Tulane welcomed their star cornerback, Lorenzo Doss, back to the practice field Monday after he missed the previous week of camp with a “minor” knee injury.
“It’s about time. Doss has been on this worldwide tour,” Green Wave coach Curtis Johnson joked after Monday’s practice at Newman High School. “I thought he played well today. He always plays well.”
Doss enters this season as one of the most recognizable names on the Tulane roster after having his name thrown onto the watch lists of some of the most prestigious awards in college football — including the Bednarik, Nagurski and Walter Camp awards — during the offseason.
“It feels great,” Doss said. “Just to go out there and play with high intensity. The defense played fast, the offense played fast. Coach (Johnson) always tells us to run to the ball, and I think we did a good job of that today.”
During 7-on-7 drills early in practice, Doss showed a glimpse of why so many in college football are excited to see what he can do in his third season as a starter, intercepting a fade route thrown into the corner of the end zone by quarterback Devin Powell.
“That was a good feeling. When he put it in the air I just had to make a play on the ball,” Doss said. “That’s what I’ve always done, and that’s what I have to keep on doing.”
Doss already has 12 interceptions (including two returned for touchdowns) in his first two seasons at Tulane.
More injury news
Tulane welcomed another defensive back to practice Monday, as cornerback Parry Nickerson practiced for the first time since suffering a knee injury last year.
“I love his skill set. Parry has the tools to be probably the best corner we have,” Johnson said. “Remember last year, Doss got thrown out of the (Jackson State) game on a horrible call, and Parry comes in and picks one off. I think Parry’s going to be a great player for us. It’s his first practice since early last season. He hasn’t practiced at all, but he got in today and it was like (he’s been practicing) all the time.”
Nickerson had seven tackles in the only game of his freshman campaign before suffering he season-ending knee injury.
Monday was the first time Johnson has spoken since he had an opportunity to review the tape from Saturday’s scrimmage at Tad Gormley Stadium.
The Green Wave’s coach said his biggest takeaway from the scrimmage was a disappointment in the way his defense performed, allowing nearly 500 yards of total offense.
“I thought the defensive line didn’t play well,” Johnson said. “I thought our corners stood in there as much as you can, but there was no pressure on the quarterback. It was like a 7-on-7 (drill).”
After reviewing the tape, Johnson’s defense responded Monday, forcing a fumble by running back Sherman Badie and making several plays in the backfield.
“We did some things to work toward the advantage, but I thought (the defense) played better, they ran around,” Johnson said. “The defense played well today.”
It might have helped that several defensive starters — including Doss and linebacker Nico Marley — got a chance to play Monday after the majority didn’t play at Saturday’s scrimmage
One player Johnson made sure to single out after practice was redshirt freshman defensive tackle Eldrick Washington.
“Eldrick Washington really can’t be blocked. We just have to find what he can do and what he can’t do,” he said.