Tempers started flaring in the second week of Tulane preseason football camp.
There were two heated one-on-one scuffles near the end of the Green Wave’s workout at the Saints indoor practice facility on Thursday, both of which involved players wrestling each other to the ground and throwing wild punches before being separated by teammates.
Don’t look for any more confrontations if coach Willie Fritz can help it. He scoffs at the notion that fights build toughness.
"No, I've learned over the years that guys who get in fights most of the time are really not your tougher guys, so I'm not a big fan of it,” he said. “I told these guys before, I coached a team (Blinn College) that won 26 in a row and we never had a fight. We had a bunch of tough guys.”
After the second tussle, Fritz blew his whistle and ended practice. The coaches then forced every player to do 18 up-downs, which are basically push-ups that start from a standing position. Any player who was slow to respond to the whistle for each rep had an assistant yelling “get down” in his ear.
“I think it (fighting) promotes disharmony in the locker room and things like that,” Fritz said. “We're not going to get into it. We don't do it very often, but when we do, we're going to pay a little penalty.”
Fritz added the fights definitely were not representative of the general attitude on the team.
“We have good kids,” he said. “They've been around each other for a period of time. I'm lucky, I just don't have very many problems. We have high expectations for those guys in everything they do — in the classroom, off the field and obviously on the field.”
Lewis at large
With cornerbacks Thakarius Keyes and Jaylon Monroe both having strong camps in the competition for an open spot, senior Donnie Lewis might change positions as Tulane tries to put its best 11 players on the field.
Lewis practiced at safety and nickelback during the week, giving the Wave a five-man, first-team secondary with safeties Roderic Teamer, P.J. Hall — who has played nickel in the past — Lewis, Keyes and Monroe.
Nickelback is one of Tulane’s least experienced spots. Junior Larry Bryant, sophomore Tirise Barge and junior Will Harper, the three players who got reps there in the first week of practice, combined for 14 tackles a year ago. Neither Bryant nor Harper played the position until spring drills.
“Donnie is going to start on the back end some place,” Fritz said. “We’re trying to get everybody where they have a good understanding of the defense. If this guy gets hurt, you move this go over here and it’s not totally foreign to him.”
After moving to center from guard in spring drills, sophomore Jesuit product Corey Dublin believes he is ready for his new assignment.
Dublin became the first Tulane true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener since 2007 last year, and he started every game afterward at left guard as well.
Center will be a new challenge. The position became open when Junior Diaz left for Florida Atlantic as a grad transfer after last season.
‘It’s a really comfortable position for me,” Dublin said. “I’ve got my snaps down in a good rhythm. We have a nice vibe rolling right now.”
Tulane conducted its second scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday night at Yulman Stadium — it was closed to media — before taking off Sunday. The Wave will practice Monday through Saturday this week. … Defensive tackle Robert Kennedy, who has not practiced since sustaining an unspecified injury in Monday’s workout, and offensive tackle Noah Fisher, who left Wednesday’s practice with what Fritz labeled a “tweak,” are expected back as early this week. Both are valuable first-team players. … Tulane was banged up by the end of the second week, with running back Corey Dauphine and wide receiver Kevin LeDee among others missing time. … Fritz said starting outside linebacker Patrick Johnson, a sophomore who played in all 12 games with one start as a true freshman, had an impressive week.