Sept. 5, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - With just two more practices before the season-opening contest vs. Mississippi State on Saturday in the Louisiana Superdome, the intensity around the Tulane University football team was at an all-time high as the Green Wave continued to work Wednesday afternoon at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
While the coaches did their fair share of work during Wednesday's practice - pointing out corrections in drills and shouting words of encouragement - members of the team itself were even quicker to speak up to their fellow teammates. A main reason for that was a meeting new head coach Bob Toledo set up to have his "Council Group" - a cross section of players hand picked by Toledo himself - who he charged with providing leadership on the field.
"I had a meeting with our council group this morning, and I told those guys have to start demanding that the rest of the team responds and does things the right way," Toledo said. "Today was our last contact day so we wanted to do things full speed but we wanted to do things right. We're working on the game plan and trying to execute that plan."
While the Green Wave offense and defense worked against scout teams replicating the Mississippi State defensive and offensive schemes, respectively, a main focus was at the point of attack one of the feature match-ups for Saturday's game figures to be Tulane's offensive line vs. the Bulldogs' front four.
The Green Wave return three starters along the offensive line in senior center Aryan Barto, junior left guard Michael Parenton and junior left tackle Troy Kropog. Kropog is the lone returnee at the same position he will be playing in 2007 as Barto lined up at left guard last season while Parenton was the team's center. The right side of the line, however, will be manned primarily by a pair of new faces to the lineup as true freshman Andrew Nierman currently sits atop the depth chart at right guard and redshirt-freshman Pete Hendrickson is slated to start at right tackle.
"My biggest concern is their defensive line," Toledo said of Mississippi State. "We're going to start a true freshman at right guard and we're going to start a redshirt-freshman at right tackle. Their best defensive lineman, in my opinion, is their left defensive end (Brown), so the match up is very difficult. We're going to try and do some things offensively to help that tackle."
Saturday's season opener vs. Mississippi State marks the first of four consecutive home games for the Green Wave as Tulane will play host to Houston (Sept. 15), Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 22) and LSU (Sept. 29) in the Louisiana Superdome during the month of September.
Season tickets remain on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. In addition, "SEC Package" tickets (one ticket to both the Mississippi State and LSU games for $65) remain on sale throughout the week. For ticket information, visit the ticket office on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, call the office 504-861-WAVE or go on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.