Scouting the Opponent: Tulane

Many pundits projected Tulane to finish last in Conference-USA West, but the Green Wave is determined to prove the naysayers wrong. In that regard, Tulane went on the road last week and defeated UTEP, 34-24. Read further to get the details on the personnel of the Green Wave.

Tulane, flying high after last week's victory at UTEP, entertains SMU this weekend in New Orleans. The Green Wave hasn't been the model of consistency this season, but they've certainly played some good football along the way.

Tulane gave up 52 points vs. Tulsa, 42 vs. Houston, and 41 vs. Army -- all losses for the Green Wave -- but they also own a road win at Rutgers (17-14) and played respectably in dropping a 27-13 decision to Ole Miss.

To slow down Tulane's offense, you have to neutralize two exceptional receivers in Casey Robottom and D.J. Banks. The tandem has combined for 78 catches, which is almost half of the team total of 157.

Robottom, a senior who prepped at St. Charles Catholic, was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week after exploding for 10 catches and 151 yards with two TDs against UTEP. A precise route-runner with great hands, Robottom leads the team with 48 receptions.

Banks is a 5-foot-9, 175-pounder who first made a name for himself as a ball-hawking defensive back during his ninth-grade season at St. Frederick HS (Monroe, La.)

Banks eventually transferred to national powerhouse West Monroe HS, where he was a dual-threat quarterback for the Rebels. He is Tulane's second-leading receiver, with 30 catches for 269 yards and a TD. Banks also gets an occasional carry (13-52).

Freshman Devin Figaro has the size (6-2, 200) and strength to be an all-conference player in the future. Figaro only has five catches, but he flashed serious potential in the Houston game (4-95, 1 TD).

Ryan Griffin, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from California, won the starting job halfway through the 2009 season. He's thrown for 1,324 yards with 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Most notably, Griffin amassed 412 yards passing two weeks ago vs. Tulsa. He's been sacked 17 times.

Four out of five starters returned on the interior offensive line this year for Tulane, including standout center Andrew Nierman. A graduate of nearby John Curtis Christian, Nierman is a compact (6-1, 302) player who gained Internet notoriety in high school after film surfaced of him pancaking (current LSU DL) Drake Nevis in a scrimmage.

Tulane relies on a running back by committee approach, with Albert Williams ranking first in both carries (74) and yardage (315). Orleans Darkwa has six of the Green Wave's nine rushing TDs.

On defense, linebacker Trent Mackey - a Duke transfer - is the playmaker to watch. Mackey has 82 tackles, while no other Green Wave defender has more than 50.

DT Justin Adams makes up for any size deficiencies (5-foot-11, 255 pounds) with his intensity. Adams leads the team in both sacks (6) and tackles for loss (10).

In the secondary, Georgia native Phillip Davis has half of Tulane's six interceptions. Alex Lauricella, another John Curtis product, has 16 tackles.

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