MEET THE PRESS: Tulane Head Coach Fritz Previews UConn at Weekly News Conference NEWS x

  • Staff Reporter

NEW ORLEANS – Listed below is the complete transcript from Green Wave head coach Willie Fritz weekly press conference leading up to Tulane’s matchup vs. UConn on Saturday.

Opening Statement…

“I was really proud of the guys for the effort they put forth against Army. Army is an unbelievable beautiful place to play a ball game, I do not know if you all have been there before, but what a great venue – a lot of history in that stadium. Football wise we played a really great team, they had not had a loss at home in 15 games since 2016. We held them at 193 yards in rushing. Our defense did an excellent job in limiting their effectiveness running the ball. That is what they really wanted to do. Then offensively, we ran the ball great, we had 324 yards rushing and if you combined that with what the defense did, you really have an opportunity to win. That is why we won. We really continued the running game with our defense and also with our offense. Amare Jones, I thought, had a phenomenal game, I thought we did an excellent job of getting him the ball and space numerous times and when that happens he does great things with the ball. Corey Dauphine had another really good game. Darius Bradwell, Cameron Carroll came in and ran well as well as Stephon Huderson and that all starts up front. Keyshawn McLeod who is a senior for us had an excellent game on the offensive line. Then defensively, Patrick Johnson had another good ball game. I thought our linebackers played tough. I thought our inside guys, Cameron Sample was one of the players in the game, De’Andre Williams played very tough up front. When you play those guys you have to be able to, you have to be able to stay on point. A lot of guys played well and I am proud of coming away with a win. Looking forward to this week’s game with Connecticut, back in league play, I always tell the guys that everyone one of these counts as one and we have to turn the page quickly and move on to the next one.”

On the hold on the fake punt play…

“Well he tackled the guy so it was good. It was something we worked on a bunch. We did not execute very well, we had an extra guy at the point so luckily they called what happened. Sometimes that does not happen.”

On an away win…

“Yeah when you go on the road and play a good team, it is tough and against that type of team you have to be extremely tough mentally and physically. Those guys up front, Cameron Sample, De’Andre Williams, Davon Wright, they can chop and caught every other play, that is just how they do it. If you sit around and whine about it, you will not play the next play hard. Those guys did a good job playing tough guy football.”

On comparing Amare Jones to Alvin Kamara…

“Yeah, there is a comparison there. I have said it a few times, the guy is probably sick of me saying it, but at one of my first jobs the head coach told the offensive coordinator, let’s get the fast guys the ball and the space. That has always resonated with me. If you get those fast guys the ball and the space, then something good will happen. No longer can that be with the running back just handing them the ball. You have to get the ball to them on the perimeter either by handing it off or passing it or running and handing it off to get it on the perimeter. We were trying to get the ball close on a couple of kick-returns. I think he touched the ball 15 times offensively and then another four times. One time the sun was in his eyes on a punt-return, I thought that would not happen, I thought he would have caught the ball and had about t20 yards of space and it would have been a big play. It is a good comparison and a good guy to be compared to.”

On Justin McMillan’s ball fakes…

“He is an excellent ball handler. He does a good job of faking and that is a really important part of the game that goes uncoached. Coach (Will) Hall does an excellent job of coaching him on it and Justin does a good job of executing it during practice. We have a lot of different ball handling that he has to do, there is spinning around to his right and to his left, faking it to a guy, handing it to another guy. Everyone has to be on point when we are doing that. You are right, he is an excellent ball handler.”

More on McMillan’s fakes…

“The other part of it is too when he gives the ball, acting like he has the ball, carrying out his fake, after he hands the ball off, now you get another the secondary on him and they lose leverage if we break through the second level. He does a good job of that and a lot of quarter backs are not very good at that.”

On having more time to prepare for Army…

“It definitely helped. That under-center triple option, we play it every year with Navy, so we are always working on that, particularly in the off-season during the summer a little bit. If we had not had that week off, we would have had to spend a lot of time of that during pre-season camp so our guys could have jumped right into it on game week. That was good. They had a week off too, another week to prepare a few things. There were a few wrinkles that they put in that we were not ready for, but that always happens and you have to be ready to adjust on the sidelines or out in the field.”

On the transition from playing a team like Army to more “conventional” play…

“We did some good on good during the week too, where we went against our offense. There are a lot of similarities with what our offense does and with what other teams do at least from a formation standpoint with the run game and pass game. In particular, with what UConn does.”

On if expectations are rising around campus with wins…

“That is one of the things we talked about on Monday, you have to turn the page and that is one of the things you have to do. I tell the guys you have to put the team first and that is hard these days with having people in your ear. The tendency is for people to get selfish, but we want to put the team first in everything we do. Number two is drowning out the noise and not worry about what others are saying. It has not been important until the last couple of weeks. I think our guys understand that, I really think if you sit and linger on past successes or failures you are not going to be the best you can be that following week. Hopefully this practice was not any different than after Auburn or after Army game, it all has to be the same preparation.”

On if the team is on par with expectations for this year…

“We have a long way to go. We talk about 1-0 every week, everyone does that. Do you really prepare that way? That is what we have to get the guys to do and I think they understand we have a lot of room for improvement, particularly with penalties, missed assignments, and we did not play very well in the kicking game, we did not finish the game. It should have been a different ball game, I bit my fingernails over there at the end of the game and I should not have had to do that. Our guys realize that though. One of the things I was proud of was after the game, our guys were disappointed. The coaches were disappointed, the players were disappointed, I had to rally everyone and tell them it is hard to win. Everyone is trying to win and there is a reason they have won fifteen home games in a row. They were 11-2 last season, they should have beat Michigan, they got beat in double overtime. They should have beat Ohio State last year in overtime. They are a good football team, be proud of it, but let’s not repeat these mistakes.”

On this position…

“You hope you are in that position, it is just the growth and maturity of the program.”

On significance of possibility of making Top 25…

“I think it would be significant. Anything we are getting right now is, you have been around a long time. Someone told me that this is the first time we have been 4-1 since 1998 and the last time before that was 1979. I have been 4-1 a bunch of times so that is why you have to drown out the noise and block it out. You can worry about all that stuff when the season is over.”

On whether he is used to this…

“Well, I have been doing this a long time. I said when I came to Tulane that I want to make Tulane a consistent winner year after year after year after year. We can do it here. We have so many pluses here. There is no reason why we cannot get it done.”

On what dictates who to get the ball to…

“It is tough. On our coach’s call sheet, he has that and he knows the amount of touches we would like each guy to get to, but then things change during the course of the game with injury or a play that is working, maybe one guy does a little better than the other. There are about four or five guys he would love to get touching the ball ten to fifteen times. And then some other guys five to 10. Then all of a sudden you are doing the math and you are up to 120. So you have to have unselfish due and when they get opportunities they have to take advantage of them, but usually it evens out in the course of the season.”

On if he was surprised when Army went for two…

“Both of us subscribe to the same analytics company and that is what they have. When there is 15, I agree one hundred percent, but the 9-7, with the time that was left in the game, that is what it tells you to do, and there are only a few situations where I do not follow the analytics to the T and that would be one of them. Sometimes I think 18-22 year olds, they lose hope and now you have to get the onside kick and all that other kind of stuff. You have to get two scores. There is not enough time in my opinion, but that is what it told us too.”

On the call being more complicated now…

“Yes, fourth quarter is different than first quarter and the second quarter and third quarter. And with how many scores and what is going to happen in the fourth quarter. Sometimes you look at the game and have to go off of the analytics because they could be the last score. It is a tough to get the ball in the end zone, other games you could score two or three more times in the fourth quarter.”

On whether the decision in last year’s Navy game was based on that…

“It told me that, but I thought extra point because we were playing at home. It was a gut call and we were having a tough time stopping them at that point in time so we went for two.”

On Jeffery Johnson…

“He will be able to play this week. He could have played last week, but he was about 85 percent, somewhere around there. He is ready to go. In that game you have to be able to push off both ways and it is so important for those defensive linemen to have quick movement. He will be good to go this week.”

Article sourced from provided press release.

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