Aug 23, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Six days separate the Tulane football squad from their first opponent, and Friday's fall practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome saw the Green Wave continue work towards learning the schemes of the Jackson State Tigers.
Despite a brief morning session in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts, the squad put in quality work as they spent a majority of their morning running with the scout team who mimicked the opponent that will face the Greenies next Thursday night on the same field. The defense once again stood out, with junior safety Sam Scofield having one of the better days of camp.
During 7-on-7 drills, Scofield recorded three consecutive pass breakups on deep passes over the middle, including one that would have fallen directly into the hands of a wide receiver in the back of the end zone.
Scofield's secondary teammates also posted strong days, as senior cornerback L.J. Parker notched an interception against the scout team offense in the corner of the end zone during 11-on-11 drills. On the opposite side of the field, freshman cornerback Richard Allen managed to rip the ball out of the hands of senior wide receiver Ryan Grant after a throw from junior quarterback Nick Montana.
In addition to the defensive efforts on the day, redshirt freshman running back Lazedrick Thompson and senior kicker Cairo Santos had an outstanding practice for the offense and special teams, respectively. Thompson, who ran the ball well out of the backfield on the day, also showed his hands by catching a variety of passes as a safety valve for the quarterbacks during 11-on-11 drills against a scout team defense. Thompson showed his speed as he was able to blow by defenders down the sideline.
Thompson's running back mates Orleans Darkwa and Josh Rounds also flashed what they could do out of the backfield, as they both broke off long runs through gaping holes created by their offensive line.
During the special teams part of practice, Santos once again proved he was worthy of the Lou Groza Award last December as the top collegiate kicker in the nation. Santos drilled field goals from both hashes before trying a 57-yard kick on the final snap of the special teams drills, putting the ball right down the middle with distance to spare.
While there were strong individual performances on the day for the Greenies, the practice was really about the first obstacle of the season for the Green Wave. After the work the team put in together as a whole on Friday, they are all the closer to being ready to face the Tigers from Jackson State when they arrive in New Orleans next Thursday.
"I was pleased (with today's practice)," said Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson. "I like our defense, and they ran around real well today. We had two competitive periods. I thought the offensive line was strong in the competition. We are starting to get our assignments down. We are starting on Jackson State. We feel real good about what we have accomplished before Jackson State."
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 FRIDAY'S PRACTICE
Head Coach Curtis Johnson
On Friday's practice...
"I was pleased. I like our defense, and they ran around real well today. We had two competitive periods. I thought the offensive line was strong in the competition. We are starting to get our assignments down. We are starting on Jackson State. We feel real good about what we have accomplished before Jackson State."
Junior cornerback Taurean Nixon
On his fall camp...
"Everything has been going great. I was able to come out here and get a lot of valuable reps in, learn the defense and just learn everything I need to know before Thursday's game."
On returning to the football field after a year off...
"Being off the football year for a year, I didn't take any days off. I worked out and ran every day along with coach C.J.'s son Trey. I ran with him every day. During the offseason, I never really took a day off."
On his thoughts on Tulane's running backs...
"I knew Rob Kelley before I got here. Lazedrick (Thompson) and all these other guys, there is just competition. Orleans (Darkwa) provides competition every day. Those guys coming together, we are going to have one great backfield."
On nearing his first game in over a year...
"For me, it's great. There are great emotions. I can't believe that I'm about to get back onto the field after a long year off. For the whole team, we feel great emotion. We talk about it every day, and we talk about how it's going to be a great season for us."