Louisiana Tech Weekly Press Conference Transcript: Sept. 9


 

 

Sept. 9, 2013

RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech head football coach Skip Holtz and select student-athletes spoke with the media Monday in advance of Thursday's game against Tulane at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.

Head coach Skip Holtz

Opening Comments:

"Just starting to look back and recap Lamar from last week. Again, I said this in the press conference afterwards, but I want to thank the student body. I thought they were absolutely awesome. It has been a long time since I have been to a home game at an on-campus stadium. When they first told me that we were going to have to move over to the opposite side of the press box because of the Conference USA rule with the student body and the visiting team, I thought, `Well, we were going to be standing in the sun, we got to deal with the chains, we were across from the press box.' After having had the opportunity to sit in front of the student body, it is great to have to have them there, their passion, their enthusiasm, they made a lot of noise. I thought they created a great atmosphere for our team being on those sidelines."

"So I just want to thank the student body and everybody that came out, from the players walk, walking through the crowd and to the excitement and the passion in our fan base was really neat to see."

"On the field, it is always exciting to win. It beats the heck out of the alternative, which we had to experience in the first one. I talked to the team about when you lose a football game, you only get that bad feeling out of your body by going out there and winning. And we could not do that until 9:30 on Saturday night. I was really proud of the way this team played. I think we improved in a lot of areas. We are certainly not where we want to be yet. As I said before, we are a work in progress but, we are certainly moving in the right direction with some of the things that went on Saturday night."

 

 

"I look on the defensive side of the ball. I think our defensive line is playing really well right now. We really challenged our defensive line because we tried to protect our secondary a little bit more than we did at NC Sate. We went into NC State with four out of five players in the back end being new starters. And we tried to protect them a little bit more with a lot more zone coverage in this game trying to keep the ball in front of us."

"I thought our defensive front played excellent. IK Enemkpali and Vontarrious Dora off the edges were forces because we did not do a lot of blitzes. We tried to rush with four players. We had four sacks with a four-man rush. I thought those guys did a nice job on the edges, along with Kendrick James and Kevin Kisseberth. Inside, I thought Justin Ellis did a nice job. Vernon Butler did a nice job and Shakeil Lucas. We have some depth up there and we talked about that being one of the strengths of our football team. I think it showed up Saturday night with the way they played because we did not give them a lot f help and they did a nice job."

"Probably the most improvement from game one to game two was in the secondary. I thought Levander Liggins played an excellent football game. He got his hands on and he had the one interception in the end zone. I told him if we could have caught the ball or hang on to the ball, we would have had two more and he would have had a three-interception day. I thought he had an outstanding night and really did a nice job."

"Adairius Barnes had an opportunity to step in and played really well. I thought the three safeties, Xavier Woods is showing to be mature way beyond his years as a true freshman who is out there playing and not just playing but doing some great things. He is all over the field. He knows football as far as assignments, containment, where he is supposed to go, how he fits. He has got a great grasp of the defense."

"I think Kentrell Brice and Lloyd Grogan are playing really well for us now, but those are the guys who are emerging as the five guys in the back end. A lot of good things on defense. I wish we could have given up or taken back the 62 yard touchdown pass and without that you hold them to under 300 yards. And I thought for a team that scored 75 points in the opening game, I was really proud of the way our defense played and the progress they made from week one."

"On the offensive side of the ball, it was nice to see Tevin King going up and down the field after the long year he has been through, the adversity he has been through coming off a knee injury and having to wait a whole year to get back on the field again. He gets on the field at NC State and had a disappointing two fumbles, but I thought he came in energized and ready to go. Mentally, he overcame an awful lot and a lot of big people kind of made a big deal during the week about how much you emphasize fumbles, so they are not too conscious about it. But I think Coach Juluke did a great job with the running backs and they did a nice job of protecting the ball and ran extremely well."

"Tevin King having 182 yards or 185 yards did a great job. The offensive line did a great job up front. It was great to see Jeremy Graffree, who is coming back from his injury and with his sixth year. Mitchell Bell, the newcomer at right tackle, I thought played very well. Matt Shepperd, one of the captains, I thought had kind of a leadership game. Jens Danielsen the left guard or left tackle, as a young guy I thought stepped in and played and is getting better as did Larry Banks at left guard."

"I think a lot of guys played really well up front. Scotty Young continues to take care of the football. Knock on wood, but this is two games without an interception. I think there are some areas for improvement we can make, but two games into it I think he is doing a nice job of running the offense. There are a couple more plays I would like to see him be able to make down the field, but for the most part he is really doing a good job of giving our team an opportunity to win."

"At the wide receiver position it was not one of our better games, as we had five drops in this football game, and we did not have any in the first one. I thought D.J. Banks did a nice job at wide receiver with the way he competed. How do you not talk about Andrew Guillot and Hunter Lee and Jon Greenwalt with what they are doing at the receiving corners? They are football players. When you look at them, people may think this guy is taller, faster, stronger or whatever that may be, but I think they definitely give adage to the statement that you can evaluate a man's heart. I think they have huge hearts and they just compete their tails off and I am proud of what they did."

"Probably the biggest improvement from game one to game two was the kicking. To see Logan McPherson, who averaged 36 yards a punt and I do not know that he had one over 40 yards at NC State. To see him average 43 yards a kick in this game, and that includes a 30 yarder he had, but I thought he punted the ball really well."

"Not only did he punt the ball well, but he stepped in when Conner Smith, who was diagnosed with a staph infection Saturday morning, left the hotel to go to the hospital. And Logan McPherson had to step in and do the holding duties. He did a great job stepping in, as did Darrell Travis when Josh Cuthbert went out on the first play - very first punt - with an elbow injury. I thought Darrell Travis stepped in and did an excellent job as a backup snapper. They always say nobody knows who the snapper is until you have a bad one. Well, Josh has been doing it for so long you really do not worry about that. It something you take for granted, but Darrell Travis went in and kind of put everybody at ease."

"I thought Kyle Fischer really did a nice job for a redshirt freshman. He made his first collegiate field goal since he had two PAT's at NC State, and he made two of them and did a really great job. It is nice to see the improvement, but we are certainly not where we need to be. We are not where we are going to be, but I do think we are making some progress and making some strides."

"Tulane is this week. I call it rivalry week. When you look at a school like Tulane and being just a few hours away, they are one of the closest teams that we are going to have the opportunity to play from a geographical standpoint. Even though we have only played seven and a half times in our school's histories, even though we have not played that much, I think it does have an opportunity to be a huge rivalry game because of where we are. I know there are a lot of people who have emotions in this game."

"I know coach Juluke being from the New Orleans area and with a lot of his ties to New Orleans and to this staff, I know there are some on our team that have played with guys that are at Tulane, I know D.J. Banks transferred from Tulane. There are a lot of relationships that are interwoven into this geographically rivalry that we have. I am excited to have the opportunity."

"I am excited to play at home. I look at this Tulane team and they return eight starters on offense. Their quarterback's last name is Montana. Enough said with that. They have a very explosive wide receiver who had 14 catches for 178 yards last week alone. He has more catches than anybody else on our roster and he did that in one football game."

"I think their offensive line is big and they execute the running back situation by committee. They will play four, up to five, running backs and they give you a lot of different sets. They will go from a pro type, two backs, pro-style offense to no backs in the backfield and spread out. They will play with tight ends, no tight ends. A lot of different personnel groups, a lot of things for our defense to get ready for in a short week."

"On the defensive side of the ball, they only return four starters on it, but they have two DB's. Their corners were both freshman all-conference players a year ago that are both back and very talented corners that give them the opportunity to lock up and play man coverage. Their free safety is their leading tackler, not because he is the last line of defense but because he plays rolled up downhill. They are very aggressive style of defensive play, a lot of pressure and movement. They are not a team that is going to sit still and let you know where they are going to be. They do a lot of movement and different things and I think they are getting better and better in their second year. They have a defensive tackle that is a transfer from LSU. He was a five-star recruit, very talented, big, strong and physical."

"This football team is definitely going to look the part. As a defense, they have six interceptions in two games which is an awful lot. When you look at us, we have two in two games and they have created six interceptions in two games, which speaks to the volume of confusion that they give you and aggressiveness that they bring."

"Somebody told me today Louisiana Tech is the youngest team in the country. When you are looking at the youth we have on our team, I am proud of the way we have competed, but when I say we are a work in progress, we cannot take anything for granted. With it being a short work week, this is going to have to be something we wedge a lot into a little bit at a time in order to get this done."

"I think with this being our first Conference USA game and the excitement and energy from our fan base, our players, our coaches, our administration, having the opportunity to play in Conference USA this is a game that a lot of people have had starred on their calendar. Not just because it is Tulane, but because it does kick off our first game in Conference USA."

"The second thing is we are 0-7 as a program against Tulane. When you look at it, I think just it having to be a conference game with a lot of the ties that go on between the two teams, and knowing as a program we have never beat Tulane, creates an awful lot of incentive for our program in getting ready for this game. Excited it is going to be on national television, Thursday night, Fox Sports 1. We are excited that we are going to have the opportunity to play it here at home in front of our student body and our fan base. I encourage everybody to come out. It ought to be a great atmosphere and it ought to be a great night. We are looking forward to it."

On what Scotty Young needs to do to take it to the next level:

"Being as young as we are, we have called games very conservatively. We have not asked Scotty to throw it way down the field an awful lot because it is one of those one's where you have a young quarterback you want to get him started fast. You want to make sure you give him a couple of completions, throwing a bubble screen, the little slip screen, give him some confidence before you ask his first experience being throwing the ball down the field and not having success. And I felt like it was really important for his confidence that he can have some success and confidence going into this football game."

"In this game we will start to open up the game plan a little bit more. We've got to stretch the ball down the field more often than we have to this point, but I feel like it's there. I think Tony Peterson has done a great job as the quarterback coach and the coordinator of putting him into position to have success and I think they are baby steps. We have to make sure we take them accordingly. Hopefully, with this being a conference game with everything on the line when you get into conference games, it is definitely something we will have to open up more of."

On whether Scotty Young missed some open guys when evaluating the Lamar film:

"Probably some reads. I am not going to necessarily say. At NC State, he had D.J. Banks open down the sideline on a double move. We just missed it. Then one of the reads we had an opportunity to score a big play down the field. Didn't really have a lot of those against Lamar with what they did. We didn't have a lot of opportunities to throw it way down the field, but we just got to keep getting better with our reads. There were a couple third downs that he is throwing the ball into the flat where I felt like his read maybe took him a little more inside and did not gave us a better opportunity to get the first down."

"But it is one of those things that if you are unsure you can put it in the easy completion or, as I have said before, I am always open. Nobody ever covers me. So if you ever want to just throw the ball over there and say we have an opportunity to punt, that is not a bad play. I think there were some reads where we can get a little bit better, but I give him a lot of credit for what he has done to this point in protecting the football."

On Kenneth Dixon's injury and the depth chart at running back:

"Kenneth Dixon came in. He did not have a lot of swelling. This is what I talked about after the game, because you do not know how it is going to swell which is going to tell you a lot about maybe some of the internal injuries. Then we had to do the X-rays and the MRI and everything else to see if there is a bone chip or something in there that is going on. To this point, everything has been negative. We got the MRI today. We will get the results later this afternoon. He will not practice this afternoon. He has had a knee brace but not a lot of swelling. I would list him right now as questionable. I really do not know. I think in the next couple of days we will learn a lot. We will have a much better idea on whether or not he is going to be able to go out there and practice tomorrow and run around on it. With it being a short week, it is going to make it an awful lot harder."

"When you look at the hit on film, he is very fortunate that he is not in surgery with a nine-month rehab ahead of him. I think if he wasn't as strong as he was, I think that may have happened to him. It was an ugly injury, but yet he has really come out of it. I have been really impressed with Kenneth's durability because he is so big and strong. I know if somebody can come back from it, it will be him. I know he wants to play. I know he is eager to play, but I think it will give him a lot of comfort and peace of mind when we get that MRI result back and he knows that he is not doing damage to it by trying to push through it."

On Tevin King's reaction when Kenneth Dixon went down with injury vs. Lamar:

"I didn't see Tevin in particular when it happened. I saw Kenneth. That is who I was watching on the field. Then he got up and and jogged off. I was trying to figure out whether he just took a helmet on the shin, on the knee cap, was it just a bad bruise or the ankle because I did not have a great look because of it being on the far sideline. I saw the big hit. I just could not see the direction it put pressure on his knee."

"I did not have a chance to see Tevin for that, but I was really proud of the way Tevin bounced back. I say bounced back, but not just from what happened to Kenneth Dixon, but from what happened to him a week ago where he was waiting a year to get back on the football game and he gets into it and puts the ball on the ground twice. He realizes and knows that if he puts the ball on the ground, he is not going to get the opportunity to carry it again."

"I thought he went out there and did not play tight. He did not play conservative. He played loose and that is why I give Coach Juluke and him both a lot of credit for how they overcame that adversity and how they handled it mentally."

On Scotty Young's passing ability downfield:

"Looking downfield does not necessarily mean to take chances. I just think every quarterback needs to know there is a margin for error. For some people, it is going to be a margin for error with accuracy where if you can throw a grenade in the area and not hurt anybody, then you can throw it. There are others that have a lot tighter window that have the arm strength and accuracy to be able to put it in there. I think every quarterback kind of has to identify and find his range and what his margin for error is."

"For right now with Scotty, like I said, being a young, inexperienced quarterback and going out there and feeling this way, I do not want him going out there, have a four-turnover day and go force it. I would much rather be doing it the way he is doing it. Even though it may slow us down a little bit as an offense, I made the comment midseason that if we were going to win this season, we are going to have to win a lot different than we did a year ago. We are not going to be able to score 60 points a game, go up and down the field and have the explosive offense with nine starters gone and most of those guys going to the NFL."

"If we were going to win this year, we were going to put more pressure on our defense. We were going to have to do it a different way. We are going to have to put pressure on our defensive line and keep the ball in front of us and not give up a lot of points and play a little bit of a ball-control offense until we can get these players a little bit more experience. For Scotty right now, I think he is getting there. I think with every game, he gets a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more of the speed under himself."

"I think this is an important game for the conference and then we have two more non-conference games. Hopefully by the end of the year, we are full-slate going into conference games, we will be able to open much more of the playbook and feel much more comfortable with him taking a bunch of shots down the field."

On what the wide receivers can improve on going forward:

"We can block a little bit better. I thought the receivers did an okay job blocking, but we have to definitely get better there. The other way they can help this offense is by going up and making plays. You are going to have a drop. Watch the NFL and there are drops. There are going to be drops. You do not like them, but the way I have always said it is that if you are going to drop a ball, you need to go catch one you should not have gotten. You have to go take one away in a jump-ball situation. You have to go lay out and make a one-handed catch. You have to go catch a ball you should not get."

"Right now, we have five drops, but we do not have five circus catches. That is what we have to be able to do to balance out some of the drops and that is what we have to do as an offense. We have to make some plays and be more productive, especially at wide receiver. If you are going to throw the ball 30 times a game, you need some guys to give you some help."

On preparing for Tulane on a short week:

"Losing two days is not only game-plan preparation at this time, but it is practice time. It is having the opportunity to get your game plan ready. We knew this was on the schedule. They did not announce this Saturday. We knew this was coming. This was something that we did our scouting report on Tulane like it was the opening game of the year over the summer. We took all the games from last year, broke them down and looked at their tendencies. We put an actual game plan together for this game, so when we came in Sunday morning, we pulled it out and there was the Tulane game plan. We already had it done, so we watched the first two games and see what they did to see if we wanted to tweak it or change it in any way, shape or form."

"Really, we have had the game plan. It is not so much that. It is being able to practice that game plan. Typically, this is our day off, but we are back out there on the practice field and we will have pads on today, so there is going to be a quick turn-around. We have to be careful that we give our players enough time to get the game plan down and execute it. We also have to make sure we do not do too much. If I am going to do too much, I would rather do too much early in the week than later in the week. I know it is going to be a quick turnaround for our players and we are asking a lot out of them, but we will be able to take a little bit more off of them later in the week just trying to polish it off, and that is why we are going in pads today."

On whether Kenneth Dixon will play Thursday considering how well Tevin King played versus Lamar:

"I think it will be more of a medical decision. I am not going to do anything more to play Kenneth if we are in danger of a higher-percentage significant injury. If we are going to put him in danger, then I do not want to play them. Tevin King is a very good running back and we have seen a little of Blake Martin and Marlon Seets, and I have really been proud of the way those guys have come along from spring ball and camp."

"I feel like we have three running backs now that have the opportunity to play with if Kenneth cannot go. I will say this. Kenneth is special. If he can play, and I know he is going to want to play, and is healthy and can go, it will be a thing where he can either go or he cannot. I am not going to make the predication based on who else is there. I want to make sure he has the chance to be healthy."

On holding Tevin King back considering he is coming off a season-ending injury in 2012:

"No, not really. If Tevin can go, he can carry the ball every time, but that is why we have Marlon Seets and Blake Martin, who can help take some of the workload off Tevin. But, if you are the starting tailback, you are going to have a workload put on top of you. We have to be careful that we do not take a guy like Tevin King, who is 160 pounds and pound him five weeks in a row and give him the ball 30 times a game. We have to be careful at how we give him the ball and that we are not just trying to pound the ball through the tackles."

On starting Conference USA-play on the right foot:

"I think it is important. You play your non-conference games, in all honesty, to gain experience because your conference is what it is all about. That is what you are playing for. You want a conference championship, and every team in Conference USA has those conference games highlighted. They are a little bit different. We want to win the non-conference games, but those conference games have a residual effect on them that they carry every week with you."

"The non-conference game will go in your win-loss record, but it does not have anything to do with being a conference champion. For us right now, it is a game that starts and we want to play well. We have played two games and I am happy we did not start the season with a conference opener. It would not bother me if we had two more non-conference games before we had to play this with all the youth we have and inexperience we have, but this is what we have. I think our players are excited and I am excited to get out on the field. There is a little bit extra pep in everyone's step this week. That is how it always works when you have the opportunity to play a Conference game."

On the LA Tech defensive line:

"There are a lot of ways to neutralize a defensive line. We talked about earlier in the week how Lamar was going to throw the ball quick with bubbles, screens and to get the ball out of his hands - things where every one of your offensive linemen can get a minus. A defensive lineman can come through to the quarterback, make him get rid of it and still have the chance to make yards."

"I am sure [Tulane] will have a lot of that in their game plan. It is kind of like when you are good at kickoff returns, they do not kick it to you anymore. They pooch it to you. You have to adjust to that. That is one of the things we will have to get ready for all year. People are going to put on film and know that our defensive line is pretty talented and let's make sure we have a plan in place where we can go to where we have to block them. That is where I think Kim Dameron, Coach Eggen and the defensive staff do a great job game-planning and calling the game to make sure we are covering things down and trying to take those quick throws away from them where they have to hold it and throw the ball down the field."

On the defensive scheme/secondary versus Lamar:

"We played a lot of zone in this game. I talked about four of five guys in the secondary that are new. At NC State with their running game, tight ends and wings, we kind of had to load the box and put our young secondary on an island. I think they really showed up this game. We really tried to protect our secondary much more and keep the ball in front of us. I thought the emergence of the defensive line - four sacks with rushing four people is a huge advantage when you can do something like that. I think all that goes into third down. Our staff did a great job with the first down calls. I thought our defense did a great job of going out and executing and making some plays on third down."

"We have the radio show at the Dawghouse tonight and tonight we have walk-on tryouts. Someone asked me about that a week ago. Hopefully we are going to have the opportunity to add a number of players to create a little bit more depth on our football team, so we will be able to announce those probably soon."

Running Backs coach Jabbar Juluke

On facing Tulane:

"It is ironic, because I actually signed a national letter of intent to play at Tulane coming out of high school. Coach Johnson is my cousin and it is exciting to play against those guys. Dave Johnson is the running backs coach at Tulane and he is a very dear friend of mine. It is exciting for those guys and for some guys I coached in high school that play for Tulane. Jordan Sullen starts at corner back for Tulane, and Matthew Bailey as well. I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to coach against those guys."

On whether there is any extra incentive to win against those guys:

"I just love football, I do not care who I am playing against. Having that connection is important but I am a competitor and I want to win so every game is the same intensity for me."

On the recruiting Impact of Thursday's game:

"Whenever you go to another team's hometown to recruit, you have to have something that you have done recently against that team. For us being 0-7 against Tulane, means this is a very important game for us to win to down there and get some leverage and some football players. I am excited for the opportunity for us to go out there and do that. I want to make a good showing for Louisiana Tech football."

On fixing the fumble problem:

"We always talk about the next play. I tell my running backs that you have to have a short memory, for the good things and the bad things. You have to look forward to playing the next play. I told them to go out there and have fun and do what comes naturally to you. This coming up week we have to forget how well Tevin King played, because that was last week and we have to move forward. Our group is very competitive and we want to make sure we compete at the highest level. We are very supportive of one another. When King, Dixon, Marlon, or Blake is running the ball we are always rooting for them to do a great job for us."

On what makes Kenneth Dixon so durable:

"His work ethic. He loves the weight room. He has a great enthusiasm for the game of football. Football for us is controlled violence but he loves to play violent football. He has to work hard to take care of his body. He has to treat himself to make sure he is durable enough to play. He is constantly preparing himself to play football."

On whether there has been any trash talk between the two programs about the game:

"No sir, we are focusing in, I have my phone turned off. I am just glad we are playing Ruston and not New Orleans because I would not have been able to get enough tickets to get everybody in. It is a Thursday night in Ruston so they are not driving up. Those guys are friends of mine. Like I said, me and David Johnson coached together at O. Perry Walker High School and it is funny, because I got him into coaching football and he wound up being the head coach at my alma mater St. Augustine High School. They are good friends and I love those guys, but when we get between those lines it is about winning for the red and blue."

On Tevin King's reaction to Kenneth Dixon's injury:

"I am extremely proud of what Tevin was about to do. Tevin fumbled the ball twice at NC State and coming back from an injury himself and then seeing his best friend and roommate go down with an injury in the fourth quarter. I told him that this was football and it is a violent game where injuries will occur. You need to go out there and play as well as you are capable of playing and give your all for your teammate because if he was out there, he would be doing the same thing for you. When Tevin was injured Dixon was there with him every day for treatment. Those two are unique and special not just on the football field, but off as well and they are very supportive of each other. They are brothers and they love what they do. They compliment each other very well. Tevin was down but I told him he still has to play, and he was able to go out there and preform extremely well for us and I am proud of him for doing those things."

On the benefits of having two players so close:

"It is extremely important, but it is not just those two it is all five of those guys including walk-on Boston Scott. We are a unit, and when one plays well, we all play well. We want to make sure we are competing every day in practice against ourselves, because if you are not preforming well, you are going to come sit next to me. Those guys understand that and are very hard working men. I tell them all the time that I love them. I appreciate the opportunity to coach them and giving me the opportunity to be out there with them, pushing them to a whole new level. I am proud of that."

Senior wide receiver D.J. Banks

On his feelings playing against Tulane, his former team:

"I am really excited for the opportunity to play Tulane. I am just approaching it like any other week. I take it step by step and I am going out and practicing hard. I am excited for every game, it just happens to be Tulane this week."

On whether he has received many texts and phone calls this week from old friends:

"I try and stay away from that. I have not really gotten any messages. I am trying not to get caught up in the media. I am just trying to stay focus on the game."

On what the wide receivers can do to help Scotty Young:

"As receivers we have to do our job, and do what the coaches ask us to do. Each position is a different piece of the puzzle. When everybody is doing their job, then it is going to make a beautiful picture. We are just going to focus on us. We are going to block hard and when we are asked to make a play, we are going to make a play."

On whether he feels any extra incentive to win versus Tulane:

"Everyone has a good attitude going into conference play. We just keep working hard every day. We have bought in to what the coach is doing and we are going to stay focused and stay positive because we know good things are going to come."

On how important it is to send the rest of the conference a message in the first C-USA game:

"It is very important. Opening up this week, we want to send a message that we are Louisiana Tech, and we are here. We are happy to be a part of this conference and we are going to be a great competitor in this conference."

On his feelings on teams kicking away from him:

"I guess they just do not want to kick it to me. I really do not like that, but if they are going to kick it away, that is just going to give another guy an opportunity. We believe in everybody we have back there, where that is me or Lyle Fitte or whoever that may be."

On his thoughts on the student section:

"It is a great feeling walking into the stadium and seeing all your classmates, colleagues, and friends out there screaming and hollering. There was just a lot of energy here in the stadium this past weekend. We are really appreciative of the fan base and the community and everybody that supported us."

On how it would feel to get first win over Tulane for the program and personally:

"It would be great. It would make me feel good. This is just another step though. It does not matter if it is Tulane or anyone else in this conference. We just want to win every game, and it just happens to be Tulane this week."

Senior defensive lineman Justin Ellis

On Tulane QB Nick Montana:

"Nick has a strong arm. He is a great quarterback that makes great decision. He releases the ball quickly and he is fast enough to get a first down."

On the play of the defensive line:

"Every week we come in with the same mindset, to be disruptive. That is the mindset we are coming in with this week."

On the defense as a whole versus Lamar:

"I think we played well but we still have room for improvement. Defensive line did well, but we still have room for improvement. The back side did well, but they still have room for improvement."

On the biggest change the defense made from week 1 to week 2:

"I think we played more together. I think everyone kept their head high and their feet on the ground to keep fighting."

On being able to apply pressure only rushing four:

"I think it was a great thing that the coaches believed in us, that we could play well enough to help the secondary out."

On the origin of his nickname (Jelly Bean):

"My freshman year of high school I played varsity. My defensive coordinator, Coach Thompson, gave me the name. I do not know why he called me Jelly Bean but it stuck with me and everybody calls me Jelly Bean."

On the maturation of defensive players Vontarrius Dora and Vernon Butler:

"They have improved so much. They bring a difference skill set to the team. They are both ball hawks. They are both quick of the ball and good with their hands. It has been a big help for all of us."

On head coaching changes in his Tech career, but with the same position coach (Eggen):

"Coach Stan Eggen is a great coach and we have been blessed to have him. With him being in the system through the same three coaches it has helped us to stay consistent with the same coaching style. When you switch up you are forced to learn someone else's coaching style. Having coach Eggen has been big for us."

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