Aug. 15, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Tuesday was a full day for the Tulane University football team as the squad held its first full-pad practice of preseason camp in the morning at the Westfeldt Facility and held its annual "Media Day" in the afternoon at the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center.
The Green Wave went full speed for the first time in day five of preseason practice and the offense led the way with several long plays and going 4-for-4 in third-and-short situations late in the 24-period, two-hour and 43-minute slate. During Media Day, Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo addressed media members from around Southeast Louisiana on topics ranging from the trials of the 2005 season to the expectations of the upcoming year.
"The main focus is where we are now and what we're doing now," Scelfo said in his opening statements to the media. "We're happy to be back (in New Orleans), but the bottom line is that nobody we play is going to feel sorry for us. They didn't last year, and they sure won't this year.
"I'm excited about the guys' attitudes and what they want to achieve, and I don't think it's just talk. We don't have any guys who stand out individually...we've got a collection of guys, and it's going to take everyone on our football team doing their roles for us to be successful. I think that's the makeup of this team."
At practice, the Tulane team's day began like the weather when it was on the field - cool and cloudy at first before the haze cleared and things began to heat up. By the time practiceended, the temperature reached into the mid 90s, Green Wave players were flying around the field, and the sound of pads popping was a sound both the players and coaches alike had been waiting for.
"Today's practice went well at times, and there were some things I saw that we need to work on," Scelfo said. "It was a little sluggish at times, and we need to improve on that through our conditioning and our mental preparation. We need to learn how to fight through that."
The team began practice with special teams drills, and then the hitting began as the team was split into groups for one-on-one blocking drills. Following that, the Green Wave went through positional drills, team offensive and defensive formations, and 7-on-7 skeleton drills.
The practice moved to a hard-hitting goal-line scenario where the offense was given the ball first-and-goal from the four. Offensively, junior running back Matt Forté scored three times on sweeps while rookie André Anderson scored on a sweep around the left end and dive up the gut.
The defense, meanwhile, forced a pair of fumbles, one of which was recovered by junior defensive lineman Avery Williams, and posted a pair of goal-line stands courtesy of big stops by junior defensive tackle Frank Morton.
The Green Wave also worked on long-yardage scenarios and third-and short situations before ending the practice with 10 40-yard gliders.
In the long-distance drills, senior cornerback Jeremy Foreman posted a pair of pass break ups, including one that was tipped into the air and intercepted by junior defensive back David Skehan. Forté had a couple of long runs, while both sophomore cornerback Josh Lumar and junior corner Louis Thomas tallied tackles for loss.
In third-and-short, the first-team offense converted all four of its opportunities as senior quarterback Lester Ricard completed all three of his passes, including a pair to junior tight end Gabe Ratcliff. Senior defensive end Billy Harrison had a sack against the No. 2 offense and the defense was able to force a punt situation on five of the final eight plays.
The Green Wave return to practice on Wednesday, Aug. 16, with the first two-a-day session of the preseason as the team will take the field at 7:30 a.m. and again at 4 p.m. Following single practices on Thursday and Friday, Tulane is schedule to host its first preseason scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. The scrimmage is open to the public and admission is free.