opportunities, we began the game with a flea flicker and we just over threw it. One of the interceptions we threw in the third quarter we were against man coverage and D.J. Banks had a great release, four yards behind the defense, and we under throw it by ten yards and Tulane intercepts the pass because we are running down the field. We are not good enough as an offensive line, we are not good enough at quarterback. We dropped a touchdown in the end zone that was wide open and uncontested. I think there is plenty to go around. I think as a staff we have to take some ownership too in giving our players a better opportunity to make some of those plays. I think there is some things that we can do better. I am not sitting here pointing at one position. As far as where it starts? I say it was hard to watch because I do not know there was a bright spot on offense outside a couple big plays we hit in the running game.
Why go for a two point conversion rather than kick the extra point in the third quarter?
“We were going to have to go for two either early or late. At least then, if you made the two then you kick it deep because you are in a one score game and you play defense and try to get the ball back. If you go for two, you are going to know when you go for two you, whether you need two possessions or not to kick the onside kick. If you wait until the very end to do that, you do not have that opportunity any more. That is why we went for two. We were down 15 points we had to go for two on the first one or second one and we made the decision to go for two on the first one so we would know If we needed one or two possesions.
What is Scotty Young’s injury status?
“We had no idea at this point. I have not talked to the trainer. They brought him in at halftime to do x-rays. At this point, I have no idea what the injury is.”
What is Kenneth Dixon’s injury status?
“Kenneth tried to play. He went out there and said he feels good, but when you watch him you could see it. He said he was good to go so I put him out there, and he ran hard, but we have other guys that have practiced that are 100 percent. I am not going to do anything to injure Kenneth any further. Once I put him out there and watched him run a little bit. He missed a week of practice and he has never been injured. He has to overcome that mentally as well as physically. I just did not feel it was the right thing to do.
Was there any discussion on playing a third quarterback after Ryan struggled?
“No. At that point there really was not. We have put a really small package together for Paul (Harris), and we should have utilized it. It is just so many little things. It seemed like we finally ran the ball around the end, and we get the two edges cut. The box is screaming “He’s got the corner,” and we did not hand the ball off. Why? I cannot answer that question. We did not hand it, we pulled it and ran the ball up the middle. A lot of little things like that, we are just going to have to get better at. We have got to find a quarterback, because after watching tonight I do not think it is fair to just put it on him because he did make a couple throws and did some good things. He was under constant pressure.
How much of a momentum shift was the fumble deep in Tulane territory?
“We were down eight at that point. I was tempted, even called, to go for it. At first I was thinking let’s go for it and put it in the end zone. I rethought and decided to kick the field goal so we would only be down five. When we come back and score the touchdown, it will be the touchdown that wins it. We had points on the board so we wanted to take them. We just pulled it. I asked what happened and Fischer said he rushed it.
Why did the offense continue to run a zone read?
"It was not just the zone read. We tried to get the ball outside a couple times. There are only so many ways you can hand the ball off in the shotgun. You have to either run it sideways, or in the pistol. The blocking schemes are different though. They are not all just the zone read. We tried to block down one time and miss the three technique on third down. We tried to run an isolation lead play and the tackle did not block down on the three. We were trying a couple different things and it was not just zone read. There were a number of time when we were pulling the ball and we were just supposed to be handing it."
On his early run that almost resulted in a touchdown:
“Most definitely [thought it was a touchdown]. I actually did not know I had gone out of bounds on that play.”
On the offensive struggles:
“It is just a situation where we have to compete. The little things, like coach said, we have to do right. We have to make better plays no matter who is in and no matter what is going on. We just have to make plays at every position.”
On his two fumble recoveries vs. Tulane:
“With the fumble recoveries, Coach said every play run to the ball, and that is what I did. I ran to the ball and good things happened.”
On him maturing over the first three games this season:
“It was a learning process – the NC State game, which was my first game playing and really being out there and playing. I was a little nervous, but it is coming around. I am getting better and better every week and my defense is helping me out a lot for me to make the plays I do make.”
On his frustration with the offensive struggles:
“Everybody is frustrated, but we just have to make plays on both sides of the ball. Everybody has to get better.”
On his early success in his first season at LA Tech:
“From a personal standpoint, yes, it always feels good to perform well. But at the same time, when you have a d-line and back line that is young, but play hard, it is not hard to do.”
On bouncing back from this loss:
“It is always nice to play on TV in front of a national audience, but that is not what it is about. It is about us in that locker room. Give it up to Tulane. They played well. They played a good game, but it is about us and doing the things we need to do to win. Nobody is going to play a perfect game, but we have to get better.”
On the mood in the locker room following the game:
“It is like a storm just came through; no one really wants to talk. But we have to hold our heads up and move on to the next. If you think about this game going into the next, the same thing will happen. We have to get better.”
On the defensive line’s performance:
“It is easy. They move the offensive line for me. They do what they are supposed to do. They do not complain. They do not look back when they don’t get a tackle. They just want to play ball, and when you have guys like that in front of you that are unselfish and want to do what is best for the team, it makes everything great.”
On putting pressure on Tulane’s quarterback Nick Montana:
“Not to take anything from him because he played a good game, but again, it is about us and the little things we do not do right when you are supposed to be press-coverage or off or man-coverage or inside the receiver and you are outside; things like that happen. He played a great game and completed good passes and hats off to him.”
On Tulane’s running game breaking some long runs:
“Missed assignments; not being in the right position at the right time. The front seven, we have to get that fixed. Those are things we cannot have if you want to win a ball game. It is the front seven and it starts with me getting the guys lines up and making sure they know what to do.”
On his fumble recovery in the fourth quarter possibly shifting momentum:
“We thought we were going to get it in on that one, but things happen. You have to keep playing ball. Our offense fought tonight and I am proud of them. I know it might sound weird to say, but I am proud of them. They did not quit and they will get better.”
On what he said to the team postgame:
“I told the guys to keep fighting. This is my fifth year and I have been on the other side of the ball where the defense could not stop the offense from scoring. Now, since the defense is playing pretty well, we are not going to look down on them. We want them to keep fighting and keep pushing. That is what I was telling them.”
On picking up slack when the offense is having trouble during games:
“It means a lot to the team. That is what you want – great leaders – especially on defense because defense wins games. That is what usually happens.”
On being relied on when offense is not clicking as opposed to last season:
“It is good that we are playing like this, but I still feel like we need to make more plays.”
Curtis Johnson, Tulane Head Coach
How everything came together for the win?
“Defensively we played turned it around from last week. Louisiana Tech played a good game, I thought they’re running back was good, they’re quarterback played well, we just played a little better.”
There were a lot of miscues with 5 sacks and the punt team struggled. Was it closer than it should have been?
“Here’s what happened, sometimes you’re going to have games like that. Sometimes you’re going to have some miscues, sometimes you’re going to make some big mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes, but I think we’re getting better, we addressed the defense, and it got better. We’re going to address the turnovers and get better next week, and hopefully come back next week with a victory.”
On Rod Kelly:
“Oh yeah, monster night. Rod’s been playing well all this time since we’ve been here. He’s one of the main-state guys that, and I thought Orleans played well also. Those guys carried us at the end of the game.”
Their first string quarterback was out of the game. Did that help the defense keep the momentum against their second string quarterback?
“Anytime you knock the starter out of the game, you’re going to play well against the guy who hasn’t taken as many snaps. That quarterback was very capable and had some nice long runs, so he played well also.”
Cairo Santos had a huge field goal.
“Cairo is one of those guys who is very, very consistent. I wish our whole team was as consistent as Cairo because he’s consistent. He said he could make it and he did.”