Oct. 10, 2011
(On the Miners' 49-42 loss to Houston on Sept. 29)
"We played physical against Houston and we were in really good physical condition. I felt like in the fourth quarter we weren't sucking wind and we were still in the game. We showed good discipline with only two penalties. We played well on offense. Joe Banyard had 240 yards and averaged 10 yards per carry. We did get more first downs than Houston. Our defense had a tough night, however. We're still missing tackles in the last two games we've played, and we're working hard to correct that in practice. We're doing a good job of tackling in special teams, and I think our special teams is playing well. Overall we had our chances and came up a little bit short. If our last pass could've been about three inches higher, we would've tied the game. But that's the way it is in athletics. There's not much difference between winning and losing."
(On the state of the team coming off a 16-day layoff)
"We still believe we have a good team and we have a lot of games left. We're encouraged about the rest of the season. We gave the team the week off without practicing and without pads on. We concentrated on their academics and making sure they were in all of their classes. We had a really good week and no one got hurt, and then on Saturday we had a redshirt freshman [Gage Sharp] dislocate his shoulder. The only way you can be sure that no one gets hurt is by not practicing. It's hard to improve your tackling and blocking by not practicing."
(On the missed tackles against Houston)
"It was probably more of a case of our guys being out of position. We just have to align properly, which we did not do, and we have to go to our responsibility and do our assignment. I thought we just got out-athleted and we were trying to block guys down rather than tackle them. We keep stressing those fundamentals."
(On the team finding its offensive identity against Houston)
"I hope so. I was glad to see Joe [Banyard] get those yards and play better. We still have to do a better job of making people miss when we have the ball. We have created a lot of depth in the offensive line and at the running back position. We still have to work on blitz pick up and blocking and those kinds of things. [Nick] Lamaison hasn't played a whole bunch, but he's still completing 64 percent of his passes. He was a little bit rusty against Houston."
"Their quarterback, Ryan Griffin, is playing wonderful. He was 24 of 30 for 320 yards last week against Syracuse. He brought them back from behind to tie the game, and Syracuse drove late and kicked a field goal to win. Tulane played very well against Syracuse. They have a sophomore running back, Orleans Darkwa, and they named the town after him. His backup, Robert Kelley, is really fast and returns kickoffs for them. They had a receiver, Xavier Rush, make two touchdown catches against Syracuse, and Joe Kemp is their leading wide receiver. They have a big, physical, strong offensive line. Bob Toledo is an excellent coach. He has done a really good job to take that program after Katrina, to recruit to that university, to organize it, to keep the spirit and academics up and continue to play well. They're in every game that they play. He's a really good offensive coach. He has more tricks than Carter has pills. He's a fine man and he has kept the team together through adversity. They're 2-4, but you wouldn't know it from the way they've played. They're going to give us everything they've got. Their three defensive tackles are big strong guys who come off and smack you in the mouth. They are very aggressive and very strong. So their front seven are very good. Their offense and defense are both better than last year. And, as you know, this was a tough game for us last year. It's a big game for both of us. They can get back on the winning track and they beat us twice down there and once here, so we're going to do everything we can to win this game. It's very important. They play well in their stadium. They're a really good football team and we're going to have to play our best to win the game."
(On losing three of the last four games in the Tulane series)
"I don't know why they've been successful against us. Last year's game was close. Trevor [Vittatoe] didn't practice all week, and we practiced the offense with James Thomas as the QB. We made a last second decision to go with Trevor and he was pretty good. But they made some big plays toward the end and won the game. The other two games we were ahead, and in one we went to overtime and lost. We haven't played too well down there. It's a big, beautiful stadium but they don't draw well so it's kind of cavernous. So that's a little different. But I don't know what the difference is. We need to find out."
(On injuries to Matt Camilli and Adam Ayala)
"I think everyone's going to play. Matt's snapping and feeling good, and Adam is practicing. He's not 100 percent, but I think he's going to be able to play."