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Tulane Green Wave
Tulane was bad again last year, finishing at 3-9 overall with only one win in conference play. The Green Wave were so bad that they lost to the other one-win AAC team (SMU) by 28 points. And so, they'll try and switch things up with new head coach Willie Fritz, who comes over from Georgia Southern, and was previously at Sam Houston State. Fritz's track record is great, but he has a long way to go.
Under Fritz, the offense will look a bit different as it will be extremely run-heavy with a mostly triple-option look. The good news is that top running back Dontrell Hilliard (646 yards, 6 TDs) returns to the mix along with Sherman Badie (310 yards), Josh Rounds and Lazedrick Thompson. The options are plenty in the backfield, but elsewhere is a little more of a problem with a number of guys leaving football or transferring away from the Green Wave.
That includes at quarterback where Darius Bradwell and Glen Cuiellette are competing for the starting gig. Both will be run-heavy, as neither showed much competence passing the ball in the spring. In addition to that, Tulane's top receivers from last year are gone with Terren Encalade and Trey Scott expected to step into starting roles.
But to make this offense work, the offensive line has to be better, which has been a major issue for this team. At the least, they'll have a couple seniors on the left side to work with and some more experience at center in Junior Diaz. But can they run this offense with success in the early going?
Either way, the defense is in a slightly better position after some improvement last year and a decent amount of returning starters. Those returning starters include some all-conference players in tackle Tanzel Smart and linebacker Nico Marley. Then there are still a few more studs in end Ade Aruna and another senior backer in Eric Thomas. The secondary may not have the same level of talent, but at least will have experience across almost every position.
It would be great if Tulane could start off with a win at Wake Forest, but beating an ACC team, no matter how good, may be too difficult right now. However, early season wins against Southern, UL-Lafayette and UMass are possibilities. Even in conference play, the Green Wave host winnable games against SMU and Temple, while also travelling to UCF, Tulsa and UConn.
The schedule sets up nicely for Fritz in his first season, but his team needs to improve first before winning games. Due to the schedule, the Wave could reach four or even five wins, but six seems like a bit of a leap. The offense may be better, but inexperience at quarterback can't be understated.
2016 Tulane Green Wave Football Schedule
Sept. 1 at Wake Forest
Sept. 10 vs. Southern
Sept. 17 vs. Navy
Sept. 24 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Oct. 1 at Massachusetts
Oct. 7 at UCF
Oct. 14 vs. Memphis
Oct. 22 at Tulsa
Oct. 29 vs. SMU
Nov. 12 at Houston
Nov. 19 vs. Temple
Nov. 26 at Connecticut
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