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Tulane Preview 2006
Tulane Green Wave
Posted Aug 6, 2006

No team had to face what Tulane had to deal with last season when it came to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina leading to the nomadic season with 11 road games. And it's not like all the problems are going to magically go away now that the team has a home again.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Four coaches lost their homes, several players are still dealing with the aftermath with their families still trying to pick up the pieces, and the facilities are still being rebuilt. A major rebuilding job will also have to be done for a team that, understandably, didn't do much of anything last year.

2005 was supposed to be when the payoff was supposed to come after wading through a few years of inexperience and youthful mistakes, but obviously, that didn't happen. Now almost the entire defensive back seven has new faces, and the once proud offense has to find its mojo after having a nightmare of a time coming up with a clutch play.

Head coach: Chris Scelfo
8th year: 33-49
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 18, Def. 21, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 16
Ten Best Tulane Players
1. QB Lester Ricard, Sr.
2. CB/KR Israel Route, Sr.
3. RB Matt Forte, Jr.
4. P Chris Beckman, Sr.
5. DE Antonio Harris, Jr.
6. WR Preston Brown, Sr.
7. C Michael Parenton, Soph.
8. WR Kenneth Guidroz, Jr.
9. WR Brian King, Soph.
10. DT Alvin Johnson, Jr. 

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: coming

9/9 at Houston
9/16 at Mississippi State
9/23 at LSU
9/30 SMU
10/7 Rice
10/14 at UTEP
10/21 at Auburn
10/28 Army
11/4 at Marshall
11/11 Southern Miss
11/18 UCF
11/24 at Tulsa

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 2-9

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/17 Miss State L 21-14
9/24 at SMU W 31-10
10/1 SE Louisiana W 28-21
10/8 Houston L 35-14
10/14 UTEP L 45-21
10/22 at UCF L 34-24
10/29 Marshall L 27-26
11/5 at Navy L 49-21
11/12 at Rice L 42-34
11/19 Tulsa L 38-14
11/26 at Southern Miss L 26-7

However, as bad as last season was on the field with an average of only 321 yards per game and allowing 31.6 points per outing, there's hope for a big turnaround. Quarterback Lester Ricard has next-level talent and an experienced receiving corps to work with, Matt Forte is a great back who should be productive with more touches, and the defensive line has the potential to be night-and-day better with good size and plenty of experience.

And, o
f course, there will be a true home field advantage again with games scheduled to be played in the Superdome starting September 30th. It wasn't just that Tulane had to play all its games in different venues last season, it was that there was no continuity to the season. Now, at least, there will be a stretch of three home games in four weeks over the second half of the year to bring back some normalcy.

It would be the story of the college football season if Tulane was able to win the Conference USA title, but it's likely a year away from being back in the hunt for anything significant. That can't mean this can't be a successful season with a shot at going to a bowl game if everything breaks the right way.

The Schedule: Starting off with a three game road trip to Houston, Mississippi State, and LSU won't be pretty for a team that needs time to jell. The rest of the away games are awful playing at UTEP, Auburn, Marshall and Tulsa, but playing SMU, Rice and Army at home should ensure at better record than last year.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Lester Ricard. He was looking like the next big thing in 2004 before suffering a wrist injury. Due to a variety of reasons, he struggled throughout last year throwing too many interceptions and having problems keeping the offense moving. If Tulane is going to bounce back, Ricard has to be tremendous.

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Israel Route. He's not that big at only 5-9 and 184 pounds and he's a stronger kick returner than a corner, but he's very fast and is the only returning starter in the back seven. He'll have to be a top playmaker for Tulane to be close to having the 13th best pass defense again.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore LB Jordan Ellis. Replacing star linebacker Anthony Cannon and his 437 career tackles won't happen, but Ellis has to be an anchor of the small, inexperienced linebacking corps. Ellis is a 235-pound quick defender who should finish among the top three tacklers.

The season will be a success if ... Tulane wins six games. It's not going to be easy with seven road games that the Green Wave will likely be underdogs in. It's going to require being nearly perfect at home and getting a road upset to get to .500.

Key game: Sept. 9 at Houston. A win over the Cougars in the season opener wouldn't just be a confidence booster after a miserable season, it would be a win over a division foe and give Tulane a legitimate shot at starting the Conference USA season 3-0 with home games against SMU and Rice up next.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: Opponents 76 for 681 yards - Tulane 59 for 532 yards
- Field goals: Tulane 4 of 6 - Opponents 9 of 17
- Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 25 - Tulane 9

The Last Time Tulane…
…played in a bowl game…2002 (Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1997 (UL-Lafayette)
…was shutout…2002 (Texas)
…scored 50 points…2004 (UAB)        
…went undefeated…1998
…won a conference title…1998 (C-USA)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2003 (J.P. Losman)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2002 (Mewelde Moore)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Roydel Williams)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (QB J.P. Losman)

Related Stories
Tulane Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 6, 2006
Tulane Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 6, 2006
Tulane Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 6, 2006

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