Curtis Johnson: 'Our players have more girlfriends now than they've ever had'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday October 23, 2013

Tulane is 5-2 under second-year coach Curtis Johnson, already more than doubling the win total of last season’s 2-10 campaign.

The Green Wave are getting love. They were one of our 10 biggest surprises in college football this season.

But as players got back from a full week off from football, Johnson had the same message for them as he had for his wife.

“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. “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.”

Johnson has wanted to build up fan support in the New Orleans community for his team, and he knows that only comes with winning. He's starting to see it. 

“The product will speak for itself,” he said. “If we continue to play good defense and continue to play special teams really well, this offense is going to come around in the second half of the season. Then, as we get going and continue to win, winning breeds that fan base.

“I told them last year we had this little fake bandwagon sitting over here with nobody on it. Then, all of a sudden, we got about three or four people. Now, we’ve got about 10 people on the bandwagon. As we get going, hopefully by the end of the year, we need two bandwagons.”

At this point in the season, media will make midseason reflections. We did that by calling Tulane a surprise. Johnson doesn’t want any looking back until the year is over.

“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.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to