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Tulane Preview 2006 - Offense
Tulane Green Wave
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 6, 2006


Tulane Green Wave Preview 2006 - Tulane Offense

What you need to know ... The offense struggled way too much last season with no consistent ground game and not enough from the passing attack. This is a team built on getting into shootouts, and it wasn't able to keep pace. The talent is there at quarterback with Lester Ricard needing a bounce-back year, and he'll have targets to throw to with Preston Brown, Damarcus Davis, Brian King and Kenneth Guidroz all able to produce. Matt Forte is a nice-looking back who needs more work behind a line that can pass protect, but can't blow anyone off the ball.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Lester Ricard
166-323, 1,932 yds, 16 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Matt Forte
169 carries, 655 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Preston Brown
47 catches, 720 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Lester Ricard
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore OT Troy Kropog
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Brian King
Best pro prospect: Ricard
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ricard, 2) WR Preston Brown, 3) RB Matt Forte
Strength of the offense: Receivers, quarterbacks
Weakness of the offense:
Run blocking

Quarterbacks
There's plenty of talent here to get the offense moving, but it might take a little while to get back into the swing of things and get the 2004 momentum back. Lester Ricard has NFL potential and could quickly get back on the radar if he can lead the team to wins. Scott Elliott and Nick Cannon are experienced reserves with great arms.
The key to the unit: Move the chains and limit mistakes. Tulane likes to throw the ball, but the quarterbacks have to complete more than 52% of their passes and must cut down on the 16 interceptions.
Quarterback Rating: 7

Projected Starter
- Lester Ricard, Sr. - 166-323, 51%, 1,932 yds, 16 TD, 12 INT
With all the outside factors and the overall problems with the program last year, it can be forgiven if Ricard was one of the year's biggest disappointments. The 6-5, 222-pound senior has a rocket arm and the skills to potentially be even better than NFL first round draft picks J.P. Losman and Patrick Ramsey, but he pressed way too much last year trying to make things happen and was, at best, inconsistent. He bombed away for a ton of yards over the first half of the season, but the team wasn't winning so he was part of a rotation over the second half of the year. It's his job for the taking, and he needs to come up with steady, huge numbers to turnaround the woeful attack.

Top Backups
- Scott Elliott, Soph. - 48-92, 52%, 515 yds, 4 TD, 4 INT
While not the physically imposing player that Lester Ricard and Nick Cannon are, Elliott is a big-time passer with a great arm. He came in over the second half of the season and threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Rice, and got a little bit of work in three other games to try to move the offense, but he's the clear second-stringer going into this year.

- Nick Cannon, Sr. - 2-5, 49 yds
Cannon has the size and the talent to be a productive passer, but injuries were a problem early in his career and then he fell to the third man in the mix last season. He has enough experience to step in and start if needed.

Running Backs
Partly by offensive design and partly because of ineptitude, Tulane finished 114th in the nation in rushing averaging a mere 89 yards per game. Expect that to change a bit with Matt Forte looking good enough this spring to force more of a focus on the ground game. Jovon Jackson is gone, so it'll be up to Ray Boudreaux and the speedy Ade Tayo to fill in the role as the number two back.
The key to the unit: The yards per carry have to come up after averaging a mere 2.9 per try last season.
Running Back Rating: 5.5

Projected Starters
- Matt Forte, Jr. - 169 carries, 655 yds, 3.9 ypc, 4 TD, 23 catches, 163 yds, 7.1 ypc, 1 TD
After two decent seasons, the 6-1, 224-pound junior appears on the verge of a huge season. He proved to be a savior as a true freshman, and then he turned into the team's top runner last season with a steady campaign up until a 137-yard season finale against Southern Miss. With his hands and quickness, he should get the ball in his hands at least 25 times a game.

- Fullback Ade Tuyo, Jr. - 2 carries, 4 yards
A fullback in name only, the 5-11, 203-pound junior has 4.4 speed and isn't much of a blocker. He can play tailback at times and needs to get more involved in the offense to get him on the move with the ball in his hands.

Top Backups
- Ray Boudreaux, Jr. - 8 carries, 29 yes, 1 catch, 7 yards
Part fullback and part tailback, the 200-pound junior finished as the team's third leading rusher even with only eight caries. He has the speed to potentially be used as a kick returner.

- Fullback Ian Miller, Sr.
Now here's a pure fullback. Tulane, when it uses a fullback, often throws out a glorified extra tailback, but the 253-pound Miller is a pure blocker with the hands to be used in the passing game. He hasn't done anything over the last three seasons, and now he might be needed to get the ground game going.

Receivers
There's a great mix of experience, size and speed throughout the receiving corps with big Preston Brown back as a number one target and Damarcus Davis and Kenneth Guidroz providing the wheels to make more big plays. Brian King is a terrific prospect who should quickly become a major playmaker. The tight end situation is the most interesting with three great starting options. Jerome Landry is the biggest of the bunch, while Gabe Ratcliff and Justin Kessler are more like big wide receivers.
The key to the unit: More deep plays. All the experience and all the speed has to result in a more dangerous attack.
Receiver Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- Damarcus Davis, Sr. - 28 catches, 280 yds, 10 ypc, 3 TD
The most productive returning Tulane receiver, Davis has been a big part of the mix for the last three seasons with 17 starts and 65 career catches. He hasn't been that much of a deep threat so far, but he'll have to be playing at the outside X position. He has the speed to do it.

- Kenneth Guidroz, Jr. - 13 catches, 150 yds, 11.5 ypc
Able to do a little of everything well, the 6-3, 209-pound junior can play inside or out. His physical style makes him great for the Z position where he should grow into more of a factor.

- Preston Brown, Sr. - 47 catches, 720 yds, 15.3 ypc, 6 TD
Considered a top special teams performer, the 6-4, 232-pound Brown also turned into a third-team All-Conference USA receiver after leading the team in all receiving categories. He might not be all that fast, but he finds ways to make plays and showed the ability to catch the deep ball with a 68-yard touchdown against Rice.

- Tight end Jerome Landry, Sr. - 1 catch, 9 yds
Landry is still trying to bounce back from a serious knee injury a few years ago. At 6-4 and 260 pounds, he's the team's biggest tight end and will be the best blocker of the three playing the position.

Top Backups
- Brian King, Soph. - 15 catches, 189 yds, 12.6 ypc, 1 TD
On the verge of being the team's new receiving star, King had a nice freshman season making a few big catches early and getting his feet wet throughout the year. He'll be the starting H receiver when Tulane goes to four-wide sets and should grow into a top target in a big hurry.
- Fred Smith, Jr.
More of a kick returner than a receiver so far in his career, the 5-8, 183-pound junior is back after missing all of last year. He's lightning fast with the deep speed to push Damarcus Davis at the X position.
- Tight end Gabe Ratcliff, Jr. - 4 catches, 27 yds, 6.8 ypc
Ratcliff has a little bit of starting experience with most of his work coming on special teams. A phenomenal athlete, he'll be used this year as more of a receiver than Jerome Landy.
- Tight end Justin Kessler, Soph.
One of the team's best blends of size, speed, and athleticism, the 6-4, 234-pound sophomore was a high school sprinter who should become a field stretching tight end in the rotation.

Offensive Linemen
Tulane's front five struggled to get the running game going, but wasn't all that bad in pass protection. If the left side can step up and be consistent, things should be better thanks to the return of Donald Madlock at right guard and the expected emergence of young players like tackle Tyler Rice and center Michael Parenton to improve the overall talent level.
The key to the unit: Consistency for the ground attack. The line has to pave the way for more than 2.9 yards per carry and 979 rushing yards.
Offensive Line Rating: 5.5

Projected Starters
- OT Troy Kropog, Soph.
Kropog got a little bit of playing experience with two starts at right tackle last season. He's not huge, but the 6-4, 287-pounder is athletic and should grow into a decent pass blocker.
- OG Aryan Barto, Jr.
After missing all of last year, he 6-4, 262-pound junior will get the first crack at the left guard job. Because of his lack of bulk, he'll end up rotating with the 290-pound Travis Olexa.
- C Michael Parenton, Soph.
One of the team's bright young offensive stars, the 6-3, 292-pound Parenton earned All-Freshman honors after a surprisingly consistent season at right tackle. Now he'll move to the middle where he should be a steady anchor for the next three seasons.
- OG Donald Madlock, Sr.
Madlock banged up his shoulder last spring and was questionable for the start of the season. As it turned out, he missed the entire 2005 campaign after undergoing surgery, and now he's ready to roll. He has 22 starts at right guard and should be an instant boost to the line. The 295-pound senior is a strong run blocker.
- OT Derek Rogers, Sr.
Rogers has been a regular on the line for the last three seasons starting nine games last year at right tackle. Even though he has the size a 6-5 and 309 pounds, and has more than enough experience, he'll have to fight with Tyler Rice for the starting right tackle job.

Top Backups
- T Tyler Rice, RFr.
Rice has all the talent to be the team's top blocker over the next few seasons. He was a great recruit for the program with the talent to become an all-star pass protector. The 6-5, 285-pounder will battle with Derek Rogers for the right tackle job.
- C Percy Huff, Soph.
At 6-4 and 316 pounds, Huff is the biggest player on the line. He'll start out as a backup center, but he has too much bulk not to see a little time at guard.

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