Senior safety Darion Monroe stood on the sideline during Tulane’s debacle against Georgia Tech and became more and more frustrated that he could not do anything about it.
Suspended for an unspecified violation of team policy after starting every game in his career, he tried to position his teammates from the sideline but had little success as the Green Wave lost 65-10 for its most lopsided defeat since 2011.
“I felt like I let my team down real bad, because they took this loss pretty hard,” he said Tuesday. “My leadership on the sideline is not doing any good if they don’t have that voice on the field. So it was kind of bad knowing I could help the team but couldn’t help them physically.
“I just need to learn from this mistake and move on.”
Monroe and backup linebacker Eric Bowie, who missed the Georgia Tech game for the same unspecified violation, have been cleared to play Saturday night against FCS opponent Maine, when Tulane hopes to snap a five-game losing streak dating to last year.
The Wave likely would be in a better frame of mind if Monroe, who calls the defensive signals, had been available against Georgia Tech. Coach Curtis Johnson said he knew Monroe might be suspended early last week but did not find out for sure until a day before the game.
“We missed him tremendously,” Johnson said. “He’s one of our best tacklers and our signal caller, the quarterback on defense. That was a huge, huge disappointment. We definitely need his leadership. We can’t have anything more happen (like that).”
Junior scholarship long snapper Mike Lizanich has been relieved of his duties after making another mistake against Georgia Tech.
Lizanich snapped over the head of punter Peter Picerelli for a safety in the third quarter, nine days after dribbling a snap that up back Rob Kelley had to fall on against Duke, leading to a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman tackle John Leglue, who snapped for field goals and extra points, will take over on punts as well.
“I just want some consistency,” Johnson said. “He (Leglue) has worked hard and deserves a shot at it.”
Lizanich has been benched at one point in all three of his years at Tulane. He played in eight games as a freshman and nine games last season.
Johnson predicted no other lineup changes.
“We were playing against teams where we were kind of going uphill a little bit,” he said. “When games got out of hand, I’d have had to demote the whole team, including myself. I have to see some positive stuff out of these guys this week, and I think I’ll get it.”
Starting left offensive tackle Arturo Uzdavinis and wide receiver Terren Encalade did not practice Tuesday after leaving Saturday with injuries.
Johnson said Encalade, who hurt his shoulder in the first quarter, likely would be unavailable against Maine, depleting an already thin receiving corps. Encalade started both of Tulane’s games and caught four passes against Duke.
Aside from Teddy Veal and Devon Breaux, the projected starters against Maine, no other wideout has caught a pass. Freshman Ricky Preston and junior Larry Dace III, a former walk-on, are the only other receivers who have played. Another freshman, Andrew Hicks, rounds out the list of scholarship receivers on the roster.
Johnson said Uzdavinis, who hurt his leg, likely will be ready for Maine. He has started 27 consecutive games.
If Uzdavinis is unavailable, Leglue would get his first start.
Despite getting outscored 102-17 by Duke and Georgia Tech to start the year, Tulane players insisted they had not lost faith in themselves or their teammates.
After playing Maine, the Wave gets an open date before its American Athletic Conference opener against Central Florida on Oct. 3 at Yulman Stadium.
“Everything is still ahead of us,” quarterback Tanner Lee said. “I’m glad we’re not in the ACC because we wouldn’t be able to win it, but we haven’t played a conference game yet.”
Nickelback Jarrod Franklin agreed.
“We definitely got flat against Georgia Tech, and we’ve talked about how we can’t do that again,” he said. “The season is just getting started.”
Johnson called for a “White Out,” against Maine, urging every fan to wear white. … Starting defensive tackle Sean Wilson will miss his second consecutive game with an ankle injury, Johnson confirmed. … Johnson promised a heavy dose of running back Lazedrick Thompson against Maine. Thompson rushed 13 times for 74 yards against Georgia Tech.