Tulane will begin preseasson football practice Saturday, Aug. 11. Incoming freshman will
report Thursday. 8.9, and the varsity will follow the frosh into camp on Friday, 8.10.
The Green Wave will be in it's first season under Head Coach Bob Toledo. Toledo was
formerly the head man at UCLA, Cal-Riverside and the University of the Pacific, but was out of football for three seasons after being replaced at UCLA. The 60-year old returned to college football last season as the offensive coordinator/assistant head coach at the
University of New Mexico.
Toledo was named Tulane's 37th head football coach on December 11, 2006, replacing Chris Scelfo, who was 37-57 in eight full seasons.
Toledo will have Green Wave will in adjustment mode during pre-season camp with new offensive and defensive systems having been put in place during spring practice.
During August camp Toledo and his offensive assistants will be looking to determine the
starting quarterback. Junior redshirt Scott Elliott is the favorite, but redshirt soph Anthony Scelfo and redshirt freshman Kevin Moore showed enough in spring practice to get another
look in August.
Last spring Scelfo did double duty as a starting outfielder on the Green Wave baseball team and also played summer league ball in the early part of the summer.
The three all possess different skill sets: Elliott is more of a game manager, Scelfo is somewhat more athletic and faster than the others, while Moore probably has the best arm.
Toledo and offensive coordinator Dan Dodd will be watching the quarterbacks closely.
The other area of concern on offense is the offensive line. Due to deficits in strength among the linemen, Tulane has struggled to run the ball the past two seasons despite having one of the best running backs in Conference-USA in Matt Forte.
Three starters return in center Aryan Barto, guard Michael Parenton, and tackle Troy Kropog,
and both of the other positions will be up for grabs among tackles Pete Hendrickson, tackle
Nick Landry, and guards Scott Holt and Travis Olexa.
Putting the strongest run blocking unit on the field for the opener is the goal of offensive line coach Mark Hutson.
If the returning starters and other returnees can't get the job done, one or more starting
positions could be taken over by a true freshman.
The leading candidate to become an instant starter among the five freshman offensive
linemen is Andrew Nierman from John Curtis Christian School. Nierman is a physically strong
prospect from a storied run-oriented offense who is also reported to possess a powerful work
On defense, the areas sporting question marks are the linebacker and cornerback positions.
At linebacker, two starters return in James Dillard and Evan Lee. Part time starter Jordan Ellis backs up Lee at middle linebacker.
The third starter is Cody Sparks, who played in the first three games before injuring an ankle.
Sparks is expected to receive a redshirt for the 2006 season in which he was a true freshman.
Travis Burks who played extensively on special teams and some at safety last season moves to linebacker for 2007. David Kirksey, and James McMurchy join Burks as reserves at the outside
Despite the question mark, linebacker is probably in pretty good shape. The issue last season was lack of quickness and cover abilities, weaknesses that opponents often exploited. If Dillard, Lee and Ellis haven't improved in these areas, than the reserves have a chance to move up.
Both of the 2006 starters departed at cornerback and the replacements are Josh Lumar, a redshirt junior who has played extensively at the nickle back position, and senior Carlis Jackson who has spent time at safety.
The reserves are oft-injured speedster Matt Harding, a redshirt sophomore; sophomore Alex Wacha; and junior Charles Harris.
Two freshmen, Phillip Davis and Dominique Dade, could also make a push for playing time if the veterans can't get the job done.
There's good speed at corner, and this position could also be in pretrty good shape. They just
have to prove it on the field.
Tulane will open the 2007 season on Saturday, Sept. 8, when the Green Wave take on Mississippi State at 6 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome.