Curtis Johnson: 'We're the same Tulane we've been'
Although the Green Wave are tied for first place in the Conference USA West Division and have been one of the nice surprises to the 2013 college football season, coach Curtis Johnson has much higher expectations.
“The first day we got back, Sunday, the first thing we talked about was, your mother’s going to tell you how good you are, your dad, your coaches, all the people in school, your girlfriend,” he said during a press conference following the team's bye week. “I told them they’ve got more girlfriends now than they’ve ever had. Everybody’s telling them how good they are. Well, my wife tells me, ‘Honey, you guys are so great.’
“No, we’re not. We’re the same Tulane team we’ve been. We’ve just got to continue to work. We’re not there yet. What we need to do is continue to work, continue to improve, continue playing hard. When this thing is over in January, when I give them about an hour off, we can look back and just have an hourlong party. Then we’ll start again for next year.”
Prior to Tulane's off week, it came away with a huge win over East Carolina (36-33) in overtime. The Green Wave were without starting quarterback Nick Montana, who sat out the entire game with a shoulder injury.
Opposing quarterback Shane Carden—who has proven to be one of the best mid-major quarterbacks in the country—threw for 480 yards, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown and a missed 42-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
Despite the team's three-game winning streak against conference opponents, Johnson has been quick to point out that there is still football to be played and lots of work to be done.
“The goal is really shortsighted,” he said. “We talk about one day, one step at a time. The one thing I want to guard against is reflections. I don’t want reflections halfway through the season. We can reflect after this whole thing is over.
"It’s one game, one play, one practice. Let’s just keep going and keep doing that. When you’ve got a young team, you don’t want to be longsighted. You want to be shortsighted. You want to play the game that’s right in front of you.”
Tulane hasn't beaten Tulsa—the incumbent C-USA champion—since 1968.
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