Redshirt-freshman cornerback Alex Lauricella broke up a team-best three passes during Thursday morning's scrimmage.
April 9, 2009
Listen To Coach Toledo's Post-Practice Comments
NEW ORLEANS - The Green Wave offense tallied 212 yards and a pair of scores on 56 plays and the defense countered with three pass break-ups, two interceptions and four tackles for loss as the Tulane University football team wrapped up week two of its spring football drills with a 45-minute scripted scrimmage Thursday morning at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
After going through an array of position drills, head coach Bob Toledo began the scrimmage with the kicking game. From there, he had the team go through various third-down plays and red-zone situationals before releasing a shrill whistle blast to mark the end of the day.
"I thought the hitting was good, I thought the intensity was good, and I thought the attitude was great," Toledo said. "What we're trying to do is get the healthy players as many reps as we can, get the younger players who haven't been in scrimmage situations some reps, and find out who knows the offense and defense best and who can actually execute the offense and defense best. All in all, I was pleased with what we did."
Offensively, sophomore running back J.T. McDonald picked up where he left off at the end of the 2008 season with 48 yards on nine carries (5.3 yards per carry) while junior fullback Jordan Stephany bruised his way for 26 yards on six totes to lead the Green Wave running game. Sophomore wideout Alan Mitchell, meanwhile, had the scrimmages lone rushing touchdown on a four-yard end around during the red-zone portion of practice.
Through the air, Tulane's four quarterbacks - junior Kevin Moore, sophomore Joe Kemp and redshirt-freshmen Ryan Griffin and D.J. Ponder - combined for 116 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-22 passing. Griffin led the quartet with 42 yards and a touchdown and completed three of his five pass attempts. Sophomore receiver Charles Gaspard was the favorite target on the day, hauling in five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, redshirt-freshman cornerback Alex Lauricella was all of the field with three pass break-ups, including one that landed in the waiting hands of senior safety Chinonso Echebelem for the day's first interception.
Not to be left out, redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Rich Bell also had a pick of a screen pass while senior Logan Kelley and sophomores Brooks Cunningham and Adam Krueger posted solo tackles for loss totaling seven yards while junior Dezman Moses and sophomore Josh Smith combined for another stop behind the line of scrimmage for a five-yard loss.
"I think there are a lot of good things going on," Toledo said. "I hate to single out too many individuals in these situations, but the main this is we're trying to get better individually and collectively as an offense and a defense. That is my biggest concern and I think we're making strides."
But while Toledo was hesitant to point out any individual efforts following Thursday's practice, he was quick to recognize his team as a whole for their efforts so far in spring practice. While the complete offensive and defensive packages have not been fully installed, he said he was pleased with the way the team has reacted to the individual coaching and they way they have turned that instruction into results on the field.
During the third-down drills, the Green Wave offense converted during its first six opportunities and finished the day12-of-22 in conversion. The defense held the upper hand in the red zone drills, keeping the offense out of the endzone in three of five drives from the 20 yard line.
"What happens in a scrimmage situation where you're moving the chains and you're not just a middle drill or a one-on-one drill, you're using a lot of formations and motion." Toledo said. "The defense has to adjust to thing. We're doing a lot of things offensively with formations and all, so it creates problems for our defense. On the other hand, our defense has to be able to see those formations and line up correctly to them. I think we're getting in a lot of good work."
The Green Wave will enjoy a break over Easter Weekend before returning to the Westfeldt Practice Facility on Tuesday, April 14, from 9-11:30 a.m. The Tulane time will practice eight more times as a complete entity between now and the end of the month, and Spring Practice will culminate on Saturday, April 25, with a scrimmage at 11 a.m. All Tulane spring practices are open to the public and admission is free.