Dec. 3, 2013
Tommy Tuberville Press Conference Quotes
Dec. 3, 2013
“First of all, I can’t believe it’s almost over with (regular season). What a year this has been. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs but it’s gone very fast and I’m proud of our team. We’ve gotten better. We got off to a slow start and it really took us a while offensively for a new coaching staff and a new coordinator to really find his way around and then understand what we can do with our players. Of course then you lose your quarterback and then it throws you in a tailspin, but we’ve really regrouped and I’m proud of the coaches and players and how we’ve played in the past couple months. To put us in the situation now, both Louisville and ourselves would love to be undefeated which we were all counting on at the beginning of the year at this point in deciding the conference championship. Still have something to say about it, but we can’t control it. But it’s a good game coming up and it’ll be a good game for us in terms of national exposure. We have a lot of recruits coming, and I think it’s something you can’t put a price tag on.
“So saying now that we’ve practiced ten days for Louisville, obviously the best team that we play; they’re a top ten team. They’ve got a lot of talent, they’ve got a lot of speed on their team, and they’ve done a good job with their football program. Unfortunately for them, they did like we did. In the middle of the season, they found a way to give one away. We’ve worked very hard this week, back on fundamentals and getting back to the things that we needed to do to get better on both sides of the ball. We’ve gotten a few more guys healthy. We’re going to have a lot more going for us in terms of depth which we will need in this game. Their offense is led by a quarterback that has taken the nation by storm – reminds me of RG3 back when I was at Texas Tech. The kind of exposure that this kid’s gotten over the last couple of years – Teddy Bridgewater, I can remember coming out of high school nobody really projected him to be a passing or downfield quarterback, but man has he proven everybody wrong as RG3 did. He’s a guy that makes plays with his arms and with his legs. He’s got a big-time strong arm that can throw out-routes, he’s got a quick release and he’s tall. He’s a guy that really understands his offensive, and that’s what he gives a lot of people problems with. You can take some things away but you can’t take everything away. He’s got good receivers; he’s got a physical offensive line and a physical running back. They’re the complete physical package in terms of what they want to do on offense.
“Defensively – I haven’t seen a defense like this in a while. They’ve got a lot of speed. They’ve got a lot of players from south Florida. They’re undersized in some areas, but it’s a type of defense that we’ll try to put together every year here. We’re pretty close but we don’t have this overall speed that they have on their defense. They give you on bad plays and they get you on a lot of third-down situations, but the most impressive thing that they’ve done is that they’ve only given up 24% of third-down conversions. When you do that, you’re going to be pretty efficient defensively. We’ve got our hands full. They’re special teams with all those guys on defense, so we’ve got to have a complete game plan and we think we do. We’ve got a good idea of what we want to do. We’ve preached it over and over. We’ve got about 10 practices going into this game. We’re going to have to play our best game of the year. We’re going to have to come out fast, play hard early, and play hard all the way through. This is a type of game that you look forward to playing in but know it’s a type of game that you’ve got to be on top of everything that you do to have a chance to be successful. It’ll be a fun time on Thursday night. You throw it out there and you go and the season is over with, other than the bowl game. Both of us are hoping for that little help from SMU but we can’t control that on Saturday. The only thing we can control (Louisville and ourselves) is who plays the best in this game and who’s got the most points on the scoreboard at the end. “
On the defense over the past six games:
“First thing we’ve done is we have kept playing a lot of players, and we have stayed fairly healthy. We’ve had some guys that have missed some guys, but I think the best thing that Art Kaufman, Robert Prunty, Steve Clinkscale, and Fred Tate have done as coaches is work a lot of the younger guys like Mike Tyson in the secondary, guys like Terrell Hartsfield on the defensive line, guys that are young that needed to help us in the latter part of the year. We’ve added speed to the team by adding them to the defense, and we’ve added stability to our defense by playing 22 to 25 guys in our defense every game and we keep them fresh. When you do that all throughout the year, and you get to the end of the year, you still have a lot of guys standing. So the speed that we put on the field is much better now than it was at the beginning of the year. We’ve got a lot better idea of what we want to do defensively. We’ve played well on first, second, and third downs, we haven’t been a stone wall like a defense that you would like to have but we have been very stingy, and we’ve gotten the ball back for our offense. At points during the season, our offense has been our best defense because our defense hadn’t been out there as much, and that’s the way you want it. You want to have ball control, better time of possession on offense and if you do that your defense is going to get better just by standing over there watching.”
On Zach Edwards increase in playing time:
“At the beginning of the year we didn’t have another safety, and he had a very average spring practice. He got much better at two-a-days, he got much better at camp and you can’t play as a freshman unless you have good football sense. If you don’t understand the game of football, and you have to learn it here, you can’t play as a freshman. Mike Tyson is a little bit like that. Mike might have a little more talent than Zach but he really didn’t understand coverages and linebacker play and the different things you needed to be able to do to play as a freshman. Mike has come a long way, but Zach has been able to play for one because he can think, he understands what he’s doing. But you can’t play fast unless you know what you are doing. Zach was just able to play a lot faster than Mike. I think both of them are going to be two of the better safeties in college football over the next three years. They can run, they can jump, Mike has not nearly played as much as Zach but I’m really looking forward to those two kids playing side-by-side for the next three years.”
On knowing Charlie Strong:
“Charlie Strong and I grew up together. That’s one thing that people don’t understand. He played at Central Arkansas University; I played at Southern Arkansas University. He’s younger than I am but we kind of went the same path. Graduate Assistant route, worked our way up. He still has a lot of relatives in Arkansas, I do as well. We go way back, and I coached against Charlie, he was the defensive coordinator for Urban at Florida when I was at Auburn and we had a lot of battles at that point, but this is obviously the first time as head coaches. He’s done a good job, he worked hard to get a head coaching chance and he’s taken full advantage of that opportunity at Louisville. The thing he has really done well as he has put together a great staff, they have recruited very well and because of that, they have had a lot of success.”
On the differences in player development in Florida vs. the Midwest:
“I’d say after living ten years in Florida, the ability to go outside 365 days a year. The ability to be around high schools that really push track, a lot of these kids that play football that are outstanding athletes that come out of the Florida area are also guys that run track and they’ve run all their lives, it’s not just that they are ball players and that’s how they have created the atmosphere of speed and quickness in Florida. There are so many of them that run track also, it’s not just one of things where the kids just a football player. You go down there in the spring, you are going to evaluate a junior that’s going to be a senior, you can go to a track meet and watch him run, and even a lot areas in the country, not just up here, that doesn’t happen very often. The high school coaches down there really push them in that direction for development.”
On the evolution of recruiting for speed:
“It’s not just in Florida. We’ll go to Florida, but we’ll also go to Georgia which has very good high school athletics. They don’t quite have the weather they do in Florida, but they still have the emphasis on development. But there are some good ones up here, there’s a lot of Division I athletes that come out of this area, you just don’t have the numbers because you don’t have the population that you do down there. The people moving into Florida is just growing leaps and bounds, they are building new high schools left and right. We all go down there; everybody in the Big 10 goes. The reason we won back in the 80’s and 90’s at Miami is because it had kind of been kept a secret, but the cats been out of the bag for about 20 years now, and so they even have to fight for players down there now. There are a lot of players that love having 4 seasons, and when I was coaching at Miami, it was very difficult to keep a lot of kids in that area because they wanted to go where it gets cold. Kids have never seen snow; it’s the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. It’s a known fact that a lot of these kids like to have 4 seasons and so it’s not unusual for a lot of kids to want to leave and even come this far north.”
On the need for ball security if the weather is bad Thursday:
“Yeah, you know, our last game was like that as well, we saw the weather forecast four days before we went to Houston. When we got to the Rutgers game, I thought that was going to be our cold game, but it was 65 degrees, not a cloud in the sky; a beautiful chamber of commerce day in New Jersey. Now we turn around thinking we’ve got it made, going to Houston, and it was just the opposite. It was in the 30’s and 40’s and we took the team to the soccer field where we were going to play. They had gotten three inches of rain that day, the field was under water, it was cold, but all week long we worked with wet ball drills, just like we are this week. We will pour water over the ball right before the center snaps the ball. We have wet ball drills all the time, I’ve done this everywhere, and everyone does it just for concentration purposes. To me it’s more about the snap, it’s important holding onto the ball as a ball carrier, but the snap is so much more important, to get it to the quarterback, especially in the shotgun position. Football is partly played in the mud and the rain and the snow and the sleet. We don’t have mud much anymore up here because we play on the artificial turf. But it won’t be a detriment to either team, unless it’s just a toad strangler. You can just discount it because both teams are going to play hard, and I hope turnovers wouldn’t decide the game in a game like this, but sometimes you can’t avoid it. But we’ve played pretty well in our two rain games this year. We played pretty well in the UConn game, and we played pretty well in the Houston game.”
On National perception:
“Perception is huge, there are maybe not even 15 household teams in the country that is kind of sold and everybody knows who they are and their traditions. We are kind of a new commodity over the past ten years of breaking into the mold and I tell you what, the so-called leaders of the pack they don’t like that too much. They don’t like new guys on the block so-to-speak. But we are going to get there, and we are working hard at it. I’m looking forward to taking that challenge on, and it definitely is a challenge to get recognized by your peers, by the people that are supposedly the upper-echelon of teams. Right now there are probably only 15-18 teams that have a chance to win a national championship. Number one because of national recognition, and number two because of the availability of talent, we want to jump into that market. You do that by recruiting and winning games, but you also need to be noticed while doing it. When you get out on the big stage, and to us, Thursday is a big stage, you have to perform. Whether you win or not, you need to make people realize how good you are. It needs to be appealing to not just the recruits, but the people watching about where your program is at.”
On having recruits in for key games:
“My son at Auburn, he was telling me about all of the big recruits that were committed to other places, that were dancing in the locker room after game with the Auburn players, now that goes good for a while, but it all goes back to the players that you have, and the needs that you have on your football team. When can they play, is it the right offense or defense, a motion only plays for a short period of time and so we are going to be looked at on our full body of work for the year by a lot of our recruits. Number one is my philosophy and whether we are running the right offense or defense, is that what they want to be a part of. Again the school plays a huge part, the things that we have here degree-wise, we will have 5 or 6 official visit guys here this week for the game, and they’ll meet with professors, they will meet with deans of the different schools we have here, and those play a big factor in a kids decision. I’m looking forward to recruiting season, we’ve got most of our recruits already, but there are still a few out there we would like to pull off the apple tree, but we need to work at it hard.”
On changes next year in the new playoff system:
“It gives people an opportunity to make the final four or make the national championship game. If you look at it over the past 10 or 12 years, there has not been a lot of change in the top two. That’s why I have always been in favor of the plus one. It’s great for college football, it took a long time for us to convince the Presidents to let us do this, and the Presidents are the ones that make the decisions. So we have this opportunity next year, again it gives outside schools a chance to play in the national championship. Out of 120 teams, there are about 105 outsiders; those other 15 that have a shot at it every year are just going to kind of work their way into it. This kind of gives us an opportunity to kind of work at it.”
On Louisville/Charlie Strong’s success being a blueprint for UC:
“Charlie has done a good job of working his area, he also has some guys that were coming to Cincinnati, and then flipped to Louisville once he was there, and we want to take half or at least half of our guys from this area alone, and he’s doing the same thing. You don’t want to go out and get all of your players from out of state, you want a good mix, but you also have to find players that are going to fit what you need. We won’t just go to Florida, we’ll go to Texas, and Virginia, Washington D.C., California, Georgia, Alabama, but this is a fertile ground up here, full of good athletes, you just have to make sure you get the right ones that fit what you need. Charlie has done an excellent job of that, he’s got an abundance of South Florida guys, now a bunch of his staff are guys that worked in that area with Miami that knew a lot about a lot of those players, and they did a good job recruiting them. So he has a little bit of a head start on us, but they are flipping leagues on us, so we won’t play them for a little while, but we’ll still have to recruit against them.”
On the role the last scheduled UC-UofL matchup plays this week:
“Maybe a little bit, I didn’t realize this, but talking to our seniors, last year was the first time they had lost to Louisville. Over the last 5 years, Cincinnati has won 4 of them, and last year went into overtime. College football needs what happened last week. Ohio State barely beating Michigan, Auburn-Alabama close game, Georgia-Georgia Tech close game. That’s what really separates us from other things is rivalries and people getting into it with their emotions. We don’t have a natural rival other than the team that’s coming here Thursday and hopefully that can be rectified in the future. You need that one rivalry game every year that your players look forward to playing. Our seniors love playing Louisville because they have had a lot of success against them. “
SENIOR QB Brendon Kay
On Coach Tuberville’s many sayings including “toad strangler” mentioned in todays press conference:
“I have no idea. He says something about every day that I have no idea. He’ll explain sometimes, I’m sure you all got the full, in-depth explanation”
On beating Louisville 4 out of 5 years:
“They had a good season last year and finished off strong with their win against Florida which really jumped them up there. I think it’s going to be a good game this week. They have a good team, and we do, as well so we’ll be ready to go.
On the Louisville vs. Cincinnati rivalry:
“Nippert is going to be packed. Probably the last time we’re going to play for until they schedule another one so whoever wins this one gets the keg for a little bit. I love rivalries in college sports, I mean you saw last weekend with some of those games, it brings a lot to it so I hope they bring it [rivalry] back as soon as possible. It’s good, it’s good for the University, it’s good for the players.
On this Thursday mattering more than other games:
“Yeah it does [matter more]. I mean you’re playing for that trophy, the Victory Bell, stuff like that. Trophies you can put up in the trophy case, Coach Tubs can put in his office, it definitely means even more.
On Louisville’s Defense:
“They’re probably the best defensive team we’ve seen as of yet. Strong defensive front, good size of linebackers. They have experience everywhere; I think they have nine starters coming back this year. They’re going to show us some new things, some challenges, we just have to adjust. We have to go out there and control what we can control. Just go out there and execute our game plan.
On team progress:
“Definitely [getting better every week]. Our offense has changed so much, midway through the season at South Florida. We have room to get better and I think we’ve done that. Especially with this time off, we’ve got some time to keep clicking.”
On playing his last game at Nippert Stadium:
“We’ve been talking about it all week, myself and a few other guys, it’s the last go around at Nip. For a long time that’s where we practiced, did our conditioning, that’s where we did everything. A lot’s happened on that stadium, games and off season wise. It’s meaningful. And for even the juniors, a lot of them, it’s their last times playing in Nippert cause they’ll be at Paul Brown next year. It definitely has an effect too.”