Aug 15, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's football squad held their first outdoor practice this week as they took to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Thursday morning in the wake of the New Orleans Saints preseason game Friday evening in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The entire team had to brave the harsh weather conditions to get in more work in preparation for the season opener against Jackson State at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in exactly two weeks. With the heat bearing down, the Greenies wore only shoulder pads and helmets after spending the last five practices in air-conditioning. However, Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson and his staff were pleased with the efforts of their athletes on the day.
"We started off with a little climate change," Johnson stated. "We thought it was hotter than it was. It was not a bad day at all. We had our challenges with the field, but it was fine. As we got going, I thought practice went pretty well. I thought Rob Kelley practiced well, as did Josh Rounds. Our two receivers (Ryan) Grant and (Justyn) Shackleford played pretty well today. And I thought Tanner Lee had one of his better days throwing the football."
There was a heavy focus on special teams today, with both kickoff and punt units getting time on the field. While the reigning Lou Groza Award winner, Cairo Santos, performed well in kickoff situations, sophomore kicker Steven Broccoli also had the opportunity to show off his leg with the kickoff team.
Sophomore punters Logan Hilton and Peter Picerelli both split time with the punt units during practice. Freshman cornerback Parry Nickerson fielded a majority of the punts, with sophomore safety Darion Monroe and senior cornerback Derrick Strozier also receiving punts.
The wide receivers and cornerbacks went through a slew of one-on-one drills against each other, with senior wide receiver JoJo Dobbs making some impressive catches. Wide receiver stalwarts Xavier Rush and Shackleford also made nice grabs despite valiant defensive efforts from Tulane cornerbacks.
Despite wearing just shoulder pads and helmets, the team did participate in 11-on-11 drills with contact without actually being brought down to the ground. During that part of practice, the offensive line shined as they opened gaping holes for running backs Rob Kelley and Lazedrick Thompson. Both backs made it through the first and second lines of defense before using their sheer speed to get past the secondary on their way to touchdowns. Thompson even employed a nice stiff arm on a safety attempting to stop him.
Defensively, redshirt junior defensive end Andre Robinson was able to get past the offensive line for the lone sack of the 11-on-11 drills. Also, a pass from the arm of redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Powell intended for freshman wide receiver Devon Breaux was broken up by sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss.
After wrapping up the 11-on-11 drills, the skill players went through 7-on-7 drills, where junior quarterback Nick Montana connected with Breaux on a slant over the middle for about 20 yards. While the 7-on-7 drills were going on, the offensive and defensive lines went at one another on the sidelines.
Tulane's practices on Friday and Saturday will be in the New Orleans Saints Indoor Practice Facility, and both will be closed. The team will take a break from the action on Sunday before beginning their final week of fall camp on Monday.
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.
QUOTES FOLLOWING EIGHT PRACTICE OF TULANE PRESEASON FOOTBALL PRACTICE
Head Coach Curtis Johnson
On Thursday's practice...
"We started off with a little climate change. We thought it was hotter than it was. It was not a bad day at all. We had our challenges with the field, but it was fine. As we got going, I thought practice went pretty well. I thought Rob Kelley practiced well, as did Josh Rounds. Our two receivers (Ryan) Grant and (Justyn) Shackleford played pretty well today. And I thought Tanner Lee had one of his better days throwing the football."
On the rest of the week...
"Tomorrow will be a mental practice. These freshman practice linebackers stepped up today. I thought they played the best they have. Tomorrow we will get them mentally charged and back to cut some stuff out before the scrimmage. I thought Alex Paul played well (today), so those guys like that need a mental day, and we are going to do that for them."
On putting out a depth chart...
"I think there are so many guys right now that are clumped up and in the mix. But I will say that Cairo (Santos) is our starting kicker. And with that, we are just going through and seeing what everyone else can do."
Sophomore punter Peter Picerelli
On fall camp so far...
"Everything is good. We have a lot of new specialists that have come in, and everyone has gotten a lot of reps, especially early on. But this is my first year holding (field goals) for Cairo (Santos), so I'm just trying to get a lot of reps every day to make Cairo feel as comfortable as he was last year to give him the ability to go out and make every kick."
On pressure working with Cairo Santos...
"There is a little bit of pressure. But I got the early jump by holding for him in the spring. We kind of worked out our kinks last spring. So this summer, we have met up a couple of times to get our rhythm down pat. We are very comfortable with each other at this point."
"The punting is going good. Last year, I had a decent year for a freshman. But I have to come back this year and compete with these guys. If I happen to win that job, I have to come back and prove and make steps. If I can get better than I was last year, it can be a strength to this team to help them win games."
Redshirt Junior defensive tackle Kenny Welcome
On Thursday's practice...
"I thought today went pretty good. We started off kind of slow, but we picked it up during the second half."
On how his fall camp has gone so far...
"I think I'm having a pretty decent camp. I want to give a shout out to my whole defensive line, who I think is having an excellent camp so far. The running backs are doing pretty well, as well. I think overall, the whole team is coming together, and we are all playing pretty good."
On playing on the defensive line...
"I'm playing next to some monsters. Julius (Warmsley) and Chris Davenport. You've got Tanzel (Smart) and Corey Redwine, Andre (Robinson), Royce (LaFrance). I'm playing next to some pretty good people. It makes me play better, especially with the people coming behind me."
On practicing outdoors and whether or not practicing indoors has spoiled the team...
"I don't think (it has spoiled the team). I think it was hot, but I don't think we are spoiled, but we have been indoor during most of the practices."