Feb. 25, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The sky was overcast, the temperature was in the low 50s and a steady breeze made it feel even colder when the Tulane University football team took the field at the Westfeldt Practice Facility on Saturday morning for its third day of Spring Practice under new head coach Curtis Johnson.
None of those factors, however, could cool the level of intensity and enthusiasm as the Green Wave wrapped up week one of off-season drills with a two-hour practice which featured a brief scrimmage session. Players and coaches alike were quick with a hoot and holler following a big play, which were plentiful, and Johnson felt his team once again got a lot accomplished.
"That's the brand of football that we want to partake in," Johnson said of his team's spirit. "We don't want guys who are just going to sit back and let everything happen. We've got a group of coaches here who are going to be very intense and very passionate about what they're doing. We've got this football team that is very passionate and I don't want them holding anything back. I want them moving and rolling and going."
Taking the field donning helmets, shoulder pads, jerseys and shorts, things got off to a quick start on Saturday as the team ran through a gamut of plays prior to a team stretching session and an array of positional, unit and special teams drills. The highlight of the day came in the scrimmage where the offensive and defensive units took turns making big plays.
Junior running back Orleans Darkwa got things going with a 45-yard touchdown run on the very first play, and senior defensive end Austen Jacks evened the score with a five-yard tackle for loss on the very next play. Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin completed several passes to an array of receivers, including sizeable gains to tight ends Matt Marfisi and Stephen Suchy, and wide receiver Jamar Thomas while also connecting with junior wideout Wilson Van Hooser for a 45-yard touchdown.
"What I find about these guys is that they've very, very smart, they've very, very tough guys and they want to win," Johnson said. "They've very emotional and they take it personal on how this thing is going. They have a lot of pride also. I like how everything is going so far.
"I think we'll be good enough to put a good product on the field that everybody will like. I think more people will come to the games and I think they'll be proud of what we're doing. These guys are playing really hard and practicing very well."
The Green Wave will enjoy a day away from the field on Sunday before returning to practice on Monday, Feb. 27. Monday's practice will be the first of four next week as Tulane will take the field again on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
The Tulane football team will open the 2012 season on Sept. 1 when the Green Wave play host to Rutgers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game against the Scarlet Knights is one of seven home games as Tulane will also face Ole Miss on Sept. 22 and Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 29 before squaring off against Conference USA foes SMU on Oct. 13, UAB on Oct. 27 and East Carolina on Nov. 17. The Green Wave's road slate features games at Tulsa on Sept. 8, Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 6, UTEP on Oct. 20, Memphis on Nov. 10 and Houston on Nov. 24.
Season tickets for the upcoming season are now on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Each season ticket packages include all seven home games in the following areas: $210 for sideline, $110 for adult endzone, $60 for youth endzone, and a Family Four Pack (2 adult, 2 youth tickets) for $280.
For additional information or to order season tickets, please call the Tulane Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE (9283), log onto the internet at TulaneGreenWave.com, or show up in person at the ticket office located inside the James W. Wilson Jr. Center on Ben Weiner Drive.