Tulane Releases 2005 Spring Football Review

The Green Wave returns 18 starters off last year's 5-6 team that claimed wins over bowl teams Navy and UAB. QB Lester Ricard enters his junior campaign and his second season as a starter while Anthony Cannon will attempt to become the first Tulane player to record 100-plus tackles in four straight seasons since Mike Staid (1991-94)

Here are a number of extracts from the recently released Tulane Football 2005 Spring Review.

The Green Wave returns 18 starters off last year's 5-6 team that claimed wins over bowl teams Navy and UAB. QB Lester Ricard enters his junior campaign and his second season as a starter while Anthony Cannon will attempt to become the first Tulane player to record 100-plus tackles in four straight seasons since Mike Staid (1991-94).

The Green Wave welcomes eight starters back on offense while nine starters including 2003 starter Tra Boger, are back for the Green Wave defense.

Punter Chris Beckman is back for his third season in that critical role, while Barrett Pepper, the 2003 starter at kicker, also returns. He handled kickoff duties a year ago.

On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Jerome Landry and quarterback Nick Cannon are expected to return to action in August. Landry underwent knee surgery last spring, while Cannon had surgery on his shoulder and elbow, causing him to miss the 2004 campaign.

One of the strengths of the Green Wave offense in 2005 will be along the line, where four seniors and a junior will start. Leading the way are three-year starters Chris McGee and Matt Traina at left tackle and left guard, respectively. Both have started 36 straight games for the Green Wave, every game since the start of the 2002 campaign. Center Joe Traina and right guard Donald Madlock have 23 and 22 starts, respectively, and have both started nearly every game the last two years. Junior Derek Rogers, meanwhile is the "baby" of the bunch. He has seen action in 23 games over the last two seasons, starting four while backing up the graduated Jimmy Kosienski. In all, the five have compiled 120 starts and played in 154 games.

The latest in a distinguished line of Tulane quarterbacks is junior Lester Ricard, who enters his second season as the starter in 2005. Ricard, who followed NFL-ers Shaun King, Patrick Ramsey and J.P. Losman as Tulane's starting quarterback, missed the last twoand- a-half games of the 2004 season with a broken wrist, but not before posting two of the most impressive performances in Tulane and Conference USA history.

Versus UAB on Oct. 23, Ricard joined Ramsey as the only Tulane QBs to throw for 400 yards in a game when he completed 36-of-49 passes for 417 yards with a school record six touchdown passes. The mark for single game TD passes had stood since 1952. The 417 yards rank third on the Tulane single-game list while his 36 completions is tied for second all-time.

Two weeks later, Ricard completed a school and C-USA record 94.7 percent of his passes - on 18-of-19 passing - for 323 yards and four TDs, including an 87-yard touchdown pass that tied for the second-longest in school history. He completed his last 14 passes of that game while compiling a single-game efficiency rating of 307.01 that ranked second in the nation.

The Wave's leading returning receiver is junior Damarcus Davis, who caught 16 passes in 2004 and has 37 career catches for 487 yards and three touchdowns. He is joined by senior Bubba Terranova with 33 career grabs, 11 last year.The rest of the receiving corps is young and somewhat inexperienced, and includes Preston Brown, Kenneth Guidroz, Fred Smith and Michael Batiste. They will be joined by a group of five true freshmen signed by the Green Wave in February.

Last year, Tulane replaced all-time leading rusher Mewelde Moore with the duo of Jovon Jackson and Matt Forté. They proceeded to net exactly 624 rushing yards each to tie for the team lead in rushing, compiling 1,248 yards between them and nearly matching the 1,292 yards compiled by Moore (915) and Jackson (377) in 2003. Jackson, who will be a senior in 2005, averaged five yards per rush with five touchdowns, while as a freshman, Forté collected 4.5 yards per rush with four TDs.

The freshman starred versus Army with 216 yards on 34 carries while Jackson tallied a pair of 100-yard games. In addition to their rushing success, Forté and Jackson ranked third and fourth on the team in receiving with 20 and 18 catches, respectively. In fact, they are Tulane's top returning pass catchers for 2005. Jackson and Forté totalled 1,557 allpurpose yards on 303 touches a year ago.

On defense, Tulane returns 10 letterwinners on the defensive line, but still will not field a senior at that position in 2005.

The Green Wave welcomes back a trio of players who redshirted during the 2004 season in safety Tra Boger, the Green Wave's leading tackler in 2003, who returns after missing all but two games a year ago after undergoing knee surgery for a meniscal cartilage tear. Defensive lineman Michael Roberts, who missed the last four games of 2003 as well as all of 2004 with a broken foot, is working to return for his junior season and sophomore defensive lineman Alvin Johnson is ready for action.

Anthony Cannon is a speedy junior linebacker who led Tulane with 114 tackles as a freshman in 2002, added 102 stops his sophomore campaign and compiled 107 tackles in 2004 while also leading the squad in fumbles forced (4) and quarterback sacks (4). Last year, Cannon tied his career high with 16 tackles in the Southern Miss game and was credited with 10 or more stops in six games (MSU, USM, Memphis, Houston, Army, Louisville).

A year ago, Tulane had no juniors OR seniors on the d-line, and the starting line-up consisted of two true freshmen and two sophomores. In fact, true freshmen Antonio Harris and Avery Williams started every game while junior Mike Purcell, who played limited snaps in a back-up role after overcoming knee injuries, led the team in tackles for loss with nine. Now, with all of last year's first and second teamers back, along with a pair of players who redshirted last year, the Green Wave finally can boast experience and depth along the defensive line, even without any seniors.

Profiles of 2005 All-Star Candidates

68 Chris McGee, OT
6-4, 285, Senior, Beaumont, Texas (Ozen HS) • Tulane's top offensive lineman in each of the last two seasons who anchored the line from his left tackle position again in 2004.
• Played 98 percent of Tulane's offensive plays as a junior.
• Averaged a grade of 84 percent with 18 knockdown blocks to tie for the team lead.
• Graded out to a season-high 90 percent mark in Tulane's upset win over Navy.
• Posted four games with grades above 87 percent, including the FAMU (87%), Army (88%) and Navy (90%) wins and in the game against C-USA rival Southern Miss (87%).
• Named the Green Wave's Offensive Player of the Game for the Houston contest.
• Line had an excellent day versus UAB as Lester Ricard threw for 417 yards and six scores, and nearly matched it versus TCU when Richard Irvin threw five TD passes.
• Paved the way for the Wave's RB combo of Jovon Jackson and Matt Forté to gain 1,248 rushing yards.
• Started every game of his first three seasons (36) at Tulane.

11 Anthony Cannon, LB
6-0, 233, Senior, Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson HS)
• Led Tulane in tackles (107) and quarterback sacks (4), surpassing the 100-tackle mark for the third straight season.
• Ranked fourth in C-USA and 29th in the nation in tackles per game, while his four fumbles forced were second in the league and tied for 10th in the nation.
• Made 10 or more tackles in six games with a career-high 16, nine solo, plus a pair of tackles for loss and a fumble forced versus USM.
• Sacks came versus Florida A&M (2), East Carolina and UAB, and forced fumbles in the FAMU, USM, Navy and Army games.
• Third on the team in tackles for loss with 7.5.
• Collected 12 tackles with one for loss versus Louisville.
• Tallied 11 stops versus Houston, Mississippi State and Army, and added a pair of pass break-ups, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble versus the Cadets.
• Credited with eight tackles and a sack at ECU and made a touchdown-saving tackle, catching the Pirate punt returner from behind.
• Picked off his first career pass at Memphis while totalling a teamleading 12 tackles, six solo.
• Named to the first team All-Louisiana squad for the second straight season and earned third team All-Conference USA recognition.
• His 148 asists rank ninth on the Green Wave career charts.

45 Chris Beckman, P
6-2, 195, Junior, Grenada, Miss. (Grenada HS) • Conference USA's top punter who ranked 23rd nationally with a 42.67 average.
• Saw 18 punts downed inside the 20-yard line and seven inside the 10.
• NONE of his first 42 punts went into the end zone; and he ended the season with just two touchbacks, those coming on a windy day at TCU.
• Booted 13 punts of 50-plus yards, including a pair of season-long 55-yarders (vs. Houston, Navy).
• Punted three times for a season-high 47.7 average vs. UAB.
• At Houston, had four punts downed inside the 20 and two settle inside the five while averaging 43.5 yards per kick.
• At Memphis, punted seven times for a 41.4 average with two punts downed inside the five.
• Averaged 43.3 yards on seven punts at ECU with a pair of 50-yarders and two more inside the 20.
• Pinned USM inside its 15-yard line three times, while his two punts versus FAMU were downed at the seven and the one.
• Punted seven times for a 43.7-yard average versus Mississippi State, with a pair of 50-plus yard boots, and only one could be returned.
• Current career punting average of 43.14 is half a yard behind the Wave's all-time mark.

90 Alvin Johnson, DL
6-3, 300, Soph., Harvey, La. (West Jefferson HS) • Redshirted the 2004 season but was impressive in spring workouts, leading Tulane Head Coach Chris Scelfo to label him as a potential impact player for the Green Wave in 2005.
• As a freshman in 2003, saw action in all 12 games and started two, compiling 39 tackles to rank third among Wave defensive linemen.
• Also ranked second on the team in pass break-ups with six and third in quarterback hurries with eight.
• Totalled six tackles against East Carolina with two-and-a-half tackles for loss, three pressures and three pass deflections.
• Recorded a career-high eight tackles with two QB hurries and a pass break-up versus Houston in 2003.
• Added eight stops, seven solo, and his first career sack versus UAB.

4 Israel Route, CB/Special Teams
5-9, 184, Junior, Stone Mountain, Ga.(Stephenson HS)
• Big play man on special teams and at ornerback a year ago for the Wave.
• Led Tulane in pass break-ups with seven, and in fumble recoveries (two).
• Credited with a career-high 49 tackles, 33 solo, as a sophomore.
• Led Tulane with a career and season high 13 tackles, all solo, in the Wave's upset win over TCU.
• Knocked down a pair of passes versus both Army and Navy; also had four tackles and a TFL in the win over the Black Knights.
• Intercepted a pass at Houston, and added five stops in the game.
• Recovered a muffed punt on the UAB 24 to set up a critical Tulane score, and added two pass break ups.
• On the second half kickoff at East Carolina, ignited Tulane with a jarring hit that caused a fumble which he then picked up and returned 14 yards for a touchdown.
• Credited with five solo tackles at ECU where he also recorded a tackle for loss and broke up a pass.

8 Lester Ricard, QB
6-5, 222, Junior, Denham Springs, La. (Amite HS) • In nine games as the starter, passed for 1,881 yards on 143-of-231 passing with nine interceptions and 21 touchdowns.
• Completed 61.9 percent of his passes before suffering a broken wrist in the second quarter of the Army game and missing the fi nal two contests of the season.
• Posted a pair of stellar performances versus UAB and Navy to earn various Player of the Week honors, including the national Division I-A Player of the Week from CollegeSportsReport.com on Oct. 23.
• Versus UAB, completed 36-of-49 passes for 417 yards and a Tulane school-record six scores to become only the second Green Wave QB to throw for 400 or more yards in a game.
• Two weeks later, led Tulane to an upset over Navy's 10-win team by completing a school and league record 18-of-19 passes (94.7 percent) for 323 yards and four TDs.
• Hit on his last 14 passes in that game and his only incompletion was a ball he threw away. • An 87-yard TD pass to Roydell Williams in that game tied for the second-longest in school history.
• Named the Louisiana Newcomer of the Year.
• On his way to another stellar game versus Army with 227 yards on 13-of-18 passing in the first half when hurt.

• Ranked fourth in C-USA in passing efficiency at season's end with a 152.5 mark.

72 Matt Traina, OG
6-3, 280, Senior, Coral Gables, Fla. (Coral Gables HS)
• Led all Green Wave offensive linemen in number of plays from his left guard position.
• Graded out to a team-high 85 percent on the season and tied for the team lead in knockdown blocks with 18.
• Top games came versus Florida A&M and UAB with 91 percent marks, the highest grades for any lineman on the season.
• Posted an 88 percent mark versus the tough D-line of Memphis.
• Started every game of his first three seasons (36) at Tulane.
• Line had an excellent day versus UAB as Lester Ricard threw for 417 yards and six scores, and versus TCU when Richard Irvin threw five TD passes.
• Paved the way for the Wave's RB combo of Jovon Jackson and Matt Forté to gain 1,248 rushing yards.
31 Sean Lucas, CB
5-11, 202, Senior, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson HS)
• Third on the team in tackles with 78, including 40 solo, and ranked second in pass break ups with five.
• Forced a fumble in each of the last two games and had seven tackles in each, including six solo stops in win at TCU.
• Led Tulane with a season-high nine tackles, seven solo, at East Carolina, and registered 1.5 tackles for loss.
• Had three straight games with six tackles versus Mississippi State, Florida A&M and Southern Miss.
• Added pass deflections in the MSU game (2) and against FAMU, Memphis and Navy.
• Made eight tackles in the win over Army and in the Houston game.
• Collected at least six tackles in every game for the Green Wave.

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