Tulane Football Holds First Practice At Mercedes-Benz Superdome



Aug. 12, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's football team got back to work on Monday with their second two-a-day practice of fall camp, including their first practice in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, during the morning session and returned for a second practice during the middle of the afternoon.

The morning session gave the Greenies their first opportunity to practice on the field where they will play their final season before moving into the on-campus Yulman Stadium in 2014.

The air-conditioned venue was a nice break in the action from what the team has gone through thus far during fall camp. Although the temperature on the turf at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was well received by many of the student-athletes, sweat still rained as the offense and defense went at it on numerous occasions during the intense practice.

After watching film on Sunday during their first day without practice since camp began on Aug. 2, the entire team went through a walkthrough shortly after arriving at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Once they wrapped up the walkthrough and their team-wide stretch, the squad worked with their position coaches on position-specific drills before the team focused on their two-minute offense.

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Aaron Bryant recorded a sack against redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Powell for one of the defensive highlights of the day. However, freshman quarterback Tanner Lee countered that play with a deep pass to junior wide receiver Xavier Rush during the two-minute drill, one play before the quarterback ran it up the middle into the end zone untouched.

The special teams got a lot of work in after the squad's first break of the day. The kickers and holders worked on PATs and field goals, while the defensive side of the special teams worked on field goal blocking techniques. Once the special teams wrapped up their stay on the field, the offense and defense focused on live goal line situations. Senior running back Orleans Darkwa was able to punch it in despite tremendous efforts from the defensive line.



"We had very good short yardage periods," exclaimed Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson. "It was good by the offense. They took it down to the goal line, and the defense then took it over. That's what you want in terms of competitiveness. I thought the two-minute drill went well. I thought we learned a lot from the two-minute drill with the quarterbacks. We are moving in the right direction."

Before wrapping up practice, the skill positions worked in 7-on-7 situations while the defensive line worked on rushing techniques against the offensive line. Graduate student defensive tackle Chris Davenport and freshman defensive tackle Tanzel Smart both put on a show by blowing past the offensive lineman on their way to the quarterback.

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.


Head Coach Curtis Johnson

On Saturday's scrimmage ...
"I thought the defense played well. They ran around and hustled. They played probably the best defensive game I've ever seen them play. They had hustle. On offensive, we had two turnovers. That's too many turnovers. We have some things that we have to get cleared up with the offensive line, the quarterbacks and the receivers. The receivers had some drops, so I'm a little disappointed with the receivers. I thought the backs ran hard."

On Monday's first practice...
"We had very good short yardage periods. It was good by the offense. They took it down to the goal line, and the defense then took it over. That's what you want in terms of competitiveness. I thought the two-minute drill went well. I thought we learned a lot from the two-minute drill with the quarterbacks. We are moving in the right direction."

On the defensive line...
"There is a lot of them, and they are tough, they are big, and they are faster than they've ever been. I think that is one of the strengths of this team, along with the running backs."

On who stood out on Monday...
"I thought the quarterbacks did a good job. Tanner (Lee) had a good day. (Devin) Powell had a good day also. Xavier Rush played well. On the defensive side, on the D-line, you can name all of them. (Chris) Davenport is doing well, Tanzel Smart (is too). There are some defensive players that are running around."

Junior Wide Receiver Justyn Shackleford

On the offense progressing...
"Things are going well. The offense is getting better. We are learning more and more plays every day. We are just trying to get better every day."

On practicing in the Mercedes Benz Superdome...
"I've been here multiple times. When I first got here, I thought it looked cool and it felt cool. But it's not anything big now. I've played here before."

On the receiving corps...
"I think we have an elite receiving corps. We have some veterans that are coming back with some experience, and we have some young guys coming in and stepping up to the plate right now."

On the quarterbacks...
"I like all of the quarterbacks. All of them can get the ball out. They are also out here learning like all of us. They are getting better and learning their plays and learning their reads. But they can get the ball out to us."

Sophomore Cornerback Lorenzo Doss

On fall camp so far...
"Fall camp has been great. We are getting better every day. The defense is going out there and making plays. We are just making the team better."

On practicing in the Mercedes Benz Superdome...
"It's great. The air (conditioning) in here feels good. The turf feels good. It's just a great environment."

On getting excited for the season...
"I'm real pumped up. (Being at the Mercedes Benz Superdome) brought me back to game days. It makes me remember being out here on third downs, making plays."

On the defense...
"We just have to go out and make plays. We have to make each other better, communicate and create turnovers to put the offense back on the field."