Tulane's Curtis Johnson rewards team in unprecedented way

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday October 13, 2013

Curtis Johnson made a deal with his team, and he’s glad he’s going to have to stick to his word, doing something unheard of in college football.

Tulane defeated East Carolina 36-33 in triple overtime on Saturday. Johnson had told his players that if they won the game, they would get the whole following bye week off. Lo and behold, the Green Wave upset the 4-1 Pirates to move to 5-2 on the season.

I told them that if you won the game, they would get the week off, and all of a sudden, we won,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to stick to my word. I'm a man of my word. So they get a week off. I told them that anything goes, if they miss one class or are late, I'm just going to call them all in and roll them.

“It's a great victory. I just have to take my hats off to these coaches. Whatever we are paying them we aren't paying them enough. They just keep these guys together. We lost our quarterback, we lost (running back Orleans Darkwa), we lost (offensive lineman) Chris Taylor. It was just one after another. It was like a mash unit toward the end of this game.

“We get the momentum, we lose the momentum, and they just kept these guys together. All of a sudden, we are in a battle in overtime and we just kept plugging away. This kicker is sensational. The best kicker in the country."

Johnson came to Tulane from the New Orleans Saints. In the NFL, players sometimes get Monday and Tuesday off after a big win. A whole week? Imagine how fresh Tulane players will be and how hard they’re going to want to play for Johnson the next week when Tulane begins preparation for Tulsa.

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Johnson’s comment about his kicker isn’t just lip service. He backed it up.

ECU missed its field goal attempt to start the third overtime. What did Tulane do? They lined up for a 42-yard field goal on first down. The kick was good. You certainly don’t see that very often.

“Without a doubt I set up for the field goal on the first play, because when you have the best kicker in college football, that's what you do,” Johnson said. “I don't want to run a play, I don't want to do anything but make the kick and come in here and visit with you guys."

*** Listen to Tulane's radio announcer on the 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. "Coast-to-coast House call.  You gotta be kidding me.  He took the rope and he took it from Poydras to Girod (streets on opposite side of the Superdome)."

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 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 chris@coachingsearch.com.