Wave Returns Home For Saturday Contest Vs. FAMU

Following a season-opening loss at Mississippi State, Tulane University is preparing for its Louisiana Superdome opener when it will host Florida A&M for the Emerald Coast Classic. Game time is 6 p.m. and tickets are available by calling 504-861-WAVE

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Following a season-opening loss at Mississippi State, Tulane University is preparing for its Louisiana Superdome opener when it will host Florida A&M for the Emerald Coast Classic. Game time is 6 p.m. and tickets are available by calling 504-861-WAVE.

Head football coach Chris Scelfo held his second weekly press conference of the 2004 season on Tuesday afternoon at the Hall of Fame Room of Tulane's Wilson Center.

CHRIS SCELFO OPENING STATEMENT
"Thank you all for being today. Saturday's game was a good starting point for us. I am very disappointed by the outcome of the game but I am encouraged by the things that I saw out there, the mistakes that we made throughout the course of the game I think are very correctable and I see development during the course of the game in some areas I was pleased with. The players that had to respond Saturday did a good job we just have to be more consistent in all three phases of our football team right now.

"Offensively, I thought that over all the production due to the lack of snaps we are taking right now was a little down from where we want it to be, but we have to improve from there and the costly mistakes that we made need to be corrected.

"Defensively I thought we flew around and played hard we made a few mistakes that cost us but those are the things that need to be corrected.

"Special teams, Beckman, I thought had a good night despite the one that we let get away from us on the coverage unit, but over all our net punting was very good. We averaged 40 yards, and if we can continue that we have a chance to lead the nation, so that was very encouraging for our first game.

Assess Lester in his first game:
"He showed some poise early but showed frustration later on. It was his first game and his first time playing in three years. He made a couple mistakes that we hope he doesn't make anymore, and can learn from them. He has really good arm strength and is precise. He has to make decisions a little bit faster, but he has a good opportunity to improve on that next week."

Was there a point where you were going to take him out?
"Yes, we thought about it in the second half to settle him down and then the next series he went out there and threw the touchdown and that was good to see. I Think the only way to get better is to go out there and play. I have to tell myself everyday that Pat Ramsey's first year wasn't pretty, and I can't get caught up in what we have had here in the past few years."

Can you talk about Lester and his development?
"We have to grow and develop with Lester and the more they do it the better they are going to be at it, the ability is there, and how fast everything comes together is going to be important for us."

Do you sometimes forget where your players start and end up?
"Absolutely, and I have told the whole staff, especially the offensive staff, we have got to be careful that we don't overreact. But some of the mistakes that we made on Saturday are very correctable."

Was your inability to throw consistently the reason that you couldn't run the ball?
"We missed a shot in the opening and dropped a few balls early on and they loaded the box on us, but we put together a 14-play and 12-play drive that we came up empty handed with. It is critical that we get points off those plays and we didn't. We ran 61 plays and our offense is used to running 85-90 plays and we are trying to change that."

Can you discuss Florida A&M?
"They are a very talented football team, they have good skill and two experienced quarterbacks that can run and throw. It is hard to sack them because they throw the ball so fast. Defensively, they struggled a bit last week but they are big upfront on the defensive line and they got better as the game went on last week because of some new players playing new positions. Their kicking game is very solid and it will be a great challenge for us."

Is there any pressure on you playing a 1AA team?
"No more pressure than we put on ourselves every week. We have got to execute consistently and fast and regardless of who we are playing, we can't make mistakes."

Looking at the schedule, is it important to find a rhythm offensively?
"I am going to be honest, I haven't looked past this week. I just want to improve every day in practice and every game we play."

Can you comment on Chris Bush's performance?
"Chris worked hard this summer and Chris is a player that we have to rely on heavily and he has got to be consistent and there has to be trust between him and the quarterback. The QB has to know that he is open and going to catch the ball, I think up to this point he has."

Do you think Roydell Williams' presence helps Bush get some opportunities?
"Yes and no. It is a situation where if Chris and Carl [Davis] do the things they are supposed to in the system, they will have some opportunities."

How is Florida A&M's offense compared to teams you have played in the past?
"They are wide open, and have two good quarterbacks and they have a good system for what they do and we have to be prepared for anything."

Does it help that your defense has practiced with this offense?
"We should have a feel for it going in."

Florida A&M gave up a lot of rushing yards last week, is that going to affect your game plan?
"Illinois hit them with some big plays and as time went on I saw Florida A&M progress on defense and that is where we have to be careful and make sure we are doing things right."

What about your running game?
"For the most part, I saw two backs that fought hard and our offensive line did a nice job and we were able to get a little push there. If we continue to get that and the backs running hard, we averaged 3.3 yards per carry and if we can get it up to around 4-4.5 per play. If we do that then I think the running game will take care of itself."

Will that take some pressure off your quarterback?
"Absolutely, but we have to be able to run and pass because if they load the box on us we have got to be able to get the ball outside the perimeter."

After all your preparation for Saturday how disappointed are you with the outcome?
"I am disappointed that we lost the game but I am encouraged by what I saw. The mistakes that we made are correctable and from the quarterback position, it was his first game in three years and if he improves on that we will be fine there."

Would you like to put another quarterback in next week?
"We have done that with every quarterback we have had here. To give them a chance to grow and develop in the first part of their career and settle down a bit."

Can you describe the two interceptions?
"I think the first one was out of excitement and inexperience. The second one was a forced error and he knows that and will learn from that."


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