With his Tulane Green Wave just three days away from visiting Winston-Salem for the season opener against Wake Forest, head coach Willie Fritz addressed the media on the weekly AAC Teleconference.
Fritz: “It’s been great. Our first day of school was today, so we’ve been going quite some time. The first day of practice was the 5th, and I’ve tried to do a good job of getting the guys some time off. Sometimes you try to do too many things and you end up wearing everybody down and they don’t grasp the important things you want them to learn. There’s schemes we wanted to get in on the offense, defense and special teams. We only had 15 spring practices, and we utilized the summer time allowed by the NCAA to visit with the guys. We’re just anxious to play the first game Thursday evening.”
What could he see opening night that would please him and something that would concern him?
Fritz: “Some of the things you see sometimes is the guys practice hard and we try to get the coaches to stay away from them and not be in their ear every single play. The main thing I want to see is just incredible effort — down-in and down-out, offense, defense and the kicking game. That’s the main thing I want to see is just great effort through the whistle. Let’s stay away from pre-snap and post-play penalties. Play a clean game. A lot of teams have a hard time doing that the first game of the year. Those are a couple things I’m looking for. Great effort and playing clean football.”
On the quarterback situation
Fritz: “All three of the guys battled for the position and showed the ability to throw it. Glen (Cuiellette) did a good job of grasping the offense a little quicker, and you would expect him to. The other two guys are incoming freshmen, but Glen just has a lot of poise about him. That’s the main reason that he will be our starter Thursday evening. The other two guys will play at some point this season. It might be package-like situations. I was pleased with all of their development during preseason camp. Glen was just a little more consistent than the other two.”
On Cuiellette’s ability to be a leader
Fritz: “I have to kick him out of the office. He enjoys everything about football. He does a great job helping to develop team chemistry. He’s a team guy, and you really need that at quarterback. You need someone that’s in tune not just with the receiver and the offense, but also with the defense. Glen does a great job being a leader of the whole team.”
On using the term “blind faith” several times about his squad during interviews
Fritz: “I’m seeing it already. I’m talking about all aspects of the program, not just on game day. Academically, how we do things in the weight room, the locker room. They need to have blind faith that I’m going to do right by them, and I’ll have blind faith that they will do right by us. They have really done a super job embracing change. I’ve been super impressed.”
On the group of running backs
Fritz: “We have some really good running backs. I think the four of them are legitimate division-one running backs. They are complete backs — they can catch the ball, pass protect, run in between the tackles and run in the perimeter. I do think that’s an area of strength for us.”