Aug. 8, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The skies were overcast and a cool wind blew but spirits soared and the intensity level was even higher as the Tulane University football team took the field for day one of preseason practice Friday afternoon at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
The 96-member Green Wave club went through a 24 period session which lasted two hours and 17 minutes and the team was treated to an eight-minute break at the midpoint of the day's activities. With the 2008 regular-season opener at Alabama just 29 days away, head coach Bob Toledo had one goal as his team began its second season under his tutelage - get better every day.
"My big thing is we just need to get better every day - in every meeting and every practice," Toledo said. "We've got to worry about ourselves. There will be enough time for us to put a plan together for Alabama, but our goal right now is to try and get better each and every day.
"It was a very good practice. I was just telling the team it was night and day from last year at this time. The guys know what we expect, they have a really good idea of what we're trying to do offensively and defensively, and the veteran guys really set the stage for the freshman kids. They understand what it takes to practice."
Donning helmets, jerseys and shorts, the Green Wave squad went through a vast array of position drills, offensive and defensive alignments and specific team drills on Friday.
Toledo named sophomore quarterback Kevin Moore the starter for the year and the native of Highland Village, Texas, looked the part. Moore, who saw action in eight games in 2007 when he completed 30-of-54 passes for 432 yards and a pair of touchdowns, got things going as early as stretching exercises as he hooted and hollered to get the team fired up from the very beginning. From there, Moore was sharp in his throws, completing several passes in tight coverage.
Two of Moore's passes, in particular, drew the notice of the coaching staff. He connected with sophomore wide receiver Casey Robottom on a deep sideline pass during seven-on-sevens and later found sophomore tight end Tyler Helm on a deep sideline pattern in full-team drills.
The play of the day, however, came when senior signal-caller Scott Elliott found sophomore Alan Mitchell down the middle of the field. Mitchell worked his way up the hash marks, split a pair of defensive backs and went high to snare the pass for a 45-yard touchdown.
While the team did not play contact on Friday, the defense was not without its highlights as well. Senior cornerback Josh Lumar was everywhere - breaking up passes and closing in for would-be tackles that held the offense to minimal yardage. Junior corner Charles Harris made a nice deflection of a pass intended for Robottom later in the drills, and junior linebacker Travis Burks posted an interception after true freshman Peter Morreale deflected a pass down the field.
"For the most part, we're a stronger football team," Toledo said. "We're not where we need to be, but we're stronger than we were a year ago at this time. We're in better shape than we were a year ago at this time. There are a few guys that need to get in a little better shape, but as a whole I'm please with where we are at this point."
Tulane will hold its annual Media Day on Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center and will take the field for day two of preseason practice at 3:30 p.m. at the Westfeldt Practice Facility. The Green Wave open the 2008 season on Saturday, Sept. 6, when they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on the University of Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Season tickets for the 2008 Tulane football season are now on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. For more information on 2008 Tulane football tickets or tickets to any future Green Wave home athletic event, contact the Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.
MEDIA DAY NOTE: Fans can watch Tulane football's 2008 Media Day live via the CSTV.com All-Access Pass on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. Green Wave volleyball head coach Liz Kritza will take the podium at approximately 11:45 a.m. (CDT) and head football coach Bob Toledo will follow. After Toledo offers an opening statement and fields questions from the media, senior offensive lineman Michael Parenton and senior defensive end Reggie Scott will address the media as well. To watch Kritza, Toledo, Parenton and Scott discuss the upcoming season, click on the "Tulane's Live Media Day" button on the right side of the website. A complete transcript of their media session will be available later in the day.