NEW ORLEANS, La. - As the Tulane University football team wrapped up day two of preseason practice in preparation for the 2004 season opener, head coach Chris Scelfo continued to learn about his team, his freshmen in particular.
With just 12 seniors on the roster, Scelfo will be counting on some new
faces to play extensively throughout the 2004 season. This year's squad
features 42 rookies, including 32 true freshmen.
'I'm pleased overall with some of the things I've seen from the
freshmen,' Scelfo said. 'They've shown enthusiasm, there's been a lot
of competition, and they understand what it takes to be productive. We
haven't put pads on yet, and we'll learn a lot more about them then,
especially along the offensive line.'
Among the true freshmen, Scelfo's rookie class features eight defensive
linemen, six running backs and defensive backs, five offensive linemen,
three linebackers, two tight ends, one wide receiver and one quarterback.
Defensive line was a primary cause of concern throughout the 2003 season
as the position was ravaged by injuries, forcing the coaching staff to
convert two offensive linemen and a wide receiver into down linemen.
'From a depth chart standpoint, one of the running backs, and some
defensive linemen will be counted on during the season to contribute,"
Scelfo said. "I've been impressed with their effort so far, and while
you ideally don't want to play a lot of freshmen, I'm not opposed to
putting them out there if I think they're ready.'
That should not be the case in 2004 as most of the injured defenders
are healthy for the start of camp, including senior defensive tackle
Wallace 'Bamm' Mateen.
The offensive line, meanwhile returns all five starters from a year
ago, which will give the Green Wave the luxury of letting its freshmen
learn through practice rather than having to thrust them into game-time
action right away.
'This is not going to be the freshmen class that we had three years
ago,' Scelfo said. 'Those guys joined a depleted team and got thrown
into the fire. Now, the freshmen this year get to learn from those guys,
their work ethic and their knowledge of the game.'
The Green Wave continue single practices on Thursday at 6:35 a.m. with
two-a-day practices starting on Sunday, Aug. 15. Tulane will hold its
annual Fan Day on Saturday, Aug. 28 and will open the regular season on
Saturday, Sept. 4 at Mississippi State.
Following the game vs. the Bulldogs, Tulane opens its home schedule on
Saturday, Sept. 11 vs. Florida A&M at 6 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome.
For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket
Office at 504-861-WAVE.
Wave Continues Work In Day 2 Of Preseason Camp
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