Junior quarterback Nick Montana and the Tulane football team opened preseason practice on Saturday morning on the turf of Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Aug. 3, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - With the building of Yulman Stadium ongoing and its former practice field turned into a full-fledged construction zone, the Tulane University football team found itself in a somewhat unusual position as the Green Wave opened 2013 preseason practice on Saturday morning.
Going through a two-plus hour session on Greer Field at Turchin Stadium - a facility normally occupied by the baseball program - the 98 players on hand donned helmets, jerseys and shorts in high spirits and with lofty goals in mind for the upcoming season. And while second-year head coach Curtis Johnson called the day a success overall, it was running backs and tight ends coach David Johnson who perhaps summed up the goal of the day as he shouted encouragements as the practice unfolded when he barked "Be fast but don't be in a hurry. Be quick, but don't be in a rush"
"We've got a quick team and a fast team, so we've got to create ways to get those guys down the field and get after the ball," Johnson said. "They're taking heed to it and we just have to be smart. I don't want guys thrown on the ground in shorts. We've just got to practice that kind of stuff."
While the bulk of the day was spent focusing on specifics and details that will carry over through preseason practice and game planning once the season starts, it was not without its fair share of highlights.
Redshirt-freshman quarterback Devin Powell connected with wideout Devon Breaux on a nice come-back route and true freshman cornerback Parry Nickerson batted down a pass during one-on-one drills. The play of the day, however, came later in the session when Breaux laid out to haul in a tipped pass from freshman signal caller Tanner Lee.
Freshman linebacker Eric Thomas and junior safety Sam Scofield both nearly picked off a pass, and junior Nick Montana connected with wide receiver Devin Boutte for a 15-yard touchdown during 7-on-7 drills. The defense bounced back on the very next play when freshman defensive back Leonard Davis picked off a batted ball in the endzone.
"I thought they ran around well," Johnson said. "We just have to get the logistics right. Being on different fields, we've added challenges with that. The quarterbacks were better with the quarterback/center exchange. I think Montana might have completed the most balls. He did well. Powell was coaching guys up, and Tanner Lee did well also. They did well and they'll be better tomorrow."
Saturday's practice was the lone preseason drill to take place on campus as the Green Wave will hold future practices at nearby Newman High School, downtown at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and at the New Orleans Saints facility in Metairie.
"I think it's great," Johnson said of the multiple sites his team will practice during the fall camp. "I think any time we change or any time we have to adjust, we do our best to adapt to those things. We'll be ready to adapt to almost anything. When we go into a foreign stadium, we'll have already experienced different."
The Green Wave return to practice field on Sunday when they head to Airline Drive for an 8:30 a.m. session at the Saints indoor facility. The team will hold its annual Media Day festivities on Monday, have back-to-back practices at Newman on Tuesday and Wednesday, and opened their first two-a-day of preseason drills on Thursday with a morning session at Newman and an afternoon practice at the Saints facility. All practices at Newman High will be open to the public while all other off-campus sessions will be closed.
Tulane will kick off the 2013 on Thursday, Aug. 29, when the Green Wave play host to Jackson State at 7 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE (9283). Season ticket packages start as low as $100 for adults and $70 for youth.
The Tulane Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, log onto the official website at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.