Aug. 14, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team held its first two-a-day practice of preseason camp on Thursday at the Westfeldt Practice Facility and both halves could not have been more different from each other.
In the 18-period morning session, the team resembled gnats buzzing around as the coaching staff screamed and hollered to get the players aligned quickly and to constantly pick up the pace. In the 24-period afternoon portion of practice, heavy legs slowed the progress a bit but head coach Bob Toledo once again left the practice field with a smile on his face as he realized his team got better once again.
"They weren't half as good as they were this morning," Toledo said. "Part of it is because this is our first double session and (another factor is) they're not used to going at that tempo.
"You can practice all you want all summer - and you need to in order to be ready for this kind of stuff - but you can't simulate this. You can't get hit. You can't fall on the ground. You can't do the reps all the time. You don't have coaches yelling at you. It's different. It's almost like you have to get calloused. And that's why you practice - to get calloused and get into playing shape."
During the morning practice, Toledo and his staff had the team simulate game-time clock management. One of the new rules for the 2008 season is the implementation of a 40-second play clock when plays end and the clock is still running while a 25-second clock will be used when the game clock stops following a play from scrimmage.
The afternoon sessions were much more determined and there was a heavy emphasis on the kicking game as the team spent several periods working on field goal/point after touchdown, punting, punt return and on-side kicks. As usual, the team wrapped up the day with an extended team session with a full 11-on-11, game-like scenario.
"This morning, we didn't do any kicking game but it was a fast tempo," Toledo said. "We tried to use the 40-second clock and make things as fast as we could. The coaches were yelling, screaming and getting after them. They had a hard time getting in and out of the huddle and getting plays off. We really tried to pick up the tempo, and it showed this afternoon. We exhausted them this morning."
Sophomore wide receiver Alan Mitchell caught a touchdown pass for the second consecutive practice, but the defense had the bulk of the highlights. Junior defensive back Corey Sonnier had a couple of big hits to hold the offense to minimal yardage, and broke up a pass in the endzone. The highlight of the day, however, came later when sophomore cornerback Alex Wacha pressured the quarterback on a blitz and fellow sophomore corner Phillip Davis picked off the throw in the endzone.
Thursday's two-a-day represented the one-week mark of year two of Camp Toledo at Tulane, and the head coach said that "for the most part" he was pleased with his team's progress to date.
"I'm a little disappointed that we had a few guys go down," Toledo said. "Some guys needed IVs. Some guys were pulling up a little bit. They need to continue to hydrate themselves so that they can practice. We've got a bunch of guys who are doing a good job, but we've got some guys who need to get mentally tougher."
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, Aug. 15, with a single session slated to start at 9:30 a.m. at the Westfeldt Pracitice Faclity. From there, the team will hold another double session on Saturday with the second half of the practice featuring a one-hour scrimmage.
Tulane opens 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.