Dominique Tovell has been a monster for the Ragin' Cajuns on defense, but he's not making excuses for everybody else.

It's hard to step in front of a microphone after a bad performance. South Alabama ran the ball against the Cajuns with effectiveness, thanks to a ton of missed tackles on defense. Coach Mark Hudpseth said the players were instructed to go for strips, which played a part. A lot of people were worrying if a lack of energy played a part.

Tovell wasn't going to take that cop out.

"I would never blame that on fatigue, we just missed tackles," Tovell said.

When given another opportunity to duck a tough question about their performance, Tovell stepped up again.

Coaches are the first people to blame when things go down the tubes. It's a "burn the witch" mentality in sports. Sometimes, it's simply not your fault.

There's no tackling drill to teach effort. No coach around can get inside your helmet and make you want it. Buying in is what athletic directors pay top dollar for, but sometimes the athletes still miss the mark when it comes to executing what they learned.

"When it comes down to tackling, you either want to or you don't," Tovell said.

Maybe Tovell is simply trying to be a leader. Harsh words often inspire a fiery response. As one of the leaders of this team, Tovell knows when to push buttons with his buddies. He just hopes those buttons get a response.

Teams don't like using the media as a tool, but sometimes they have to. Listen to this clear message one of the team captains sent.

"If we would have made those tackles, it probably would have been half that yardage in rushing, Tovell said.

He's a senior. It's his last year in vermilion and white. Can you blame him for being this candid?

New Mexico State should be a victory, but Tovell isn't taking any chances with missed tackles again. It won't be on his hands if the troupes don't follow lead. The proof is in the tape.