Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tulane Green Wave Season Preview

STORYLINES
Tulane fielded one of the youngest teams in college football last season. The Green Wave has 34 sophomores on its roster this year. Head coach Curtis Johnson has won a Super Bowl title (in 2009 with the New Orleans Saints) and a BCS National Championship (in 2001 with Miami) as an assistant coach. Tulane, which won seven games in 2013, looks to bounce back from last year’s 3-9 campaign. 
OFFENSE 
Tulane returns nine offensive starters from last season. The Green Wave has its starting quarterback and top three rushers back for 2015. Tulane’s leading passer (QB Tanner Lee), rusher (RB Sherman Badie) and receiver (WR Teddy Veal) were all freshmen last season. Badie rushed for 688 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the top man in a talented backfield. Lee threw for 1,962 yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie last season and should benefit from his year of experience. OT Arturo Uzdavinis, a six-foot-seven, 307-pound tackle, has made 25 starts the last two years and leads a veteran offensive line. 
DEFENSE 
CB Parry Nickerson, another impact player as a freshman last year, registered six interceptions in 2014 and was named to the USA Today Freshman All-America Team. Nickerson joins S Darion Monroe to lead what should be one of the better defensive backfields in The American. Monroe had 73 tackles with two forced fumbles last year. LB Nico Marley registered 13.5 tackles for loss, good for second in the American Athletic Conference, in 2014. DE Royce LaFrance, who has started 24 games at defensive end, leads an experienced defensive line that has three returning starters. LaFrance had a team-high 5.5 sacks in 2014. 
SPECIAL TEAMS 
P Peter Picereli is a senior who averaged 37.8 yards on 71 punts last season. K Andrew DiRocco made eight field goals in 14 attempts as the Green Wave struggled to find consistency in the kicking game last season. RB Dontrell Hilliard was the primary kickoff returner last season (15.3 ypr), while Teddy Veal handled punt returns (4.6 ypr).

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