Preview 2009 - Offense
2009 CFN Tulane Preview
2009 CFN Tulane Offense
2009 CFN Tulane
2009 Tulane Depth
2008 Tulane Preview
2007 Tulane Preview
What you need to know:
Head coach Bob Toledo’s on-going quest for balance and big plays
on offense continues to come up short. The Green Wave had one of
the nation’s feeblest offenses a year ago, averaging below 17
points a game and regressing as the season wore on. Of course,
it didn’t help losing RB Andre Anderson and WR Jeremy Williams,
a couple of all-star-caliber players, to injuries midway through
the campaign. Without its best playmakers, Tulane had no
answers, lacking the depth to dent even sub par defenses, like
Rice or Tulsa. Well, the good news around New Orleans is that
both seniors are healthy again, eyeing 2009 as one final chance
to impress NFL scouts. Seeking a spark at quarterback, Toledo
has given a tacit nod to sophomore Joe Kemp, the best
combination of passing and running skills on the roster.
Passing: Kevin Moore
187-334, 2,194 yds, 8 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Andre Anderson
174 carries, 864 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Jeremy Williams
27 catches, 437 yds, 5 TD
Star of the
Junior WR Jeremy Williams
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB
Kevin Moore or redshirt freshman Joe Kemp
Unsung star on the rise: Junior RB Andre Anderson
Best pro prospect: Williams
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Williams, 2), Senior G
Michael Parenton 3) Senior T Troy Kropog
Strength of the offense: The receivers, the left side of
Weakness of the offense: The passing game, inexperience
in the backfield
Projected Starter: The heated
spring battle at quarterback has produced a front-runner heading into the
summer. Sophomore Joe Kemp nudged
ahead of the incumbent with his performance, despite playing sparingly a year
ago. A 6-4, 215-pound playmaker, he brings more athleticism and foot speed to
the position, providing a jolt of energy that this offense has been lacking. He
was actually headed in the right direction a year ago before a late hit and
broken collarbone ended his season. He finished 26-of-46 for 344 yards, two
touchdowns and a pick in five appearances.
Projected Top Reserves: If 6-5,
239-pound junior Kevin Moore is going
to regain the job he had throughout all of 2008, he’ll have to come from behind
to get it. Now No. 2 on the depth chart behind Kemp, he’s struggled to excel in
the West Coast offense. Despite having good arm strength and surprising agility,
when given the ball a year ago, he could only manage to go 187-of-334 for 2,194
yards, eight touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Pulling up the rear in the pecking order is 6-5, 215-pound redshirt freshman
Ryan Griffin, who benefited by being
a part of the competition in the spring. He has the natural ability and good
pocket presence to someday pilot this offense, but he has a lot of learning to
do before closing the gap on Kemp and Moore.
Watch Out For… Kemp to
maintain his view atop the depth chart. Had it not been for the injury against
Houston, all signs pointed to him unseating Moore at some point in the second
half of the year. He played this spring with the confidence and the poise of a
quarterback, who plans on being under center when Tulsa visits Sept. 4.
Strength: Downfield passers.
With Kemp, Moore, and Griffin filling the slots on the depth chart, the Green
Wave has three strong-armed hurlers, who can reach the team’s fastest receivers.
Their ability to stretch a defense should open things up for the short and
There’s a reason why Tulane was 10th in Conference USA and 96th
nationally in passing efficiency a year ago. Moore was simply unable to string
together back-to-back crisp performances, posting just two multiple-touchdown
games against defensively-challenged SMU and Rice.
Outlook: In a recurring theme
since J.P. Losman graduated, Tulane is hunting for a quarterback to build the
offense—and the program—around. Kemp gets first dibs at being that guy, but
he’ll have a short leash, especially with a veteran and former starter looking
over his shoulder. Ideally, head coach Bob Toledo won’t have to hold auditions
at quarterback for another three years.
Projected Starters: Had it not
been for dislocated shoulder suffered in October, you might know the name
Andre Anderson. In his first year as
a starter, the 6-0, 212-pound senior was among the nation’s leading rushers,
having racked up 864 yards and seven touchdowns on 174 carries and adding.
Before getting hurt, he had two 200-yard efforts in his previous three games,
getting recognized as a Doak Walker Award candidate. A powerful downhill runner,
he’ll shed arm tackles and rarely get taken down for minus yards. If he stays
healthy and gets some support from the line, an opportunity in the NFL could
follow in 2010.
Sophomore Kasey Stelly is trying to
hold on to the fullback job he held for half of his first season before injuring
his foot. Mainly a lead blocker, who’ll catch the occasional pass, the 6-1,
244-pounder figures to be one of the selfless cogs in the running game.
Projected Top Reserves:
Anderson’s caddy this season will be 5-9, 212-pound sophomore
J.T. McDonald, who debuted with 124 yards and three touchdowns on 37
carries. A punishing inside back, who runs with good pad level, he has the
inside track to get a handful of carries when Anderson needs a blow.
Will 5-11, 178-pound sophomore Albert
Williams be ready for the start of the season? The Green Wave certainly
hopes so. He’s trying to come back from an MCL tear in the same knee that scared
away a bunch of colleges when he was in high school. Before the injury, he’d run
for 109 yards and a score on just 17 carries, showing some giddyup in the open
The man Stelly is trying to fend off at fullback is 6-2, 262-pound
Antoine Duplessis. He brings the
size, power, and road-grading skills as a blocker to pave the way for Anderson
and the other tailbacks. A decent athlete for his size, he’ll be used in short
yardage and as an occasional receiver.
Watch Out For… the rookies to
get a chance for immediate reps. While the coaches would prefer to take it slow
with top recruits Stephen Barnett and
Payten Jason, they may have no choice
but to burn at least one of their redshirts in order to bolster depth.
Strength: Anderson. He showed
enough in seven games to be considered a workhorse type runner and one of the
best backs in Conference USA. His injury was above the waist, rather than below
it, so he should pick up where he left off a year ago.
Weakness: Depth. After Anderson
got hurt last October, the Tulane running game simply disappeared. He better
stay healthy for 12 games, or else a similar fate could strike a backfield that
has few slam-dunk options down the depth chart.
Outlook: Some programs take
years to replace a player like Matt Forte, who rushed for 2,000 yards in his
Green Wave swan song. Tulane appears to have already done it with Anderson, a
big-time runner with a chance to catch the attention of pro scouts as a senior.
If the line does its job, he’s capable of going for 1,500 yards and catching 40
Projected Starters: Senior
flanker Jeremy Williams is to the
receiving corps what Andre Anderson is to the backfield, a dynamite talent
making his way back from a season-ending injury. A force through the first five
games, he’d caught 27 passes for 437 yards and five touchdowns before a hand
injury proved to be the only thing that could stop him. A physical 6-1,
205-pounder, he’s shown a knack for making plays in traffic and picking up extra
yards in traffic.
Williams’ partner at split end will be 5-11, 177-pound junior
Casey Robottom, a part-time starter a
year, who’s about to get a promotion. To stay atop the depth chart, however,
he’ll have to make more plays than a year ago, when 12 games and six starts
produced just 16 catches for 203 yards and a score. Doing a better job of
breaking the jam off the line is one of his main priorities.
Tulane likes to make use of the tight end, but the primary player at the
position has yet to be determined. Junior
Cody Sparks enters the year with the most experience, having started three
games in 2008 and finishing fourth on the team with 20 catches for 245 yards. At
6-4 and 239 pounds, he won’t level many defenders on run downs, but is effective
as another pass-catching option.
Projected Top Reserves: If he
can’t unseat Robottom at split end, 6-3, 168-pound junior
Alan Mitchell will be the first man off the bench and a key player
in three-wide sets. A tall, lanky target, he’s the most physically gifted
receiver this side of Williams. In eight appearances a year ago, he caught 20
passes for 224 yards and a touchdown, numbers he should have no problem
surpassing this fall.
The other half of the tight end battle is 6-5, 239-pound junior
Tyler Helm. While still somewhat raw,
he has the physical tools to be a genuine weapon once he gets more reps. Long
and lean, he has improving ball skills and the ability to elevate above
linebackers and pluck balls out of the air like a power forward.
Watch Out For… incoming
freshman D.J. Banks. It was obvious
last year, when Williams went down, and this spring, when he rested, that the
Green Wave has serious depth issues at wide receiver. Banks is a speedy
playmaker, who was not recruited to spend his first year looking on from the
sidelines. He’s going to play right away.
Strength: Williams. Not just
the centerpiece, he’s the heart and soul of the passing attack. Last fall was
proof that when he was in the lineup, he’s one of the league’s most dangerous
wideouts. And when he was out of the lineup, the Green Wave was eminently
Weakness: Beyond Williams.
After Williams, there’s no one in this corps of receivers, who’s going to strike
fear into opposing defensive backfields. Mitchell flashed some potential at the
end of 2008, but he still has to prove he can excel when No. 20 is drawing most
of the attention.
Outlook: For now, this is a
one-man gang. Williams is going to get his grabs, but for the group to elevate
together, it needs at least one other play to complement the star and deflect
some attention. It’ll be worth keeping a pulse on Banks, who has the physical
tools to be that guy very early in his Green Wave career.
Projected Starters: The
offensive line didn’t just lose two starters from a year ago. It lost its two
best blockers. Michael Parenton and Troy Kropog were all-stars, the latter
landing on the first team and being selected in the fourth round by the
Tennessee Titans. Taking Kropog place at left tackle will be 6-8, 306-pound
junior Pete Hendrickson, who started
all 12 games on the right side a year ago. Still an unfinished product, he has
the size, reach, and agility to eventually grow into a capable backside pass
Hendrickson’s old job is expected to be filled by 6-7, 295-pound senior
Nick Landry, a veteran of 28 games
and eight starts, including a half-dozen a year ago. While he doesn’t play with
ideal leverage and can get knocked off his base, his experience in the system
gives him an edge over the rising underclassmen.
Taking over for Parenton at center will be 6-1, 296-pound junior
Andrew Nierman, who has started the last 24 games at right guard. Arguably the
toughest and most talented of the Green Wave linemen, he’s technically sound,
with the heavy hands and good leverage to stand up and push back opposing
linemen. It’s about time he starts getting some all-conference recognition.
There’s less certainty at the guard spots. On the right side, 6-4, 292-pound
senior Tyler Rice is clinging to the
top spot on the depth chart. In and out of the lineup the last two years, he’s
played multiple positions, but is better suited on the inside, where his limited
range cannot be exposed. Also one of the smartest players on the line, he won’t
hurt the offense with blown assignments.
The youngest member of the line is 6-4, 300-pound sophomore
Harris Howard, who has the inside
track at left guard and a high ceiling. Despite being young and inexperienced,
he performed better than expected a year ago, earning starts in the final five
games of the season.
Projected Top Reserves: The
veteran among the guards is 6-3, 322-pound
John Landa, a battle-tested senior
providing insurance and guidance to the developing Howard. A north-south
blocker, with limited range, he’s at his best when he can lock on to a lineman
and drive him in reverse.
Coming out of spring, 6-6, 302-pound Eric
Jones was listed as the backup tackle on the left and right side, meaning
he’s going to be a part of the rotation. He earned a letter and valuable
experience with six appearances in 2008, laying the groundwork for what could be
a starting nod by 2010.
Watch Out For… Nierman to
become the new leader of the line. While he took on more of a compliant role the
last two years, he’s about to become more visible and vocal now that Kropog and
Parenton have graduated. He has the type of personality that commands respect
and gets the attention of his teammates.
Strength: Run blocking. When
they’ve got a quality back to create holes for, these linemen have excelled at
run blocking for the past two years. Remember, before getting injured and being
lost for the year, Andre Anderson was getting all kinds of running room and was
among the country’s leading rushers.
Weakness: The guards. Howard is
still young and Rice has proven to be a journeyman throughout his career. The
Green Wave desperately needs Howard to blossom in his second season because he
has the greater upside of the pair.
Outlook: You don’t get better
by losing your starting left tackle and center, something the Green Wave will
realize this fall. Against average defensive fronts, this line will be fine, but
against quick, ornery lines, it’s going to struggle holding blocks.