Tulane Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Tulane Green Wave
Posted Aug 6, 2006

Tulane Green Wave Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – In the rearview mirror – Surviving a football season, be it one at the Pop Warner level or in the NFL, is a lot tougher for players and coaches than anyone might actually realize.  Earlier mornings and late evenings for coaches until they can’t see straight.  Hour long meetings that eventually put players to sleep.  Class all day, meetings, lifting, practice, film sessions – it’s a schedule that the ‘common man’ will never be able to comprehend.  Well, there’s ‘common men’ and then there’s Tulane Green Wave football players and coaches.  Former players and coaches often share their stories of woe when they sit down for a cold pop in the off-season, but there isn’t one coach or player who has one ounce of comprehension for what the Green Wave experienced last season.  They said the right things – “It’s about family”.  “It’s about blocking and tackling”.  “It’s still just football, right?”.  Yeah, guys, you’re right, eventually it’s about all those things, but it’s the little things that were lost that mean so much to college football players.  After that game is over, having the opportunity to go back to your apartment or your house to revel in a big win or cry in your soda after a huge loss isn’t something to take for granted – you couldn’t help but ask what was normal for these guys ever again.  The season finished with eight straight losses, but there wasn’t one game that these guys lost last year.  Not one.  They deserved all of kudos and awards that they received after what they went through, but here’s the hard part…it’s behind them.  It’s another season.  Like the football program that they are, there’s another game.  There’s another contest.  There’s another win to be had.  There’s another season.  More recruits to garner.  Off-season workouts to build the 2006 team into shape needed to take place.  Chris Scelfo may have an easier job getting the Green Wave back up to a consistent bowl game level, than he did getting his team on the field last season.  But, that’s the pressure he wants.  The Green Wave should be in the hunt for a C-USA crown.  Maybe not this year, but they need to compete and be competitive every weekend.  Only then will Tulane football be back to some sense of normalcy.  If such a thing actually exists.

2nd and Seven – The Cannon was shot for the final time – Although the Green Wave didn’t get much publicity for their play on the field last season, it wasn’t for a lack of effort by linebacker Anthony Cannon, Tulane’s fourth leading career tackler and four time 100 tackle per season star.  Cannon wasn’t alone, though.  Fellow linebackers Brandon Spincer and Antonio Mason combined for 113 tackles alongside Cannon, but the three of them are out of eligibility and three newbies will take over at linebacker this fall.  The defensive line has talent and experience up front, so Terrence Peterson, James Dillard and Jordan Ellis will have some help and a major advantage.  But, with no more Cannon blasts, this trio will have a huge bull's-eye on their chests this fall.

3rd and Three – The Green Wave’s Forte – Some characterize him as a slasher, but 6’1”, 225 pound running back Matt Forte is ready to pound anyone that gets in the way of him being the starting running back this fall.  He was the team’s leading rusher last season, but now as the unabated number one guy on the depth chart, he should have a 240 carry, 1,200 yard season.  He’s got nimble feet and is a one cut runner, but eventually, as a defender, you have to bring this big fella to the ground.  That isn’t real fun to tackle in the fourth quarter.  He catches the ball well out of the backfield, but it’ll be how hard he punishes C-USA defenses for a full 60 minutes that could determine the fate of the Green Wave running game, a unit that accounted for only 89 yards per game last year, 112th in the nation.

4th and One – No fly zone – Although most teams found that they could run the ball effectively against the Green Wave last season, part of the reason they looked to stay on the ground was the fact that the Tulane secondary was very good.  They finished the year as one of the best secondaries in the nation, giving up only 179 yards per game through the air.  The Green Wave defensive line has some talent and should provide some push up the middle to help this back four, but they should fare well enough on their own.  Israel Route is a corner who could rack up All-CUSA honors by season’s end and Jeremy Foreman is a solid contributor on the other side.  Talented strong safety Tra Boger will have to be replaced, but this is a respectable unit, top to bottom, so expect more of the same from the Green Wave this fall in the secondary.

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