Green Wave Readies for Homecoming

Head coach Chris Scelfo said that the break came at a good time for his team, but he and the Green Wave are ready to return to action.

Tulane University returns to action on the gridiron this weekend, hosting Houston in the second straight Homecoming game held at City Park's Tad Gormley Stadium.

After playing five straight weeks, the Green Wave had a bye last weekend. Head coach Chris Scelfo said that the break came at a good time for his team, but he and the Green Wave are ready to return to action. Saturday's game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with Homecoming festivities beginning at 8:30 a.m. that morning with a Hall of Fame Breakfast, followed by tailgating and other activities.

During halftime, best-selling hip-hop recording artist OutKast will perform on a stage in the closed end of the horseshoe as part of MTV's Homecoming broadcast.

CHRIS SCELFO OPENING STATEMENT
"This week's game is a big game for us. Obviously, it's a conference game; and it's the one we're playing this week. We're playing a team that's 4-0 and has a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum coming in here off a big win at East Carolina. A very talented football team. Their quarterback is a freshman but yet he's been in that system now basically, this is the fourth year he's been in that type of system because it's the same one he ran in high school. It's a very multiple offensive system that has been very successful for him.

"Defensively they're returned several starters and made some personnel changes from last year when we played them. They're playing with a lot of confidence that resembles what defensively we were last year.

"I think the kicking game, we've got to do a better job, we've worked really hard on it the last two weeks. It starts with the kicker; if we can be consistent there then I think the rest should fall into place. I think this game is going to boil down to who makes the least amount of mistakes. I think from a standpoint of turnovers, penalties, momentum plays, explosion plays, that's going to be the difference in this football game. Going into it we've got to make sure we win those at the end of the day."

Q: Is this the best Houston team you've seen in awhile?
CS: From a record standpoint, obviously it is. Talent-wise they've brought back a lot of the same players they had last year. They've always been a very talented football team since I've been here.

Q: Houston's offensive line, is it big and strong? Is it intimidating? What do they bring to the table?
CS: I think their offensive line is as good as we played against this year from the standpoint of size. They probably average about 305, they're all big. They've got two new starters there. Rex Hadnot is an outstanding player, he really plays the game the way its supposed to be played from the center position. They're going to outweigh us and that always a concern when you can just lean and push, and just get in our guys way.

. Q: Obviously the other side of that is how with your depleted defensive line how do you work around something like that? CS: Our kids are going to play hard. We're having some guys having to take more snaps than we originally planned on from the defensive line. When you're going into this year and look at our defensive line we knew we had to play a lot of freshman because of [the loss of defensive linemen] Brandon Rottmayer, Lonnie Crayton, Jay Ashton and Chris Williams. That's four guys right there. As its evolved even more so they [the freshmen] are having to play more, like Alvin Johnson having to play inside and outside as a true freshman due to Bamm's [injured end Bamm Mateen] situation. Those are things that our players have done a good job of adjusting too, maybe their condition hurts them as they into the 40, 50, 60 snaps a game but their want-to is there and I think that'll be a bonus for them Saturday.

Q: One guy on that line that has stood out is Daniel Nevil, even being undersized, but has stood up as a leader on the field. Are you proud of having a guy like that on your defensive line?
CS: Yes, Daniel plays hard, he plays every snap. He's a captain, he's a senior. He gives you about 50 to 60 snaps a game and then he adds another 10 to 15 on special teams. So he's been a real integral part to our defense, I think he leads our team in sacks and tackles for a loss, he's a big part.

Q: I know your in the middle of the season and don't have much time to think about it but do you keep an eye on what conference or where Tulane will be conference-wise in the future due to re-alignment talk?
CS: Quite frankly I don't and the reason I don't isn't because we're in the season because you know you need to concern yourself with what's happening in the future. I don't think we have any control over it, or at least I don't, our football team doesn't, our staff doesn't. It kind of goes back to the old saying, let's only control what we can control, that's the approach we're taking on it. Some change is going to happen; it's inevitable, and I think its going to happen, but, until the day they announced Virginia Tech and Miami everyone thought it was going to be Boston College and Syracuse. So it's all speculation right now and I can't speculate on that.

Q: What are your thoughts on Conference USA and how that conference has grown and prospects of leaving it?
CS: I think all of you would have to agree that within the last three to four years our conference has gotten as competitive as anyone else in the country from top to bottom. When you look at it week-in and week-out, you see teams beating teams, it's gotten to the point that every week it's someone else's opportunity to capitalize on mistakes and that tells me right there that our conference is pretty evenly matched

Q: Is it kind of a shame that as soon as your conference grows you'll be losing Louisville and Cincinnati?
CS: Again, I don't know how that's going to unfold. I think regardless of what happens, our conference has an identity now it didn't have five years ago. Nationally, I think our conference has the notoriety, I think our conference has the publicity that wasn't here five years ago. Louisville and Cincinnati, whatever happens to them, they had a part of that but there are a lot of other teams in our league that have developed that tradition and I see it beginning to get stronger and stronger.

Q: Did you use the off week to split the season into two halves basically?
CS: What we did I think was give the players a break. We had a lot of projects and tests and all this week and last week. This weekend gave them an opportunity to catch up on that. We went back and did some camp stuff from the standpoint of stance, alignment, running to the ball on defense, alignment on offense, splits. Some of the things that during the season you get caught up so much schematically week in and week out that we had to go back and reassure the fundamentals and technique of our football team. I'm not a big fan of open weeks but I really do believe that this one came at a good time for us because September was a really tough month for our players. From an academic standpoint it falls at a crunch time, mid-semester, from a football standpoint with what we were faced with in September and what we're going to be faced with for the next seven straight weeks, I think that it fell at a good time.

Q: What are the positives of the daytime, outdoor Gormley experience?
CS: We won two games there at Gormley. We've been good in the Dome, been pretty consistent there. I hope we're not paying attention to the atmosphere. I hope the crowd is loud for us, we're going to need that; in a game like this it always helps. From a standpoint of getting caught up into what activities going on, we can't afford to do that against the football team we're playing, we really can't. If our players do that it could be a long afternoon for us Saturday.

Q: Are you really surprised with the start Houston is off to under a new coaching staff?
CS: No, I'm really not. They beat Rice, their schedule fell really good for them. Each week they're gaining more confidence and not only as a football team but as individuals. You watch their tape early in the year, you look at them now the confidence is a big factor. They're taking care of the football on offense, getting the turnovers on defense, their special teams are good. Their quarterback has thrown only one interception, they've got six fumbles. They're doing the little things that amount to winning.

Q: Through the first five games quarterback J.P. Losman was in a really strong rhythm, with the bye week do you worry about the offense getting out of a rhythm and getting back on track?
CS: You always worry about that. From that standpoint J.P. was in a pretty good rhythm, but Texas knocked him out of his rhythm too. I don't know what type of rhythm J.P. has or does; I don't even think J.P. knows. Again, there's a lot more positives in this open date we had last weekend than negatives and I always think there's negatives in an open date.
Q: Are you excited for OutKast on this Saturday?
CS: How does it go Brandon [talking to linebacker Brandon Spincer]…Hello Ms. Jackson…Sorry Ms. Jackson…. I'm going to learn it by Saturday.

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