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From the other side: SMU vs. Tulane

Billy talked with NOLA.com's Will Guillory about the SMU-Tulane matchup.

Billy Embody: What is it about this triple option attack for Tulane that makes it so difficult to defend outside of not many teams seeing it often.

WG: Tulane’s use of the triple option is unique because it often spreads the field with multiple receivers instead of having multiple running backs and tight ends. This style often makes it difficult for defense to stack the box with nine or 10 players and it allows the Green Wave to have a much more fluid play action passing game.

BE: What are Dontrell Hilliard and Josh Rounds like for Tulane in the backfield? 

WG: Dontrell Hilliard and Josh Rounds are potent weapons for the Tulane offense, but one of the things that also makes this offense unique is that those aren’t the only running backs teams must stop when playing Tulane. The Green Wave will also utilize Sherman Badie and Lazedrick Thompson in the running game as change of pace runners to keep defenses off balance. But the main thing Rounds and Hilliard bring to the is their versatility in all facets of the offense.

BE: Nico Marley certainly has the ability to run sideline-to-sideline. What's he like as the leader of that defense?

WG: Marley is one of the most passionate and talkative players that I’ve ever been around. He’s the emotional leader of a veteran defense and he’s constantly talking to his teammates to encourage them or make sure they are all on the same page with their scheme. Not to mention, there are very few linebackers that play with the amount of aggression he does on a play-to-play basis. He is always looking for ways to get those tackles for loss.

BE: Tulane has played almost every team they've played tough. What do they do well to play up to their opponents level?

The Green Wave defense has played stellar this season, excluding last week’s loss to Tulsa, and it’s astounding when considering how inconsistent the offense has been this year. Tulane coach Willie Fritz has put a major emphasis on winning the turnover battle since his arrival here and that message has come through loud and clear to the Tulane defense. Combine that with the Green Wave’s conservative style on offense limiting turnovers and that has been their formula to remain in just about every game this year.

BE: What's your feeling on this game? Got a prediction? 

WG: After last week’s ugly loss to Tulsa, Tulane goes into homecoming this week and I’m expecting the home crowd at Yulman Stadium to give the team a much-needed lift. Assuming the Green Wave can find a way to get something going on offense, I think they will be able to pull out a 23-21 nail-biter over SMU.


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