CoogFans' Opponent Preview - Tulane

Barring another barrage of injuries, Tulane simply has to be better this year than they were in 2008. That might not mean a bowl game, but it should mean four or five wins.

Tulane Green Wave
Conference USA

2008 Record: (2-10, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Bob Toledo (6-18 at Tulane, 84-86 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dan Dodd
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Stanard

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Andre Anderson, RB, 864 yards
Passing: Kevin Moore, QB, 2,150 yards
Receiving: Jeremy Williams, 437 yards
Tackles: Corey Sonnier, S, 86
Sacks: Logan Kelley, LB, 7.0
Interceptions: Travis Burks, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: S Chinoso Echeblem, CB Charles Harris, G Pete Hendrickson, LB David Kirksey, DE Adam Kwentua, OT Nick Landry, C Andrew Nierman, WR Casey Robottom, DE Reggie Scott, TE Cody Sparks, K/P Ross Thevenot
Key Losses: LB Devin Holland, TE Justin Kessler, WR Brian King, OT Troy Kropog, LB Evan Lee, CB Josh Lumar, C Michael Parenton, DT Julian Shives-Sams, S David Skehan

Year two at Tulane started out pretty well for Coach Bob Toledo. His team was building off of a relatively successful 4-7 season heading into 2008. And things looked good early last year too. Tulane had close losses against Alabama and East Carolina, who was everybody's darling at the time. Then the Green Wave pulled off two wins in a row, but those ended up to be their only two wins of the year.

Strengths:
The biggest reason for the sudden drop off was the loss of running back Andre Anderson and wide receiver Jeremy Williams to injury. Those two were the heart and soul of the offense and the team was never the same again. If those two can stay healthy, Tulane will be a much, much more dangerous team offensively. Quarterback Kevin Moore had his lumps during his sophomore campaign, but he is an upperclassman now and must start making better decisions and become a leader on and off the field, although Joe Kemp will compete for the starting job in the fall. Like the rest of the team, Moore started strong, but pretty much packed it in by the end of the year. This is a group that needs some positive momentum and they can get it if Anderson and Williams are healthy enough to provide it.

Weaknesses:
When the offense went bad, the defense regressed as well. The rushing defense was simply awful, allowing the opposition to run for 218.4 yards per game. And, believe it or not, that includes the game against Alabama when the Tide were held to under 100 yards on the ground. By the end of the year, the defense seemed to stop caring. The front four returns some talented players like Adam Kwentua, Logan Kelley and Reggie Scott and those three have to get into the backfield and stop the run. The run defense needs some help from the linebackers and they might not find it now that Evan Lee and Devin Holland are gone. The secondary ranked tops in the conference a year ago, but that is mostly because the opposition had no need to throw the ball when they could simply run to victory. However, it is still the secondary, led by strong safety Corey Sonnier, that is the best unit on this defense.

The Bottom Line:
Barring another barrage of injuries, Tulane simply has to be better this year than they were in 2008. That might not mean a bowl game, but it should mean four or five wins. Anything less than that and the Coach Toledo experiment in New Orleans might be coming to a quick end.

2008 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 118.42 (93rd in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 221.25 (52, 8)
Total Offense: 339.67 (80, 9)
Scoring Offense: 16.67 (112, 11)
Rushing Defense: 218.42 (113, 11)
Pass Defense: 172.83 (14, 1)
Total Defense: 391.25 (84, 6)
Scoring Defense: 34.50 (106, 10)
Turnover Margin: -.42 (86, 10)
Sacks: 1.83 (68, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.75 (49, 4)


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