Aug. 22, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Junior quarterback Scott Elliott threw for 158 yards and two touchdowns, and the Green Wave defense combined for four sacks and a quartet of turnovers, as the Tulane University football team wrapped up Day 12 of preseason practice with a 75-play scrimmage Wednesday afternoon at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
Elliott completed 13-of-22 passes on the day, including a 45-yard scoring strike to junior wide receiver Brian King and a one-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Justin Kessler. The defense, meanwhile, was not without its share of plays as the unit tallied 14 tackles for loss, four pass break-ups and three interceptions.
"I thought we saw a lot of kids out there doing a lot of nice things," new head coach Bob Toledo said. "Some DBs were making some plays, the linebackers made a bunch of plays, the defensive line was aggressive. So from that standpoint I was pleased. I thought we threw the ball fairly well, we caught it well and I thought our running backs ran extremely well.
"I'm really pleased with the work ethic and attitude of our football team. They act like the want to win. They've worked extremely hard. We've asked a lot of them, and as a coach, you want them to respond to what you say. I honestly believe that these kids are responding to what we're trying to do."
Senior running back Ray Boudreaux led the Green Wave rushing attack with 31 yards on eight carries, including a long of 12, and fellow senior tailback Ade Tuyo was next with six carries for 18 yards. Junior tight end Justin Kessler led all receivers with three receptions (for 14 yards and a touchdown) and King tallied 62 yards through the air on a pair of grabs.
But while the offense was able to move the ball up and down the field at times, the Green Wave defense did more than simply hold their own. Every time the offense made a big play, the defense responded with a big play of its own. The scrimmage opened with a sack, and four plays later, junior cornerback Josh Lumar picked off a pass.
The offense settled into a groove from there as the team went through several situational down-and-distance drills. Coach Toledo broke up the scrimmage had offense and defense head to different ends of the field to work on goal-line situations for the first time before bringing them back together as the team worked on driving the ball from its own 30 yard line.
The combination of junior defensive end Reggie Scott and junior linebacker Evan Lee thwarted a long drive by the offense when Scott hit Elliott as he was releasing the ball and Lee hauled in the team's second interception of the day. Freshman cornerback Phillip Davis had two of the Green Wave's four pass break-ups, sophomore defensive back Corey Sonnier had an interception return for a touchdown, and true freshman linebacker Lamont Simmons sacked Elliott to cause a fumble which was recovered by senior defensive tackle Avery Williams.
"We keep telling them `Don't worry about the last play,'" Toledo said of the defense. "The only thing you have control over is the next play. The offense has to be perfect and not very many offenses are perfect for 10-12 plays. They're going to make a mistake. You just have to hang in there, keep playing and hope they make that mistake.
"What usually happens is the defense is a little ahead of the offense in these type of situations - particularly when they face the same offense day in and day out. Defense is recognition and reaction. They start reading your blocks, they start reading your pass routes, and they kind of know what you're doing. That's part of playing defense. I think the defense is a little ahead, and I'm glad they are."
Tulane returns to practice on Thursday, Aug. 23, with their third two-a-day practice of the fall at the Westfeldt Facility with the team hitting the field at 9:30 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. The squad will hold a single practice on Friday and will hold their third double session of the week on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon, the team will bus to the Louisiana Superdome for a closed scrimmage to get acquainted to the facility and go through several game-day scenarios.
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.