The Green Wave is looking to snap a three-game losing streak after falling on the road at Memphis this past Saturday. This will be Tulane's fourth game at Tad Gormley Stadium, including two last year and one in 2003. The Wave is 2-1 in those three games.
Head coach Chris Scelfo addressed the media in his Tuesday morning press conference at the Hall of Fame Room of Tulane's Wilson Center.
Chris Scelfo Opening Statement
"Last Saturday's game, we had some adversity that we didn't respond to and didn't react the way I was hoping we would. That is something we need to learn to do with the football team that we have right now. We have to react better in those situations. We played an outstanding football team in Memphis, and we are going to play another one on Saturday. I saw some improvement on Saturday; we have some players that are trying to get better and are doing the right things.
"To respond to the punt return [a punt return touchdown by Memphis, which was followed by a Tulane touchdown to tie the game at seven] like we did is a positive, there are some steps we have to take along the way. We didn't stop the running back [DeAngelo Williams]; we talked last week about stopping the run and he got away from us. We have to do a better job tackling, there is no question that that is going to play a big factor on the rest of the year. Offensively, we missed some homerun shots, when it was our plan to go out there and hit them. We needed to hit one in three and we didn't do that, but the long ball was given to us and when we have an opportunity like that we have to be able to hit it.
How good is UAB?
They are good, they have an outstanding QB, and they are very seasoned and have a lot of depth. Their QB is one of the best in the league. Defensively, they really get to the ball they do a nice job tackling, and they don't give up the big plays.
Are you worried about the team losing confidence?
I don't sense that right now, from the stand point that they see themselves getting a little bit better, but it hasn't shown up on the scoreboard yet. They know the task that we have on Saturday, and I think they have a lot of pride about them and they have character, and when you have that I think you can go out there and compete.
You have a lot of young players – does that give hope for the future?
No question, and that is what we work on every day: to get a little bit better. If we continue to improve, we can't let the big picture get lost in this.
More on the big picture?
From a confidence standpoint and a psyche standpoint, they have to maintain the pace and see themselves improving to where it does pay off for them.
The Saints also have a three-game losing streak; are there any similarities?
I don't know what they are going through. It is one of those things where you have to continue to work and continue to improve and get better. Those things that we talk about back in August and that we continue to harp on, such as turnovers. We are really bad about giving turnovers right now and giving the ball up, and that is one of the most important stats in football.
What does playing at Tad Gormley Stadium do for the team?
We haven't played at home in so long I don't think the kids remember the Dome right now. It is different, we are going practice there on Friday; a lot of these kids have played there already in high school.
What makes UAB QB Darrell Hackney so effective?
Number 10, Roddy White has caught 31 balls [eight touchdowns] for them and is outstanding. Hackney is hard to tackle, he gets away, and he can throw the ball in any position that he is in, he has tremendous strength in his arm.
How does the crowd affect the team?
I think whenever you get momentum in the crowd, it helps wherever you are. I think they [the players] will look up and it may look better, but any time they [the crowd] are in to it and it is loud it is going to help. We have all been in venues of that nature.
Roydell is a senior and he is not completely healthy, but he is a competitor and wants to get out there and compete. A few times Saturday, he had the opportunity for a couple more touchdowns. He wants the ball and that is something he has been accustomed to. We have to keep him out on the field as much as we can but not to the point where it takes away from his production.
Have injuries hurt his production?
I think he has had an outstanding run this year. Breaking in a new QB is part of his loss of production. He missed a whole year due to a broken ankle, and there are a lot of factors that can contribute to it. Another one being that they double him a lot.