#97 Tulane Football 2015 Preview

Tulane Green Wave

Overall Rank: #97
#8 American

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In 2013, it looked like Tulane had turned a corner. The Green Wave went 7-6 and reached their first bowl game since 2002. With expectations higher, Coach Curtis Johnson’s team fell back to reality in 2014, winning just three games. The new on campus stadium that opened last season is helping recruiting and there is a growing amount of depth in the program. This is a team that can win in the AAC.

2014 Record: 3-9, 2-6
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Curtis “CJ” Johnson (12-25 at Tulane, 12-25 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Price
Defensive Coordinator: Jason Rollins, Lionel Washington

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Sherman Badie, RB, 688 yards
Passing: Tanner Lee, QB, 1,962 yards
Receiving: Teddy Veal, WR, 381 yards
Tackles: Nico Marley, LB, 82
Sacks: Royce LaFrance, DE, 6.0
Interceptions: Parry Nickerson, CB, 6

Other Key Returnees: RB Lazedrick Thompson, WR Dotrell Hilliard, S Darion Monroe, OT Arturo Uzdavinis, C Nathan Shienle, TE Charles Jones II, P Peter Picerelli

Key Losses: OT Sean Donnelly, WR Justyn Shackleford, TE Matt Marfisi, CB Lorenzo Doss, S Sam Scofield

Tulane’s defense was the reason the 2014 campaign was not even worse than it was. The secondary did a superb job creating turnovers and the young front seven was solid against the run. The secondary does have some players to replace, most notably cornerback Lorenzo Doss and safety Sam Scofield. But Parry Nickerson picked off six passes as a freshman and is ready to be a leader. The defensive line returns tackles Tanzel Smart and Corey Redwin and end Royce LaFrance. It is LaFrance who will be asked to keep the pressure on the opposing quarterback. Nico Marley, who totaled 82 tackles in 2014, will again be the leader of a suddenly experienced group of linebackers. Perhaps the opportunistic turnovers will not happen quite as often as they did in 2014, but top to bottom, this should be an even better defense in 2015.

The offense averaged just 16.0 points per game last season and we have already seen the results when Tulane has a good defense and an offense that cannot move the ball efficiently. There is hope though thanks to speedy sophomore running back Sherman Badie. He can break some big runs and nobody is going to catch him once he gets space. The hope is a more experienced offensive line, which returns four starters, will lead to more consistency. But in order for Badie to reach his potential, Tulane needs to be competent in the passing game. Quarterback Tanner Lee completed just 55.1 percent of his attempts last season for 1,962 yards. Teddy Veal is a nice, safe target for Lee, but something needs to open up downfield on occasion for Tulane in order for the offense to show major improvement.

The Bottom Line:
Perhaps the best news is the schedule. After opening with Duke and Georgia Tech, there are a lot of winnable games on the slate. Tulane hosts Maine on September 19th and November includes games against Connecticut, Army, SMU and Tulsa. Right now, on paper, those are all winnable. Reaching six wins will not be easy, but it is certainly possible and, with a couple new AAC bowls, it will be enough for the Green Wave to go back to a bowl game.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 145.5 (91st in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 201.3 (85, 7)
Total Offense: 346.8 (107, 7)
Scoring Offense: 16.0 (121, 9)
Rushing Defense: 157.9 (50, 5)
Pass Defense: 229.9 (67, 7)
Total Defense: 387.8 (55, 7)
Scoring Defense: 28.4 (79, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.25 (45, 3)
Sacks: 1.83 (86, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (67, 5)


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