Transcript from Tulane Head Coach Curtis Johnson's Tuesday Teleconference
On how the team has adjusted to the travel-
"I think this is just like a field trip. It's just that time of year and hurricanes come every year and we just have to adjust to the best of our ability. It wasn't too bad. We had an early practice yesterday morning. After, everyone got dressed after lunch, we drove up to Birmingham. It's been pretty good with some nice hospitality."
On a contingency plan about Saturday's game-
"Right now everything is on (as planned). The hurricane hasn't hit yet, so we are just planning just like everything is going to go along without a hitch. We just have to drive (back to New Orleans) in the next couple of days and figure how we are playing or when we are playing. Until the hurricane actually hit, we can't figure out what is going on with the power outages and damage that is done. We really don't know what is going on. We are still planning on playing Saturday night."
On if there are advantages of getting out of town and having no classes and keeping the team together-
"I think I have done this once before when I was with the Saints and we went to (Indianapolis). I thought it was a good deal, just because there was no worrying and...it was like a home atmosphere. It was safe, we were around the guys and we didn't worry about guys going out and doing anything foolish. We were around (everyone) and it was almost like a field trip, like I said earlier, and it was a good feeling and almost like a team bonding experience. I guess that's one of the biggest advantages and everyone is safe, which is the most important things.
On having kids from New Orleans that have been through hurricane evacuations before-
"The majority of our team is from New Orleans, but I would say that most of our guys have been through this a time or two. Our guys were talking about the hotel and the accommodations being comparative to the last time they were here. I think in the last (few) years, they have been (to Birmingham) four or five times. I think they have adjusted and it another day at the park. This is just a little bit of adversity that we are going to get through."
On the challenges of preparing for Rutgers-
"I think that offensively, Rutgers is big and physical and their offensive line is tremendous. They run the pile, they run the zone and the lead. They are going to try to run (the ball). Defensively, they are fast. I worked with (former head coach) Greg Schiano at the University of Miami and this defense is a blueprint of what he did at Miami. They have a lot of speed on defense and they play great on special teams. I think their special teams are exceptional and I expect to see (the same on Saturday). They are a well-coached team, a good team that is very well (coached)...and I think their team is a really good team."
On what worries him the most about Rutgers-
"Offensively, it would be their big offensive line and how they are able to run the ball. They run the ball as good as anyone in the country. Defensively, it has to be their overall team speed. I think they are a fast team, those linebackers are good and disciplined...I think they are going to be fine on defense. We can't just let the special teams dominate. (Special teams) is a big part of their game, their special teams are great. All three phases really worry me, especially since I haven't (coached) a game yet. I am eager to play the game but I know it is going to be a tough opponent."
On what kind of crowd he is expecting on Saturday-
"We really don't know. I hope that it is a good crowd and that the (Superdome) is pretty much packed and rocking and that our fans come out and support us. We traditionally haven't had great crowds, but I anticipate that people want to come out and see a new product. So I hope that they come out and support us."
On Tuesday's practice and what type of surface they practice on-
"Practice was good. Early on it rained and we practiced on a turf field. What we did was do some walk-throughs in a gymnasium, we got to stretch and walk-through some offense, defense and special teams, and by the time we got outside to practice it was nice. There was a good breeze and it was cooler than usual. The turf was good. It is the same type of turf that we play on at the Superdome. The guys were running around and kind of rejuvenated. They are a little tiered of the heat and humidity, so it was a good practice. I thought we had a great practice today.
On starting quarterback Ryan Griffin-
"I think Ryan Griffin has had a tremendous camp. He has been one of the biggest surprises (for me). When I initially took the job and I saw him on tape I thought he was just average, but I think he is exceptional now. He runs the offense really well and he does what we ask him to do. He throws the ball with tremendous accuracy and he keeps us in a good place and out of the bad places. Sometimes he does the best coaching job for us. I think his experience has really helped him. He knows what to do and he knows what he is looking for and has done a great job thus far."
On what he thinks about Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova-
"I thought he was a good player (last year), but, again, I think they really lean on their run. I think that their running game will help him a lot. I think he is good and I know he is competing with another guy...and I think that both of those guys can be successful because they are so big (on the offensive line) and they have great running backs. The quarterback, I don't think they expect him to win the game for them because there are guys around them that can (make plays).
On his personal anticipation for the season opener-
"I am really excited for the coaches and kids, more than I am for myself. I think these kids want to get on the field and express something good. We have had adversity throughout this year and it is time of them to play against some else. It is a new system and they have embraced that system and the city is really starting to fall behind these guys. They have worked their butts off all spring and they work in the summer, all of those guys were here all summer long, and I am excited for them just to play against somebody else to see how well they can do. I think that is my biggest excitement."
On the adjustments the team has made without two of their major contributors from last season-
"I think the team feels it is unfortunate. Orleans ran today and looked pretty good today, so I don't know what is going to happen. If he can do something in the next couple of days he might be ready for Saturday. The situation with Trent (Mackey) is what it is. I think the guys understand it and feel it was a tough blow, but they welcome any challenge. We coach them like that. It's the 'Next Man Up" mentality. We are not an excuse football team...and it is unfortunate, but we have to play. Some other guys have stepped up. Zach Davis has been great and the other two linebackers, Matthew Bailey – I though he was the best linebackers going into and coming out of spring camp – has had a great camp and Darryl Farley's done a great job also. So at (linebacker) we are pretty solid. I think Austen (Jacks) has done a great job with leadership, he leads by example and freshman Darion Monroe, I can't speak enough about him, he is a leader and he does a little bit of everything. (Monroe) reminds me a little of Ed Reed.
|< Prev||Next >|