Tulane Passing Attack Comes In Waves

The last thing a defensive back like CB <B>Nathan Vasher </B>wants is some quarterback or wide receiver coming into his house and making a name for himself. (After all, isn&#146;t Arkansas QB <B>Matt Jones</B> the latest Heisman frontrunner?) But the name that&#146;s upon the lips of every NFL scout is Tulane QB <B>J. P. Losman</B>. His 1,355 yards and 15 TDs (through four games) leads the nation while directing college football's No.8 passing attack (338 ypg).

"You don’t want anyone making their name off of you or hitting you deep on a pass," Vasher said. "The next thing you know, he’s the best wide receiver in the country. They’ll come out and really play well. I’m sure they’re practicing hard right now and they’ll try to come in and get a win."

Losman threw for 350 yards and five touchdowns as the Green Wave downed Army, 50-33, last Saturday. WR Roydell Williams snagged three TD passes as Tulane upped its record to 3-1, losing only to No. 19 TCU in the season opener.

"He throws the ball all over the field," Vasher said. "He has a real strong arm and he can hit all of his throws. When you’re out there in man coverage, you have to feel like the ball’s coming to you. Even if you’re on the wide side, you feel like he can get it over there. But you have to look forward to getting it."

Statistically, RB Mewelde Moore is the top running back in the history of both Tulane football and Conference-USA. The senior gives the Green Wave offense the kind of diversity and balance that Greg Davis, Senior dreams about. (Greg Davis, Junior, is Moore’s RB coach). Tulane rushed 52 percent of the time last season and passed 48 percent.

But it’s their one-minute, spread offense that keeps them in games and took them to just their second bowl game (36-28 win over Hawaii in the Conagra Foods Hawaii Bowl) last season since former Green Wave coach Mack Brown guided them to the Independence Bowl in 1987.

"Ball control is really, really important this weekend," Brown said. "We’ll try to keep their offense off the field. But (unlike Rice), if they get down they can catch up quickly. They were down 28-14 against Mississippi State and they came back and won. They were down 31-7 against TCU, came back, and got within three at the end of the game. They’re a one-minute offense all the time, and they’re never out of the ballgame."

Losman was 13-of-29 passing for 127 yards and 2 INT in Tulane’s 49-0 loss to Texas last season. But he was without his leading receiver in that one, as Williams suffered a season-ending fracture of the distal tibia bone two weeks before the contest. Now, both have been making up for lost time but they won’t get any sympathy from Vasher. He missed the Tulane game last year because of a high ankle sprain.

Worse than a QB or WR becoming a household name at Texas’ expense is springing the upset. Most Texas coaches and players have compared Tulane’s offense to Texas Tech’s (enough to send shivers down the spine of any card carrying Orangeblood) and will typically align themselves in four- or five-wide sets.

"I’m sure the coaching staff will come up with an excellent plan for us that takes advantage of all the man coverage that we play," Vasher said, "and I’m sure we’ll stick in some zone and things like that."

GAME NOTES: Starting LDE Bryan Pickryl (shoulder) returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to play against Tulane. Pickryl missed the Rice game, yielding his spot to backup junior Austin Sendlein. FB Ivan Williams, as reported yesterday, returned to practice but will see limited action against Tulane, according to Brown.

Horns Digest Top Stories