Nov. 23, 2010
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -
Opening Statement: Just to reflect real quickly on the SMU game, obviously we didn't play very well. We just didn't get it done. We didn't follow the plan to win like we did the last three weeks, therefore the results were what they were.
This Tulane team we are getting ready to play is a scary team. They go to Rutgers and beat them; two weeks ago they beat a Rice team that just put up 60 on East Carolina. Bob Toledo, who I have great respect for, said earlier this week that if they can find a way to win this game, it would be the most wins for him at Tulane. I am sure they will come in here and be well prepared and getting ready to play.
We have a great group of seniors who laid a foundation for what this program is built on. We talk about our captians, Lee Smith, Brain Anderson and Mario Harvey, they are three great seniors. It is important to the staff, me and the players that we send these guys out on a good note. We have to have a great week of preparation and I know we will.
On the practice schedule for Thanksgiving weekend:
The schedule is the same, we won't change anything. The only thing we will change is to go a little earlier on Thursday. We will have a team meal around noon or so, and then the local guys can go home and have Thanksgiving with their families at night. Other than that, everything will be exactly the same.
On knowing this is the last game of the season:
It is hard as a senior, when you are in school, you never think this time will come, and then it is there. We have some great kids and some great seniors who have invested a lot in this university. Lee Smith, Brian Anderson and all of these guys have giving their lives to this university. The greatest time of your life is when you are in college. When we were there, we didn't realize it at the time, but once you have to go out and get a job, you start to cherish the four or five years you got to spend there. These kids have appreciated everything that Marshall University has done for them whether it be academic or athletics.
It is a sad day when it is your last day. Most of these guys have played midget league football since they were about seven years old. They are finally going to realize that this is going to be the last football game for 99.9 percent of them. A couple of these guys will have an opportunity to play on, but for the majority of them, this will be the last football game they get to play. It's hard. You work 16 or 17 years of your life to play football, and then it is over just like that.
On Tulane's offense:
They are a power football team and they are going to run the ball right at you. They have a freshman running back [Orleans Darkwa] that is a very good player. They run a lot of trick plays. They have a great coach and a very good football team. If we have any chance of winning this game we have to stop the run. They are going to come out and run the football, there is no question about that.
On his thoughts about Conference USA competition:
It is an excellent conference. I think there are teams in this conference that could go into the Big East and the ACC and play. It is a very competitive conference. The Southern Miss, Central Florida and the Houston's of the league have just as good of athletes as they do in the Big East. I think the quickest way to compete to win this conference is to play great defense. I know we are fourth in the conference defensively, so I think we can make major strides in that area. It is a wide open conference with the exception of a couple of teams. You better have athletic linebackers and an athletic defense to be able to match up with the offensives you face in this conference.
Will you change your approach at all and play younger players this weekend?
No, we are going to play to win the football game. All the young guys are playing anyways. Can you get much younger than us unless you bring in some high school players? I think our defensive line last week was all freshmen.
On Tulane's defense and how they have 21 takeaways:
They create turnovers. They are well coached and they get after you. The strength of their team is that they are tough and well coached. They get after you and they run the football. We are going to have to stop the run.
On Marshall's run game:
They are all nicked up, honestly. All four of them are. We will see who is the healthiest and that is who will play on Saturday.
On Marshall NFL prospects:
We have a couple of guys who have the opportunity to play at the next level. With pro football, a lot of it is being at the right place at the right time. Lee Smith and Mario Harvey will both be given that opportunity.
I will sit down with those guys, and all of our seniors, on Sunday and try to help them all I can. The thing that those guys have to do after Saturday is to make good decisions. You get a lot of people who go out there and pick bad agents. It is just important that they make good solid decisions on whatever they do.
On the seniors and the foundation they have laid for the future:
I think they have. There are a lot of things that happen that you all don't see from the outside that I am happy with. Our discipline, I think our kids understand that they are going to do things the right way. The kids understand that to be a part of this program, you have to be tough and love football. Brian Anderson may be the toughest football player I have been around in 30 years. He is just a really tough guys and I have great respect for him, Lee Smith, Mario Harvey and all the seniors. It is important to us that we send these guys out on a positive note. Change is hard. They have been through different coordinators and a different head coach. It's not always easy, but our core seniors, two or three years down the road, will look back and see what that they have laid a foundation for our program. I can't thank those guys enough. They have been great.
On Brian Anderson's toughness:
He has been knocked down, criticized and all these things, yet he goes out there every Saturday and gives it everything he has. He shows up everyday to go to work and you just have to give that kid a lot of credit. He has played hurt and has never complained or moans, he just shows up and does his job to the best of his ability. He deserves a lot of credit because he has done that for four straight years.
On Brandon Campbell being dismissed from the team:
It is disappointing when a guy lets you down like that. It is unfortunate, but every decision you make has a consequence. If you make bad decisions, you have to live with those consequences. You invest so much, and work 365 days of the year to go out and get 12 opportunities. If I asked them to be in at 10 o'clock at night on a Thursday night, and I think that is one of the most important nights to get the proper rest for competitive excellence, then they are going to be in at 10 o'clock. If you can't do that 12 nights of the year then you are not committed enough to play at Marshall. That is the way it is going to be. It is going to be the same next year and the following year.
On how the team has grown since day one:
I think they've learned how to practice and how to prepare. They are doing things right in the classroom and doing the things we ask them to do. Our defense has continued to grow, although I think we took a step backwards against SMU. With that being said, you all have seen how they have grown throughout the year. 10 of those 11 guys are going to be back, which is encouraging.
On how he has grown as a head football coach:
I'm not sure I have. It's been tough. Until you are put in that role, you don't fully understand it. You are forced to make decision that you don't like, but you are forced to do what's best for the program. The thing I try to do is to go home at night and put my head on the pillow knowing I have made good decisions.
On the seniors moving out in life:
I think Brian would make a great high school football coach. He is going to be successful at whatever he does when he leaves here. Pete Culicerto will be successful at whatever he does. Obviously there are a lot of players who didn't get to play a lot of football but can walk out of here with their degree. They will all be very successful. The problem with the country today is that there is not a lot of work ethic. Kids don't know how to get up early and go to bed late. One thing about football is its structure, and what we ask these kids to do, they learn that. Anyone that hires someone from our program will be getting someone who knows how to work. If you can't work in this program and you are not mentally tough, you will not survive. That is kind of where the world is right now. It's getting tougher to find a job, or even hold a job. If you are not tough, disciplined and not willing to work hard then you are not going to make it. That is one thing that our program and all the good programs in the country do for these kids.
On the health of Vinny Curry:
Anytime you take Vinny Curry out and put in a walk-on freshman it is going to hurt you. I like Jeremiah Taylor, he is going to be a good player, but when you take Vinny out and put him in, and you are playing with three other freshmen, then you are going to struggle a little bit. But those kids went in there and played their tails off. At times they didn't play real well, but they played hard. Honestly, I don't know what Vinny Curry's status is for Saturday right now, but if he can play, he is going to play.