Nov. 24, 2012
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tony Levine
"I told the team just now in the locker room that this was a challenging season and there were some disappointments but I am proud of how they finished. I'm proud of the way they did it this week. I'm proud of our seniors, for the pride they have in our program and finishing the last game in Robertson Stadium.
What I saw out there this afternoon were some young men playing their final game in a Houston uniform, making a bunch of plays to help us win and giving us leadership that we needed to finish this season with a victory. I also saw a lot of things that are encouraging for our program in the immediate future. Phillip Steward had an interception, Ronnie Williams had a couple touchdowns, Matt Hogan had roughly four field goals and the list goes on.
With our young guys, Ryan Jackson had his best game of the season and Eric Eiland is a 24-year-old walk-on and true freshman. He made some great plays out there for us. Trevon Stewart had his first interception of the season. Adrian McDonald forced a fumble and recovered it. We made the decision about six or seven weeks ago to take his redshirt off and play him and he has gotten better every game.
I'm encouraged moving forward. I just told this to Chuck Brown in the radio interview when he asked what I am most looking forward to most now with these young players. I said that I'm looking forward to getting them even bigger, faster and stronger. The future is incredibly bright. What happened today with our performance and getting a win gives us some momentum in recruiting which continues tomorrow and into the offseason for the guys who are coming back."
On Green Wave defense
"Tulane was one of the only teams we've seen this year who has played press man coverage. We felt like we had some match ups, specifically with Deontay Greenberry, that we could take advantage of. We were able to get him in some one-on-one situations and really let him work. We missed him a couple of times, and we wanted to take our shots and get him involved early which I think we did effectively. They made a few adjustments after we went to that in playing the safety a little more and favoring him. We were able to get it into some other guy's hands; Dewayne Peace and Ronnie Williams."
On if offensive preparation changed this week
"Every week the offense wants it badly. And their preparation wasn't a whole lot different. If anything, we had other guys who had to play significant roles. Ryan Jackson had to step in for Charles Sims and then we lost Kenneth Farrow. Braxton Welford who is a 28-year-old walk-on had to play more for us in the backfield. He did a great job blocking for us to free Ronnie on the long runs. Up front, three of our four captains didn't play. The preparation was the same. They always prepare well, they always want to play well, hard and win. When you look at some of the drives where we stalled, there was an incomplete pass on first and 10 that created a second and long or a sack on first and 10 which means second and 16. Turnovers normally dictate who wins the game and efficiency on first down normally dictates third down percentage. We've had examples of that all year. Coming full circle, I've liked their preparation all year. I liked it this week and we had some guys step up and make plays."
On when he and the players knew D.J. Hayden would be at today's game
"I went and visited him in the hospital on Friday and they weren't sure when I was there if and when he would be out. I told him on Friday to text me if he knew something. When I came back from breakfast and meetings this morning around 11 a.m., I had a text from D.J. saying, `I'll be there.' When we had our team meeting prior to coming to the stadium, I told our players that this game is about our senior class. I had our seniors stand up and I told them that there is a senior who's not here at the hotel who will not be at the game and they all knew. That's when they found out."
On dedicating the jerseys to D.J. Hayden
"They made that decision the week of the injury. We knew we wanted to do something special for him in the remaining games. For homecoming we put No. 2 on the helmets and for today's game we had `Hayden' on the back of every jersey."
On emotions about having D.J. at the game
"it was extremely special. I remember Coach Sumlin describing his emotions to me on senior day when he stood by the tunnel and shook hands and embraced the seniors as they ran out for their last home game. I'm an emotional person and I try to block it out especially for this week and preparation and recruiting. I told the seniors last night in our team meeting that if it hasn't hit them now it would hit them at some point tomorrow. I knew it hit me and it really did having to say goodbye to them. I've recruited a bunch of these young men and I've seen them grow since they were 17. Specifically D.J. and what he has meant to this team and this program, the example he has set for the younger players and the lives he has touched. For the timing to work out so that he could be here today, the emotions were running high. Every time I looked back and had to hug another senior it was like looking back and picturing something about that senior. We had Dominic Miller get engaged right before kickoff and for D.J. to be here and see his mom and dad on the field was extremely special to me and to our team."
On final thoughts around coaching the last game in Robertson Stadium
"I've said this all week and I truly mean it that it's mixed emotions. I've got great memories of the five years I've been here; great games and great individual performances. We've been a part of a lot of those great moments in Robertson. Statistically, Robertson being one of the toughest places for opponents to come in and be successful, it will be sad to see that go. I think as you look forward two years from now to have a brand new facility on campus will be exactly what the University needs. It's going to be one of the nicest stadiums in the country. There will be a lot of excitement generated moving forward. I think everybody is excited about what's to come."
REDSHIRT SENIOR QUARTERBACK Crawford Jones
On his thoughts at the end of the game
"It hasn't hit me yet, but I sat there and enjoyed it. For now, I'm just enjoying the moment."
On first career win as a starter
"I wanted to break even. I had a start least week where I wasn't able to pull out the win, but I definitely wanted to take this one for so many reasons. Getting my first start at home and it being the last game ever at Robertson Stadium has really been a blessing. Just to be able to come through with all of this has been great."
On DJ being at Senior Day
"It's been amazing to see how far he's come in the past two weeks. You forget it happened barely two weeks ago. Just getting to see him out there, you wish like heck he'd be out there playing with you. With him cheering on his team really speaks volume about his character and how great of a teammate he is. If anyone needed any extra motivation, I definitely think they found it there."
On Tulane's defense
"We definitely got off to a quick start, and that was one of the things we needed to do this week. We were able to hit some things quick in the first two drives. They had a really good defense. I don't think their record showed how talented they are. We had a really good start, which helped out the entire game."
SENIOR LINEBACKER Phillip Steward
On his thoughts at the end of the game
"I looked up and I said `It's over with.' It still hasn't really hit me that it's over."
"We knew up front that if we put pressure on the quarterback and made him make bad decisions, we could get our hands on a couple of balls. We did a great job of doing that today."
On DJ being at Senior Day
"This morning he texted me saying `Good luck' and I said `I wish you were here', so seeing him come out there with his uniform on was like an extra spark to go out there and play hard."
REDSHIRT SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER Ronnie Williams
On DJ being at Senior Day
"It was actually a relief to see him moving around because the last time I saw him was in the hospital. For him to come Senior Day was pretty special."
On the team's performance during the game
"It was pretty much us not giving them much time. Crawford got the offense going, and I just made sure I made the plays."
On playing in the last game at Robertson Stadium
"I have mixed emotion. I enjoyed it, and it's been a blessing to be here."
TULANE HEAD COACH CURTIS JOHNSON
"We came out very flat today and didn't play well at all. Houston has a great team. Coach Levine prepared them to play today. They are extremely fast and have a sensational running back [Kenneth Farrow]. Their defense is extremely hard hitting and physical. We were just outmatched today."
"They are a great team. Their quarterback played extremely well and their first-string running back [Kenneth Farrow] was great. Their second-string running back was very fast and we couldn't keep up. They had a game plan today and executed it throughout the entire game. They turned us into a very one dimensional football team. They were able to stop the run, so we had to pass more which allowed them to create more opportunities for themselves."
On the turnovers
"You can't turn the ball over especially against a team like Houston. It doesn't matter what sport you play, you can't turn the ball over. Offensively, we did a bad job of maintaining possession. When you put yourself in a bad position you give the other team the ball with a short field. You have to give them credit, they are a great football team."