Tulane Prepares For First Road Trip Of Season

The Tulane University football team will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Army for a key Conference USA contest on Saturday afternoon in West Point, NY. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. (Central) and the game will be televised in the New Orleans area by Cox Sports Television

The Tulane University football team will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Army for a key Conference USA contest on Saturday afternoon in West Point, NY. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. (Central) and the game will be televised in the New Orleans area by Cox Sports Television.

Coming off a thrilling come-from-behind 31-28 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday, head coach Chris Scelfo held his fourth weekly press conference on Tuesday morning in the Hall of Fame Room of Tulane's Wilson Center.

CHRIS SCELFO OPENING STATEMENT:
"Last Saturday night was a good win for Tulane University, the community, the city; it's been a long time since an SEC team came in here and Tulane defeated them, so I am happy for our fans who endured a long period of time between that.

"As far as the game went, our kids really persevered and stayed together and played together and believed in each other and believed in the system. Both sides of the ball made those plays when we had to make them. I have been up here many a times; that's what it boils down to, those four or five plays during the course of a game. When theopportunity presents itself, you have to be the team to make them. We had very few penalties; we didn't have any turnovers and those are key stats in any type of football game you play.

"Defensively, I was disappointed in how many rushing yards we gave up, but I thought the kids showed a lot of resilience, especially in the red zone.

"Offensively, we had some opportunities that we took advantage of. We were overmatched in some areas but the players really believed in themselves and continued to scrap to the end. We talk about games being 60 minutes and if the last three weeks isn't a great example of that, then I don't know if our players will ever learn that.

"Going into this week's game, it's going to be a 60-minute game. The mistakes that we've made in the past, we can't make them this week. This is a big game for us; it's the first road of the year, a conference game, so there is a lot of emphasis on this game from our standpoint.

"I was really happy for Barrett Pepper in the game Saturday, hopefully that will give him some confidence. I don't think he has lacked confidence, but he has missed a couple close ones, but he's been hitting the ball well and that's where I've been happy with him. Chris Beckman, our punter, really did a nice job Saturday night and field position was a big key in the game."

Why do you think Army has given you problems the past few years?
"I think when they look at us in the beginning of the year, we are a similar profile school; our student-athletes are cast the same way. I think they see a resemblance to their team and obviously right now, they believe they can beat us."

What has Army done in the past and how are they different this year?
"Army is very multiple on offense; they run a lot of boots and flat-curl combinations and jailbreaks. They have a lot of different sets that they run. We just have to make sure mentally that we're sound against them defensively; line up correctly to begin with."

Have you noticed they have been throwing the ball more this season?
"The first two games, they fell behind early and to get back in the games, they had to air it out. I think they want to be balanced at theend of the day."

Have you kept an eye on the weather?

"Yes, we have. We can't control that. We're going to talk about that; we can't control the weather, what we can control is how well we play. That's what our focus is going to be on."

Do these last two wins give your team momentum?
"Hopefully, we learn that we do have to play every play and we do have to play 60 minutes, or in the Northwestern game, 63 minutes, to be able to have a chance to win; always believing that until that final clock kicks to zero, we're going to be in the game. Hopefully we learn from that. As far as momentum, I told the team, on Saturday night and I told them again on Sunday, there are only so many opportunities you have to go out there and play the college game of football. If you can't get up emotionally for the limited number of times you have the opportunity to do it, then you're in the wrong game. It doesn't matter how you break it down, there's only so many chances to get out there and play a game. You've got to be ready to play each week."

You have had three games decided by three points; are you ready for nine more like that?
"No. If we come out on top, we'll take it. Somebody asked me about labeling this team ‘cardiac.' I don't like the word cardiac. I want our guys to able to play 60 minutes as hard and as fast as they can and let's see where we end up at the end of the day."

How much does it show your team's maturity that they keep winning close games?

"It's a great confidence-builder, knowing that if you fight to the end, you'll have an opportunity and you have real-life examples. We have a very young football team. You look across our roster, we have about seven seniors that contribute to our football team and probably 75 percent of the rest of them are sophomores or freshmen. For them to be able to see it, we talk about it, we preach it as coaches, we practice it. But for you to be able to draw from it, in real-life experience, I think it will help us further down the road."

Do you think bad weather will affect you because of the type of offense you run?
"I don't think weather affects us; we've played good in weather; we've played bad in weather. If your focus is there and your concentration is there, then the weather shouldn't be a factor. If we're focusing on the weather, it's going to be a long day."

Would you rather your team be consistent or opportunistic?

"I want to be both. I think if you're consistent, you have an opportunity to be opportunistic."

After a big win, are you worried about the team looking past Army?
"Like I said earlier, if we can't get up and focus this week, I will be very disappointed in our football team."

Do you think the team is feeling good about themselves?
"Well, they should. They have practiced hard; they have prepared themselves. I want them to feel good about themselves. This is a conference game; I want to go into every game confident and I want our players to feel that way too, but we have to be focused."

How will you prepare for this weekend's game?
"We're going full-speed. We're going to practice just like we normally practice."

Does the team have its legs back?
"We better have them back. They should have them back. I said it earlier; September is a grind for us. We're playing five games in the month of September and the attitude of the players has been great in accepting it that way. With a full week to prepare, physically, they'll be ready to go on Saturday."

Talk about the problems the last few years against Army:
"The only one I can talk about is that they have scored more points than we have. Last year, we had seven drops, we had seven penalties, our quarterback had one of the worst days. When you factor in the mental errors, which were 12 of them, and add all that up, that's a reason."

Do you do anything to stop the team from looking forward to Texas?
"If our team ever looks forward to anything, then we're not doing a good job. It goes back to opportunity. We have an opportunity to play a game this week. You focus in on this week. We're a different football team, Army's a different football team, than last year and the year before; I don't put a whole lot of stock in what's happened in the past. We can't control that; what we can control is what we're doing now and that's what our kids have to understand."

What are you focusing on with Army?
"I look at a football team that believes in itself, believes in the system. They got behind the eight-ball the first two games, but they kept fighting. They came back on Rutgers last week. They were down 20-0 and kept persevering and kept fighting. I look at a football team that lines up correctly, doesn't make mistakes. You have to cause them problems for them to make a mistake. They won't beat themselves. They are very sound in the kicking game. They do a lot of trickery; they make you have to play every play. That's a good trademark for a football team to have."

Do you take pride in J.P. Losman and Tra Boger winning conference Player of the Week awards?

"I'm happy for them; they deserve it, but they also both know that without the other 10 guys on both sides of the ball, they wouldn't have received that. J.P. had a really good game and so did Tra. Tra was around the ball quite a bit and he played faster than he has been the last few games. I'm happy for them."

How has Brandt Quick matured as a linebacker?

"Brandt is a guy who played linebacker last year for the first time. I moved him in the summer. He's gotten better; and I thought last week was probably his best game, from being in the right position, pulling the trigger, playing linebacker seemed to be more natural to him last week."


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