2Already a four-touchdown underdog to the first ranked opponent it will face since 2011, Tulane will be without four-year starting safety Darion Monroe against No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Tulane coach Curtis Johnson released a statement Friday that Monroe and backup linebacker Eric Bowie would serve a one-game suspension for “a violation of team policy.”
Playing without Monroe, a four-star recruit who de-committed from Texas A&M and signed with Tulane in 2012, will be a new experience for the Wave, because he has started every game of his career. Earlier this week, Johnson said Monroe, was coming off his best performance in Tulane’s season-opening 37-7 loss to Duke, when he made eight tackles, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass.
True freshman Roderic Teamer, a product of Brother Martin, is Monroe’s likely replacement at strong safety. Teamer played sparingly against Duke and did not register a tackle. He would join redshirt freshman free safety Donnie Lewis Jr. at the back of the Tulane defense as the Green Wave tries to defend the Yellow Jacket’s prolific triple-option attack.
Monroe talked Thursday after practice about his goals for the Georgia Tech game, so he clearly had no inkling at that time he would be suspended. He has 267 career tackles, easily the most for anyone on the team, and also helps align the entire defense from his safety spot. Last year, he made eight tackles in Tulane’s 38-21 loss to Georgia Tech at Yulman Stadium.
Bowie, a sophomore, backs up Nico Marley at weakside linebacker and had one tackle against Duke. His absence could create a role for sophomore William Townsend, who made eight tackles in his lone career start against Georgia Tech last season but faded from the picture the rest of the way. He practiced primarily with the scout-team defense this week.