A Week in the Life of a Tulane Football Player



Oct. 4, 2000

Game Day...the pageantry...the atmosphere...cheerleaders and marching bands...hot dogs and popcorn.

One of Ramsey's hobby is the aquarium he keeps in his room at Tulane.
Sitting in the stands, we appreciate the athletic abilities of the student-athletes wearing Tulane green. But to really appreciate the sacrifices, the discipline, and the intense mental and physical preparation that goes into becoming a successful student-athlete, spend a week with quarterback Patrick Ramsey, or with any member of the Tulane football team. You'll come away with respect that goes way beyond appreciation of their athletic abilities.

"Time management is the key," Ramsey says. "You have to allot specific time for football, for studying, even for down time, just to stay sane."

As you can see by the accompanying typical weekly schedule, there's not much "down time". Despite the many forms of entertainment New Orleans offers, during his rare moments of relaxation, you're likely to find Ramsey on the phone to his family or girlfriend, Ginny, answering his e-mail, feeding the fish in the aquarium he keeps in his apartment, or watching football on television. And of course, like any good quarterback, Ramsey makes it a point to spend time off the field with his offensive linemen.

Despite his busy schedule, Patrick Ramsey makes time to check in with his family and friends in Ruston, and to play on his computer, and sometimes he does both at the same time.

"Last week we went to (center) Torie Taulli's house on Wednesday night," Ramsey said. "They brought the ice cream, I brought the sodas and we watched SMU game film. I want to be sure I'm on the same page with those guys, that's for sure."

The majority of a player's week is actually spent studying - whether in class, in study hall, or in a meeting studying game film.

Ramsey, who is an accounting/finance major in Tulane's College of Business, is taking four courses this semester - Auditing, Taxation, Advanced Financial Management and Management Policy. He's in class Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-11:30 a.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. Based on his 3.5 cumulative grade point average, one might conclude that academics comes easy to Ramsey. Not so, he says.

"I will always get my studying done," Ramsey avers. "Just like you have to focus in practice and be prepared for games and practices, I take that same attitude with my schoolwork. My roommates always accuse me of being antisocial, because I close my door and go in my room and study."

For those members of the team who don't have Ramsey's lofty grade point average, study hall is required. Freshmen put in 15 hours a week in study hall, which may or may not include tutoring hours. Beyond that first year, the program is more individualized, but older students average six to 10 hours a week, plus tutoring. Players in study hall meet weekly with one of Tulane's academic counselors, who monitor their academic progress.

During the season, players work out every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

As for the football preparation, it begins on Sunday when the players return to the Wilson Center. First, they report to the training room where TU trainers take inventory on the bumps and bruises, aches and pains accumulated in the previous day's games. Sunday's practice involves a session in the weight room and some running, which serves to work out some of the soreness. Following a brief team meeting, each position group gathers to review the previous day's game film, good and bad.

Following Sunday's meetings, the previous game is filed away and all attention is given to the upcoming opponent.

After the NCAA required weekly off day on Monday, players know that Tuesday will be one of the most intense days of the week, beginning in the meeting rooms an hour before practice and continuing through the rest of the afternoon.

"It's our first chance to get on the field and see what looks good on the field against the opponents' sets," Ramsey said. "We experiment with the plays the coaches have picked out and see how they look against the scout team. It's a pretty physical day because we're usually in full pads."

Hours of meeting time go into every week. Here, assistant coach Trooper Taylor talks to the wide receivers.

Prior to Tuesday's practice, four players are selected to represent the team at the weekly media opportunity. The four players, along with Head Coach Chris Scelfo, meet the local media Tuesday morning in the Wilson Center. Media responsibilities during the week can also involve pre- and/or post-practice interviews, and occasionally a phone interview with a member of the other team's media contingent.

Ramsey terms Wednesday's practice as one of the most important of the week.

"You really want to have a good day on Wednesday," Ramsey said. "It's the last physical day of the week, so you want to be sharp, and we're really focused in on what we want to do in the game."

By comparison, Thursday's workout is much more about the mental preparation and is usually conducted in shorts and shoulder pads.

In addition to the practices, players lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. And for anyone who makes the injury list, there are required daily stops in the training room for treatment.

Outside of the Wilson Center and adjoining practice fields and the Freeman Building (Business School), Ramsey spends most of his time in the five-bedroom suite he shares with punter Casey Roussel, defensive lineman Alex Battard, former player Stephen Parrish and friend Tony Cunningham.

Ramsey is quick to admit that when it comes to cooking, he leaves that to his more accomplished culinary roommates, Roussel and Battard. The five visit the campus grocery store when the cooking mood hits, but also often stop by the University Center or Bruff Commons on campus to grab a quick meal.

"Casey and his parents are great cooks," Ramsey said. "He can cook anything, but does a lot of the traditional Louisiana favorites. Alex is more of the hamburger, steak, macaroni type of cook. I can't cook at all."

While it might seem the schedule does not allow time for much beyond eating, sleeping, studying and football, Ramsey loves to watch football on television, including the Sunday night ESPN NFL game, Monday Night Football and the ESPN Thursday night college game. Aside from that, the former track and field standout, who won a bronze medal throwing the javelin at the Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba in 1997, has caught some of the Olympic broadcasts. He makes time to attend the weekly FCA meetings on campus and is one of the football team's representatives to the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, which carries the concerns of the student-athletes to the administration. He tries to find time to attend other Tulane athletic events and participate in community service projects organized by the football team and athletic department.

So today, while you're enjoying the game, take a moment to remember the daily meetings, grueling practices, hours of study hall and above all, the hard work, that Ramsey and all of the Tulane players put in each and every week. Then cheer a little harder. They deserve it.