Freshman running back Sherman Badie evades a defender during Sunday's preseason practice at the Saints Indoor Facility.
Aug. 4, 2013
METAIRIE, La. - One day after opening preseason practice on a baseball field, the Tulane University football team spent day two in more familiar and comfortable conditions as the Green Wave went through a two-plus our session at the New Orleans Saints' Indoor Practice Facility on Sunday morning on Airline Drive.
With a focus on detail and the daily task of improving each time the team takes the field, the Tulane squad was able to avoid the heat and humidity normally associated with summer in the South. It was the first of seven schedule practices at the Saints facility, a place second-year head coach Curtis Johnson knows well after serving as the NFL team's wide receivers coach from 2006-11.
"The biggest goal of the day was to do better, eliminate some turnovers and do better overall," Johnson said. "Yesterday was an installation day so we reviewed those plays from yesterday. We did much better today with those plays. We didn't fumble and we have to continue to run around. Yesterday, I thought we were a little lethargic at the end of practice. Today, we ran throughout the whole practice.
"It was outstanding and I felt better about it. Yesterday it was so hot. Logistically, it was our first time on a baseball field and we had our hiccups. This thing went smoothly and exactly like I thought it would go. The guys played. They ran around very well. No one got tired and we didn't have on cramp. It was just a good day for us."
In addition to the usual array of individual, position and team drills, the Green Wave spent a sizeable amount of time on Sunday focusing on special teams. The team walked through several kickoff return drills, held punt return drills and field goal/PAT situationals.
During the kicking period, senior Cairo Santos - who claimed All-America honors and won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top placekicker in 2012, was true on both of his field goals while sophomore Steven Broccoli nailed his lone attempt.
While the team has yet to don pads and held its second practice wearing helmets, jerseys and shorts, several players drew praise from coaches and teammates with their individual performances. Junior transfer quarterback Nick Montana hit redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Marc Edwards for a touchdown in full-team drills while senior cornerback Derrick Strozier had perhaps the best grab of the day, diving to make a one-handed interception during one-on-ones.
"I thought they did better as practice went on," Johnson added. "Some of the things we're emphasizing is running to the ball, running downfield, downfield blocking and finishing plays. Those are things that young kids, typically, don't understand. They have to stay up. They can't fall to the ground. You're not tackling anyone and you're not dragging anyone to the ground. But they're starting to get it."
The Green Wave return to practice field on Monday when they head back to Airline Drive for an 8:30 a.m. session at the Saints indoor facility before holding its annual Media Day festivities at 12:30 p.m. in the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center. From there, the team will hold back-to-back practices at Newman High 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.
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.