The Tommy Tuberville era at Cincinnati is off to a spectacular start. And if you attended the game and were impressed by UC's new head coach, you'll be happy to know that Tommy and his wife Suzanne were impressed with you.
"My wife's been to a lot of tailgates over the years
and she said that was the best she's even been to," said Coach Tuberville.
A record crowd of 36,007 packed 98-year old Nippert Stadium, breaking the old attendance mark by 901 fans.
"I want to thank our fans for coming out because they were very supportive," Tuberville told me. "They got behind the team from the beginning to the end. We need to keep it going like that. As I've said before, we're all in this together. If we want to keep making this program better and better and take it to another level, it's going to have to start not on the football field but in the stands and work down to the field. We're going to try to do our part, but we need the help of everybody out there. We got off to a great start."
It was such an impressive performance that it was easy to forget that after opening each of the past two seasons with a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, the first offensive snap this year resulted in a Munchie Legaux interception off a deflected pass.
"I told Eddie Gran that I was going to have a
football printed up of his first play ever as an offensive coordinator - an interception,"
joked Tuberville. "I didn't say anything
to Munchie because it wasn't his fault.
We're supposed to cut those offensive lineman and keep their hands
down. He was throwing to the right guy, the
guy was open, and the timing was good.
They made a good play. I was
proud of Munchie bouncing back and playing well the rest of the time until his
last play when he threw another interception.
Munchie is going to make mistakes - they're all going to make mistakes -
but they have to bounce back and forget about the last play. That's what we've been preaching."
While Munchie directed the Bearcats to a 42-7 win, the Cincinnati defense made life so miserable for Purdue quarterback Rob Henry that he opted to quit Twitter.
In all, 66 players saw action in the opener, including 11 offensive linemen. I found it telling that the Bearcats rarely looked disorganized no matter who was on the field, and didn't commit a penalty until midway through the third quarter.
"It was awfully hot - about 130 degrees on that turf and I don't care how good of shape you're in, it's hard to focus as long as you need to focus," said Tuberville. "Our assignments were very good; we only had a couple of penalties, and that's hard to do in the first game regardless of the weather. When you have first-game jitters you tend to make a lot of mistakes, but I was proud of the entire team.
"They paid a price this summer in two-a-days by running and doing all of our (post-practice conditioning) drills. Joe Walker, our strength coach, and all four of his assistants have done a bang-up job of knowing how hard to push them but when to pull back. The strength and conditioning coaches had a plan for them starting back in the summer of getting ready for this first game and it worked. Our guys were awfully proud of that, so they all stood up in the locker room and gave them a standing ovation."
I don't know about you, but I can't wait until next Saturday.
Don't forget to listen to my daily Bearcat Reports with Coach Tuberville, Monday through Friday at 11:55 on ESPN 1530. And I hope to see you on Thursday night for Coach Tuberville's weekly radio show from 8-to-9 at the Original Montgomery Inn.
I'd love to hear from you at Dan.Hoard@Bengals.nfl.net
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