Tulane Preview

The Green Wave travel to Death Valley for a Halloween showdown with the Bayou Bengals.

Snapshot:

Tulane Green Wave

2008 record: 2-10 (1-7 CUSA, 5th West)

Head coach: Bob Toledo (6-18, 2 years; 84-86 overall, 15 years)

Returning Starters: 16: 8 offense, 6 defense, kicker, punter

Leaders on Each Side: Offense: RB, Andre Anderson Defense: NT, Reggie Scott

The 2008 finish for head coach Bob Toledo was not pretty, seeing the Green Wave drop their final eight contests during a 2-10 run. The lone wins on the season came against Louisiana-Monroe and SMU, certainly no one to write home about.

If Tulane wants to get the ball rolling early, a win over BYU in New Orleans on Sept. 12 could do the trick. The Tigers will come calling in the midst of Conference USA play, so the Green Wave will certainly have their offense broken in.

Prior to his injury in the Green Wave’s seventh game of 2008, running back Andre Anderson’s 142-yard per game average was good for fourth best in the nation. The senior, who is still recovering from a shoulder fracture, was held out of contact this spring.

The defensive line is the strong suit for first year defensive coordinator Steve Stanard. Stanard has simplified the game plan from the complex schemes of O’Neill Gilbert, which should benefit a side that returns just six starters.

The Green Wave began last season with a pair of statement games, playing both Alabama and East Carolina close until deep into the second half. Tulsa and BYU are the opening pair in 2009, and Toledo and Co. would love nothing more than to add a couple of wins to the board early.

Quarterback

Joe Kemp – 6’4”, 206, So.

Kevin Moore – 6’5”, 234, Jr.

Kevin Moore got the starts in 2008, but the junior is not going to be the man for Toledo in 2009. Instead the Green Wave turn to sophomore Joe Kemp, who got the starting nod following spring evaluations.

If Kemp can’t get the job done, at least Toledo can turn to an experienced arm. Moore threw for over 2,000 yards last fall in twelve appearances.

Running Back

Andre Anderson – 6’0”, 211, Jr.

J.T. McDonald – 5’9”, 210, So.

Production begins and ends with Andre Anderson, who was on fire prior to a shoulder injury suffered against Rice last fall. The Stone Mountain, Ga.-native has the potential to put up some of the nation’s top numbers, but his health will be the biggest concern.

At the second spot, offensive coordinator Dan Dodd will turn to sophomore J.T. McDonald. The Lone Star State product recorded three scores on 37 touches and 124 rushing yards during his freshman campaign last fall.

Wide Receivers and Tight End

Jeremy Williams – 6’1”, 201, Sr.

Casey Robottom – 5’11”, 173, Jr.

Alan Mitchell – 6’3”, 160, Jr.

Chandler Davis – 6’2”, 180, So.

Cody Sparks – 6’4”, 239, Jr.

Brian King, the leading receiver for the Green Wave in 2008, is lost to graduation. That means that Jeremy Williams, who racked up 437 receiving yards and a team-high five touchdown grabs before getting injured in week five last fall, will be the go-to-guy for Kemp.

Tight end Cody Sparks, who hauled in 20 passes for 245 yards in 2008, will be another one of Kemp’s favorite targets. Casey Robottom, DJ Banks and Alan Mitchell all look to make an impact on the unit.

Offensive Line

Pete Hendrickson – 6’7”, 297, Jr.

Harris Howard – 6’4”, 300, So.

Andrew Nierman – 6’1”, 294, Jr.

Tyler Rice – 6’4”, 292, Sr.

Nick Landry – 6’7”, 295, Sr.

Three starters – Pete Hendrickson, Andrew Nierman and Nick Landry – return to the Green Wave offensive line. Hendrickson and Landry will man the two tackle spots, with Nierman filling in at center.

The two newcomers, Harris Howard and Tyler Rice, slide in at left and right guard, respectively. Toledo has made it clear, if Anderson hopes to return to his form from 2008, the unit’s performance will need to be on point.

Defensive Line

Logan Kelley – 6’2”, 246, Sr.

Reggie Scott – 6’4”, 260, Sr.

Oscar Ponce de Leon – 6’2”, 302, Jr.

Adam Kwentua – 6’3”, 250, Sr.

The defensive line is certainly coordinator Steve Stanard’s strongest unit. Reggie Scott and Adam Kwentua, both seniors, are starting once more. Scott – who was granted his sixth year of eligibility - recorded 31 tackles last fall, while Kwentua was in on 48 stops at right end.

Oscar Ponce de Leone will get the start at the other nose tackle spot, while senior Logan Kelley – who was in on 28 tackles last fall – will line up at left end.

Linebackers

Travis Burks – 6’0”, 215, Sr.

David Kirksey – 6’1”, 224, Sr.

Kristofar Rhymes – 6’0”, 220, So.

The linebacker depth chart is not a pretty sight, and the unit returns only one full-time starter from their 2008 set. Senior David Kirksey, who logged 41 tackles last fall, is the experienced man of the bunch.

Travis Burks and Kristofar Rhymes are slated to be the other two starters, though Rhymes sat out most of the spring with hamstring problems. Burks, who was in on 40 stops during his junior campaign, has starting experience.

Defensive Backs

Charles Harris – 6’3”, 176, Sr.

Phillip Davis – 5’10”, 170, Jr.

Chinonso Echebelem – 6’1”, 200, Sr.

Alex Lauricella – 6’0”, 178, Fr.

The health woes continue into the secondary, where one of the unit’s top hopefuls – safety Alex Lauricella – can never seem to stay at 100 percent.

Charles Harris and Chinonso Echebelem bring game experience, while Corey Sonnier – who led the team in tackles last fall with 86 – is back for his senior campaign. The three names will be ones to watch for if Stanard hopes to make a first-season splash.

Three-year starter Josh Lumar is gone at the other corner spot, where junior Phillip Davis will fill the void.

Special Teams

Ross Thevenot – 6’0”, 180, Sr.

If Ross Thevenot can find a steady foot, the senior could handle all the duties for the Green Wave. Last fall, he was 9-of-20 on field goal attempts and averaged 45.8 yards a kick.

If the number can’t increase, look for Ryan Rome to replace the senior on Tulane’s field goal attempts.


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