CoogFans' Opponent Preview - Tulane

During Coach Bob Toledo's three year tenure at Tulane he has had success on the ground thanks to Matt Forte and Andre Anderson. Now Anderson is gone and the Green Wave will continue to struggle overall in what should be a very good Conference USA West division.

Tulane Green Wave
Conference USA

2009 Record: (3-9, 1-7)
2009 Bowl: none
Coach: Bob Toledo (9-27 at Tulane, 87-95 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dan Dodd
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Stanard

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Payten Jason, RB, 85 yards
Passing: Ryan Griffin, QB, 1,382 yards
Receiving: Casey Robottom, WR, 584 yards
Tackles: Alex Wacha, S, 77
Sacks: Justin Adams, DT, 2.5
Interceptions: Phillip Davis, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: DT Chris Asumnu, TE Tyler Helm, OT Pete Hendrickson, G Harris Howard, G Zach Morgan, C Andrew Nierman, LB Shakiel Smith, TE Cody Sparks
Key Losses: RB Andre Anderson, LB Travis Burks, FB Antoine Duplessis, S Chinonso Echeblem, CB Charles Harris, DE Logan Kelley, LB David Kirksey, DE Adam Kwentua, OT Nick Landry, DT Reggie Scott, WR Jeremy Williams

During Coach Bob Toledo's three year tenure at Tulane he has had success on the ground thanks to Matt Forte and Andre Anderson. Now Anderson is gone and the Green Wave will continue to struggle overall in what should be a very good Conference USA West division. The bulk of the rushing load will fall on the inexperienced shoulders of junior Albert Williams. A couple other inexperienced players like J.T. McDonald and Stephen Barnett will have to get some carries too if Williams is not up for the job.

Strengths:
The good news is the offensive line returns relatively intact led by center Andrew Nierman. The line is relatively young, but many linemen were forced into action last year and should only be better this time around. Whether or not Williams can make something out of it is another question. Quarterback Ryan Griffin has a year of partial starting experience under his belt and did a decent job as a freshman. The Green Wave will have to rely heavily on Griffin if the ground game struggles. Without receiver Jeremy Williams, Casey Robottom will be the go-to-guy and Griffin will need tight end Cody Sparks to stay healthy if the Green Wave want to avoid having the worst scoring offense in the conference again in 2010.

Weaknesses:
As bad as the offense was, the defense was not any better. And with just four starters returning, there is not much hope for improvement. Travis Burks and David Kirksey were the leaders of the linebacker corps and now it will be up to a couple youngsters like Trent Mackey and Darryl Farley to hold down the fort. The secondary was often torched last year and Shakiel Smith, Alex Wacha and Phillip Davis will be asked to do a lot. Smith did a decent job as a freshman and is moving to the free safety spot this year and he could end up being the biggest impact player in the back seven.

The Bottom Line:
The secondary will not be as bad if the front four live up to their potential. Justin Adams and Oscar Ponce de Leon are decent interior linemen, but it will be up to the ends to get pressure on the opposing quarterback if the defense is going to get any better. Dezman Moses has plenty of potential, but it is sophomore Austen Jacks who could turn into the passing rushing threat that this team so desperately needs. Jacks tallied a couple of sacks as a freshman and could be the difference maker on defense if all goes well. But all will not go too well with the Green Wave who face a tough schedule and simply lack the experience and talent to make a serious run at a Conference USA title.

2009 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 105.33 (106th in nation, 12th in conference)
Passing Offense: 207.17 (74, 9)
Total Offense: 312.50 (105, 11)
Scoring Offense: 16.08 (115, 12)
Rushing Defense: 204.83 (109, 11)
Pass Defense: 218.00 (57, 1)
Total Defense: 422.83 (102, 7)
Scoring Defense: 36.67 (115, 11)
Turnover Margin: -1.33 (119, 12)
Sacks: 1.25 (106, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 2.42 (90, 8)


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