Starters Shine At Tulane Practice

Starters Shine At Tulane Practice

"Christian Ducré worked hard all summer and has come in here and played well," Scelfo said. "He's an extremely talented athlete. He's got great hands. He makes people miss in the open field. He's powerful from the waist down which makes him difficult to tackle. He is pushing all of our running backs except Matt [Forté] right now and if he keeps running like he has in these two scrimmages this week, he'll be hard to keep off the field."<

NEW ORLEANS – In its last major scrimmage session of the preseason, Tulane's first team offense and defense again excelled, bringing a smile to the face of head coach Chris Scelfo following the workout. The Green Wave practiced for nearly two hours Saturday morning, with one hour devoted to the scrimmage, which included officials but no kicking or punting.

"Overall I'm very, very pleased," Scelfo said. "It was hot, and the guys were a little dead-legged today, but the ‘ones' on both sides of the ball competed well and competed hard. We had no turnovers today, which is great for the offense, but not for the defense.

"The first [team] defense really flew around. We mixed and matched personnel in the secondary and at linebacker, but the one defense did not give up any big plays."

Freshman running back Christian Ducré ran for 93 yards on eight carries and starting quarterback Lester Ricard completed six-of-seven passes for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns in limited action to provide the offensive highlights. Junior Preston Brown caught four passes for 86 yards and a pair of scores, including a long reception of 37 yards from back-up signal-caller Nick Cannon.

In all, 10 players, including six true freshmen, caught passes from five different Tulane quarterbacks. Rookies Brian King and Chris Dunn made three catches each while Charles Harris and Cary Koch caught two passes apiece. Dunn's three catches for 30 yards included a 14-yard touchdown grab.

"I feel good about our young receivers – Brian King, Charles Harris and Chris Dunn all stood out today," Scelfo said. "Preston Brown has gotten so much better every year he's been here. He looks like he's ready to really step up and contribute this year."

Ducré, a true freshman from Mandeville, La., also has impressed Scelfo in workouts this week.

"Christian Ducré worked hard all summer and has come in here and played well," Scelfo said. "He's an extremely talented athlete. He's got great hands. He makes people miss in the open field. He's powerful from the waist down which makes him difficult to tackle. He is pushing all of our running backs except Matt [Forté] right now and if he keeps running like he has in these two scrimmages this week, he'll be hard to keep off the field."

Dfensively, the Green Wave recorded seven sacks and six pass break-ups with senior linebacker Anthony Cannon leading the way with eight tackles, a sack and a quarterback pressure. Big defensive tackle Frank Morton recorded six tackles and a pair of sacks, while sophomore Alvin Johnson had two sacks, four stops and swatted down a pass.

"On the defensive line, freshmen Sean Carney stood out before he got tired, and I noticed Craig Morris and Taurean Brown doing some good things," Scelfo said. "I was very pleased with (Shreveport sophomore) Antonio Harris, he's picked up where he left off last year. Alvin Johnson and Avery Williams need to fight through [the heat] a little better but they can make some plays. We're going to need all of those guys to be ready to play on September 4."

The battle for the back-up quarterback job continued Saturday as redshirt freshman Scott Elliott and junior Nick Cannon took most of the reps on the day. Elliott completed eight-of-14 throws for 77 yards and a touchdown, while Cannon was five-of-12 for 63 yards, but was sacked three times.

Practice continues Sunday afternoon with a single workout at the Westfeldt Facility. The Wave will hold its third two-a-day session of the preseason on Monday with practices at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Classes do not start at Tulane until August 31st.

Tulane opens the 2005 season on Sunday, Sept. 4 in a nationally-televised (ESPN2) game versus Conference USA foe Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Green Wave open the 2005 home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 17 in the Louisiana Superdome versus Mississippi State. Season tickets for the entire 2005 home schedule are on sale now at the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office in the James W. Wilson Center, on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com and by calling 504-861-WAVE.

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