The New Orleans Saints’ decision to hold the final open practice of training camp at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium was something of an eleventh-hour decision.
At some point last week, Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis were talking about potential venues, and they hit on Tulane’s new facility, a natural option given its size and the team’s relationship with the Green Wave.
Payton joked that Tulane coach Curtis Johnson has brought his team over to use the Saints’ Fieldhouse enough times in recent years that the Green Wave coach owed him one, but in reality, the practice represents an opportunity to connect with the fan base.
“Certainly, a Friday night gives a lot of opportunity for people who’ve been otherwise working to come see a practice,” Payton said. “The weather’s been fantastic here this week, so we should have good weather. Logistically, it’s pretty easy to get over there.”
The Saints held a practice at Mandeville High School last year, an event that drew an announced crowd of 6,617, and the increased crowd offers a little bit different atmosphere.
This time the Saints just put things together a little quicker than they have in the past.
“Unlike last year — I think we knew last year, well in advance, that we wanted to practice on the North Shore,” Payton said. “This was more of a kind of a week’s notice, if that.”