Aug. 16, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - As Tulane football head coach Bob Toledo mixes in a variety of game elements to his practices, he used Saturday as an opportunity to hold an afternoon intra-squad scrimmage, following the morning practice.
The Green Wave brought in live kicking and return situations into their repertoire, providing the Green Wave a chance to the indoor return game.
"It was good for the return guys and receivers to see a background which resembles in the Superdome," Toledo added.
While special teams was the focal point of the afternoon scrimmage, the Green Wave offense initiated live game situations on offense and defense with elements such as signal calling, substitutions and officials.
The defensive star of the day was junior linebacker/nickel back Travis Burks, who nabbed a pair of interceptions.
"I was really impressed with Travis Burks. He had two interceptions, he had a bunch of tackles, he was all over the field," Toledo said. "We face a lot of pass-oriented teams, and he's the ideal guy for those nickel and dime packages."
Burks picked off a pass attempt over the middle, after it deflected off the intended receiver at offense's own 26 yard line and took it all the way down to the Green Wave seven. Later, he thwarted a third-and-seven attempt with a sideline interception, spinning around for a four-yard return.
Also on the defensive side, sophomore corner back Phillip Davis added a pair of pass break ups, leveling a hard hit on the intended receiver to separate the ball in the morning session, and batting away a pass in the afternoon scrimmage.
"We wanted to create an environment where the guys know what the situation is. We don't want them going out there thinking it's first and 10 at all time," Toledo continued. "We want them to be alert. It's not just first and 10 all the time. I like that the guys are talking, yelling `hey, it's third and four!' They are talking situations, rather than just lining up and waiting for the ball to be snapped."
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Moore completed 14-of-23 attempts through the air, for 128 yards converting on five third-down situations. He completed three-of-six on third and long, including a 12-yard wheel route to freshman running back Nathan Austin and a 23-yard strike to senior wide receiver Michael Batiste on third-and-10.
In the 18-period morning session, Moore found Chris Dunn on a 35-yard touchdown pass. Dunn also added another pair of catches compiling 57 yards.
Freshman quarterback Joe Kemp hooked up with sophomore wide out Casey Robottom for a 40-yard pickup down the left sideline in the morning session. Kemp connected on 7-of-14 in the scrimmage, converting on third and long three times. He also added a long scramble in the morning session, picking up a would-be first down and having room for more before the play was blown dead.
On the ground, freshman running back Albert Williams carried five times for 15 yards, while Austin picked up 10 yards on four carries.
"We'll just continue to do what we're doing: keep installing things. What we're trying to do is expose them to the things that we'll do over the course of the year, but that we don't do for every game," Toledo added.
The Green Wave will have a day off from practice tomorrow, with weight lifting and team meetings on the schedule Sunday. Tulane will be back out on the practice field on Monday.