Tulane coach Willie Fritz said he wanted a clear picture of his two-deep depth chart by the start by the start of the second week of preseason camp.
Following Tulane’s first full-pads practice Saturday night at the Saints' indoor practice facility, the coaches hashed out a pecking order on offense, defense and special teams in a two-hour Sunday meeting.
Although Fritz did not release the results following Monday morning’s practice at Yulman Stadium, the early beneficiaries appear to be true freshmen. Linebackers Monty Montgomery and KJ Vault received some reps with the first-team defense, and Chase Kuerschen played safety on the second unit.
Corey Dublin, a freshman offensive lineman from Jesuit, also is pushing for playing time, as are freshman cornerbacks Jaylon Monroe and Willie Langham. Their emergence has allowed the coaches to experiment with sophomore P.J. Hall at safety, giving him experience at three positions after practicing at cornerback and nickelback in the past.
“The freshmen are balling out,” senior nickelback Jarrod Franklin said. “They are doing very well. Looking at the people who started last year as well as these freshmen, we are going to have some very good depth.”
That’s a stark contrast to last season.
“I can’t tell you how big a deal it is to have competition,” defensive coordinator/safeties coach Jack Curtis said. “Last year, we got so limited in what we could do defensively because we didn’t have depth.”
Staying off campus
Fritz will join most of his brethren in a college football tradition for the first time in his long career this season: The night before home games, the Green Wave will stay in a local hotel.
“We're going to do our home preparation the same way as our road preparation,” Fritz said. “You are only guaranteed 12 games a year, and we want everything to be the same in terms of preparation.”
Tulane has stayed in a hotel before home games from time to time in the past, but not recently. Fritz saw no reason to do it in his previous stops, and he admitted the schools he worked at did not have the money to do so anyway.
“I had never done it, and I had an incredible home record,” he said. “But the guys wanted to do it, and it’s good to maybe get away. I know most people do it.”
Tulane went 2-4 at home in Fritz’s first season, losing its last three, and is 3-12 at Yulman Stadium against Football Bowl Subdivision competition.
Fritz said Hunter Knighton, a graduate transfer offensive lineman from Miami, has a sprained right knee and will be out two to three weeks, Knighton, the backup to Junior Diaz at center, had a brace on the knee Monday.
Fritz said redshirt freshman cornerback Tre Jackson (knee) was unable to practice but should return in three or four days. Jackson had a strong spring before being sidelined by a recurrence of a knee problem he had as a high school senior.
Junior-college transfer Jonathan Banks continued to receive first-team reps at quarterback, with sophomore Johnathan Brantley behind him. For the third consecutive open workout, junior Glen Cuiellette, who started 10 games a year ago, did not take any reps in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills. Freshmen Khalil McClain and Dane Ledford worked in front of him. … Coby Neenan had a good field-goal drill early in Monday’s practice, and Fritz said he was the clear frontrunner at place-kicker. … Tulane will take advantage of the Saints’ preseason game Thursday at Cleveland by holding workouts at the Saints' facility Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.