April 18, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Defense was the word of the day for the Green Wave as the Tulane University football team went through a physical day 13 of spring practice Wednesday morning at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
After getting beat by the offense in goal-line situationals early in the day, the Tulane defense rose to the challenge and dominated the team across the ball for most of the rest of practice. The Green Wave "D" made several big plays, including three consecutive safeties in a situational that had the offense playing first-and-long from their own one yard line.
"Except for our goal-line situation, the defense did a great job, which always concerns you as a head coach because that means your offense didn't do a very good job," new head coach Bob Toledo said. "But I thought the defense played with some intensity and some emotion and made some plays. They did a really good job today.
"(The three straight safeties) makes me happy for the defense, but not for the offense. That is something you have to continue to emphasize. That's why we do all these different situations in practice, to make them aware that these things are going to happen during the course of a game and we have to be good at it. You don't just go out and run plays. You run plays according to situations and that's what we're doing."
Drawing praise from Toledo for their effort throughout spring practice were defensive linemen Avery Williams and Frank Morton, as well as defensive backs Chinonso Echebelem, Joe Goosby and Alex Wacha. Williams and Morton combined for several stops behind the line of scrimmage, while the DBs forced several incomplete passes and made some solid tackles in run support.
The offense was not without its highlights on Wednesday as King hauled in a couple of passes for sizeable gains and senior running back Ade Tuyo bolted up the middle on first-and-goal from the 10 drills for a touchdown.
Whether it was offense or defense shining throughout the spring, however, the two steadying forces have been physical play and intensity. Toledo said before the spring season began that he wanted to learn about his new team and that the coaching staff would be implementing a sizeable portion of its offensive, defensive and special teams approaches.
"We hit them pretty good today, so hopefully they recover and get rid of some of that soreness and be ready for Saturday," Toledo said. "I think there was signs of intensity during the course of the spring, but there were periods where we kind let our guard down, and that's when either the offense or the defense took charge. So you have to play with intensity each and every play. I said from the start that it's going to be a very physical spring. We've had a very physical spring in the days that we can scrimmage."
The Green Wave will return to the practice field on Thursday for a day in helmets, jerseys and shorts and will enjoy a day off on Friday before closing out spring practice on Saturday, April 21. Saturday's practice is slated to begin with team meetings, and at 10 a.m., the team will take the field for situational drills. From there, the team will hold its annual spring scrimmage, which will run for approximately one hour.
There is no charge for admission and free food and beverages will be provided to the public courtesy of the Conk Naquin Memorial Golf Classic. Fans are encouraged to park in the nearby Diboll Parking Garage due to limited parking space near the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center because of construction to Turchin Stadium.
Season tickets for the 2007 Tulane football season are now on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Adult sideline seats are $200, while adult end zone seats are $100 and youth (under 18) end zone seats are just $80. For more information, contact the Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.