March 3, 2012
New Orleans - Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson got a close look at his Green Wave football squad this morning as the team went through a 66-play situational scrimmage under its first-year coach at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
Despite temperatures around 59 degrees and winds out of the north at 17 miles per hour that included gusts up to 32 mph, the Green Wave pressed on with its first scrimmage under Johnson. The day featured mostly situational pieces with the first and second teams, such as goal line, redzone and coming out of the 20-yard line and 50-yard line.
Several highlights came from the arm of senior quarterback Ryan Griffin, who made several pinpoint throws despite the winds, including a spectacular pitch-and-catch with sophomore receiver Justyn Shackleford, who demonstrated his athleticism by going up and over a defender to haul in one of Griffin's passes. The Wave's group of running backs also caught Johnson's eye with sophomore Dante Butler running for a pair of scores, as did junior Orleans Darkwa. Sophomore Robert Kelley was also efficient on the ground today with several tough runs.
On defense, junior safety Kyle Davis corralled an interception after tipping it to himself and the defensive front came up with several plays in the offensive backfield.
"Today wasn't bad at all and the thing that keeps coaches up at night is how are we going to function and I thought we did a good job of getting in and out of the huddle and being very functionable," Johnson said. "We had a couple of fumbles early on with the twos (second team), but we made some good plays on both sides of the ball.
"Justyn Shackleford looked like Randy Moss on one catch and (Ryan) Griffin played well and he put a couple of passes right where they needed to be and we had some drops. We've got to have those catches. One of the most disappointing things for me as a former receivers coach is watching guys drop balls. I thought Dante Butler had a very good scrimmage. We have some good running backs and they all played well today."