Wave Prepares For Houston After Thrilling UAB Win

Following its wild 59-55 Homecoming victory over UAB on Saturday, the Tulane University football team is now preparing for a road game at Houston this Saturday. Following this weekend, Tulane returns to the Superdome for back-to-back home games on Nov. 6 (Navy) and Nov. 13 (Army).

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Following its wild 59-55 Homecoming victory over UAB on Saturday, the Tulane University football team is now preparing for a road game at Houston this Saturday. Following this weekend, Tulane returns to the Superdome for back-to-back home games on Nov. 6 (Navy) and Nov. 13 (Army).

On Saturday against UAB, the Green Wave was led by quarterback Lester Ricard who fired six touchdown passes and tallied over 400 yards passing, just the second quarterback in school history to throw for over 400 yards. Senior Roydell Williams tallied his third straight 100-yard receiving game and caught three TD strikes.

This weekend, Tulane travels to Houston to battle the Cougars at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

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
"Obliviously, that game Saturday was one of the most exciting games that I have been involved with, and the players. It was a game that our fans hopefully enjoyed and for us to come out on top was big. It was the first ranked team [UAB was No. 24 in the BCS Standings] we have beaten around here in a long time and it is a game that we are going to be able to draw from for many years, because the group of players that were out there on Saturday have a lot of playing time in front of them.

"We talk about Lester Ricard, week in and week out, and how well he is progressing and on Saturday he had the best game up to this point so far in his career. We ask him to make a little bit of improvement each week and he has done that; he has to maintain the focus and consistency that that position needs in our offense.

"Defensively, we know what our deficiencies are up on the defensive line. We have to continue to develop those players, we started four seniors, two on defense, and there are a lot of growing pains that we are going to have to go through there. The guys are going to continue to work and do what we ask them to do, and they want to do right, that maturation process hasn't hit them yet but it will come.

"I was really proud of [redshirt freshman kicker] Nick Beucher, I think that [career-long 53-yard field goal] gave our team a tremendous lift going into halftime, similar to last week and we were able to go in with that momentum. When you get three points like that it will increase the confidence of him and I saw the excitement on our offensive unit to be able to come away with three points."

Is this a signal of going back to the way you used to play offense?
We are expanding more and giving more reign to the QB; the only way we feel he will develop into the kind of player we want him to be is to be able to do that. I think he has progressed each week and so now we are going to play the way I would like for us to play and have played for the last five years.

What was going through your mind during that game?
The big thing really and truly was that I was concerned how we were going to react to the adversity of the seesaw of the game. We haven't been in a game like that this year with the exception of East Carolina and we didn't respond very well. That is something that I said earlier, that our team is going to be able to draw from, not only for the remaining season but also for later on, because our team is young. I think the fans should give to TAF [Tulane Athletics Fund] because they got a two-for-one, they saw a track meet and a football game all in one.

Are you putting more on QB Lester Ricard?
Its not that we are giving so much more on him; it is his poise and composure and confidence. Lester didn't have the learning curve that our other QBs had coming in, JP [Losman] or Shaun [King] [who both came off the bench early in their careers]. I have been in this situation before where he has to become more comfortable there, I think he is becoming more comfortable. You have been spoiled with such great QB's, do you have to force yourself to be more patient?
Absolutely, there is no question.

How important is this game for Lester, coming off a big game?
It is very important, he is the kind of guy that uses past experiences for his advantage. This is the second game this year that he has brought us back, unfortunately we came up on the short end at East Carolina and we came out on top this last week. It is very important that he can draw from this experience and learn from it. I hope he is mature enough to handle that; the quarterback position is magnified and there are things that I said on Saturday; he has to have a better work ethic and has to grow up a little faster than the rest of the players and he has to be able to deal with it.

Is he the kind of guy that will do anything it takes to get the job done?
It is way too early in his career to see that. Obviously, scoring passes are important, and that is one thing that I thought we did Saturday as well as we have done in a long time; and our receivers made a lot of plays. When you have the plays they made, no dropped balls or turnovers, you have a chance there, as well as conversions on third downs, there were a lot of things there.

How does wide receiver Roydell Williams playing so well make things easier for the team?
It helps a lot. The guy that I have been really pleased with has been [receiver] Chris Bush; he has been really consistent. And a guy that has come through on that position more than anyone is [sophomore] Damarcus Davis. He had some tremendous catches and he is a guy that is developing and can help our football team.

Did you say anything to the team about Saturday's win being just one game?
Whether we win or lose what we try to do is bury the game on Sunday and move on. I talked to the guys, that we learned from this game just like all the others and we have got to make sure that we understand our focus and that is Houston right now. It is a game that we can draw upon it down the road in the heat of the moment and realize that we have been through it and experienced it and we can do it again.

Why is Houston not having a successful season?
I think the biggest thing is who they have played, Miami, Oklahoma, Southern Miss in over time, TCU, their schedule has been tremendous. Their defensive unit is much better then in the past. Their offense has been hitting on most of the cylinders, when you take out the statistics against two of the top ranked teams in America, they are up there.

How important is what happened Saturday for this team?
It was very important. Just like I've been saying for the last several weeks, I have seen the progress of this team, our coaches have and the players have seen themselves get better each week. But, the players have to see that scoreboard change and that is something that now they know that if they just keep progressing and do what they have to do, stand in the right gap and make the catch and execute in offense you have a chance.

Talk about the execution of the offensive line?
They have been playing well and that is expected of them. They have been covered in the past with a quarterback and a running back but now they need to be a part of the growing up process of the quarterback and running back this year and I think they have done that.

Do you think Houston will look to stop the passing game on Saturday?
It depends on how they are going to play us. Houston plays the run very good, they stack in there, they play an eight-man front and it stops the run. You have do believe that they have seen Lester and should back off a little there. At the end of the day we should be balanced to have a chance.

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