Ricard Unchallenged At Quarterback

In his final six games, he completed 109 of 169 passes (64.5%) for 1,517 yards and 17 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions. In fact, Ricard won three of his last four starts before breaking his wrist on his non-throwing arm in a 45-31 win over Army.

This is an on-going look at the starters for Tulane's football team. We start with quarterback.

Coming out of high school Lester Ricard and Nick Cannon were the top two quarterbacks prospects in Louisiana. After passing for 2,431 yards and 23 touchdowns his senior year, Ricard signed with LSU, while Cannon headed to Tulane. Who would have thought that Ricard, not Cannon, would enter the 2005 football season as the undisputed field general for the Green Wave.

Cannon's career at Tulane has been hampered by chronic problems with his throwing shoulder which have severely limited his participation in spring practice. In fact, the biggest competition last spring was for the "number 2 spot" between Scott Elliott and Chris Dawson, although Elliott has the inside track to back up Ricard.

As for Ricard, he redshirted at LSU in 2002. In the fall of 2003, he appeared to be the "odd-man-out", listed 5th on the Tigers depth chart behind Matt Mauck, Marcus Randall, JaMarcus Russell, and Matt Flynn. Tulane would be the fortunate recipient of the prize transfer.

Last fall, he emerged from a three-man competition as Tulane's starting quarterback, fending off Cannon and Richard Irvin. Irvin has since transferred to Harvard. 2004 was a tale of two seasons for Ricard. After not starting a game in two years, he was noticeably rusty. Through the first three games, he completed 34 of 62 pass attempts (54.8%) for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. But in his final six games, he completed 109 of 169 passes (64.5%) for 1,517 yards and 17 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions. In fact, Ricard won three of his last four starts before breaking his wrist on his non-throwing arm in a 45-31 win over Army.

Ricard finished the 2004 season with 143 completions out of 231 attempts (61.9%) for 1,881 yards and 21 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. His 152.51 pass efficiency rating was the 3rd best in CUSA and ranked 11th nationally. He also ranked 6th in CUSA in total offense with 209.0 yards per game.

His top performance of the season came in a 59-55 shootout against favored UAB. All Ricard did was go 36-for-49 for 417 yards and a school record 6 touchdowns with no interceptions. Ricard hit Chris Bush with a 12-yard scoring strike with just 26 seconds remaining to put the Green Wave ahead for good. His 36 completions tied the second highest total in school history, while his 417 yards ranks 3rd all-time.

Two weeks later, Ricard had another notable performance in a 42-14 win over Navy. He went 18-for-19 for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns with no picks.

Ricard progressed nicely in 2004, from the first game to the ninth. The 21 year-old redshirt junior showed no ill-effects from his broken wrist this spring. If he picks up were he left off last season, Ricard could post some huge numbers in 2005 and that would put Tulane at the top table.


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