Aug. 17, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - There is an old saying around football circles that offense puts fans in the seats, but defense wins championships.
On Friday afternoon at the Westfeldt Facility, defense was the name of the game as the Tulane University football team wrapped up week one of its preseason drills. New head coach Bob Toledo was quick to give kudos to the Green Wave defense, citing attitude as the No. 1 reason for the overall improvement.
"I think their attitude is really good," Toledo said of his defense. "The coaches are coaching them hard and (the players) are responding to it. We're working hard on our conditioning where we want them running to the ball. I think they're doing a nice job. They want to win and they're making a good effort."
Donning full pads for the third consecutive day, the Tulane team continued to go through "Thud" drills where both sides of the ball go full speed, but the defenders only wrap up instead of a full out tackle. Despite not bringing the ball carriers all the way to the ground, several Green Wave defenders had a solid Friday.
Junior strong safety David Skehan was quick to fill the hole on several occasions and senior free safety Joe Goosby followed suit with a couple of nice breaks on pass routes for some break-ups. Not to be left out, freshman defensive back Devin Holland showed good speed in pursuit and nearly had an interception. Along the defensive line, junior Reggie Scott was a mainstay in the backfield, and senior defensive end Antonio Harris did his share of wreaking havoc as well.
The intensity was at an all-time high during the alley drill, where offensive players are pitted one-on-one with a defender while a ball carrier attempts to get through a five-yard zone. The drill was so intense that Tulane defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer commented afterwards, "Man, even I'm tired after watching that drill."
"You see that drill happen all over the field," Toledo said. "Guys on offense have to sustain blocks while defensive guys have to get off blocks and go make the tackle. That's what the drill is all about and it's a physically-demanding drill. I think when you first start out, it's difficult. Then all of the sudden, they get the hang of it, they get better fundamentally and that's when you've got something."
While Friday's practice marked the one-week mark of preseason drills for the Green Wave, Toledo said he was pleased with his team's progress. The Green Wave open week two of fall practice with their first two-a-day on Saturday as Toledo's troops will hit the field for an 18-period practice at 9:30 a.m. before returning to the Westfeldt Facility for a 12-period session beginning at 3:35 p.m. The last half of Saturday afternoon's practice will be a controlled scrimmage.
"We got a lot in," Toledo said. "I'm very pleased. We got a lot of things in and I think we're better right now than when we ended spring practice. I think there are some freshmen out here that we had a chance to look at, and I've been impressed with several of them."
Saturday's scrimmage, like nearly all of the Green Wave's practices, is open to the public and admission is free. Following the two-a-day practice, the Tulane squad will enjoy a rare day off the field on Sunday.
The Green Wave open the 2007 season on Saturday, Sept. 8, when Tulane takes on Mississippi State at 6 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. Season tickets remain on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. For ticket information, visit the ticket office on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, by phone at 504-861-WAVE or on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.