Next Level: Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee insists he’s ready to go after concussion
Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee insists he is 100-percent recovered from the concussion he suffered against Temple on Oct. 10, emphasizing it would be nuts to hide any symptoms.
That’s his emphatic answer to anyone worried he might be returning too soon when the Green Wave faces Navy on Saturday.
“The most important thing is your health, especially when it’s your brain,” he said. “It’s nothing to joke about.
“(Tulane’s medical staff) kept preaching that to me all week: If you have any symptoms, you have to tell the truth.”
Tulane’s 42-7 loss to Houston on Oct. 16 drove home exactly how much the team needed Lee. Backup Devin Powell produced only eight first downs while throwing for 88 yards in 13 series as Lee watched from the sideline without pads, knowing he could do nothing about the outcome.
“Guys were playing hard,” he said. “We got some tough breaks and struggled to move the ball. I felt good that day, so it was tough not being able to help the team.”
Lee, who was sacked four times by Temple, added he felt fine into the second half before the cumulative effect of the blows caught up to him at the end of the third quarter. He told the doctors he did not feel right, ending his day and starting Tulane’s concussion protocol.
Fortunate that Tulane had fall break last week, he spent most of his time in seclusion, receiving as little stimulation as possible. He said he felt better each morning when he woke up, allowing him to return to practice this Tuesday.
He knew the drill, admitting to a couple of minor concussions in the past. Although coach Curtis Johnson said the Wave would be extra conscious about keeping him from taking too many hits against Navy, Lee said he would approach it the same as any game.
“I feel really great,” he said. “It’s just a relief to get back on the field because I was tired of watching.”
1. No true freshmen
After starting two true freshmen on defense against Houston, Tulane won’t have any versus Navy. Jarrod Franklin will replace Roderic Teamer at a safety spot, with Richard Allen returning as a starting cornerback ahead of Taris Shenall. Coach Curtis Johnson said the move was by design — he wants older players on the field who will not bust assignments, an issue that sank the Green Wave against option-oriented Georgia Tech.
2. Patience needed
It’s inevitable that Navy will move the ball on the ground, so Tulane has match that efficiency. Three-and-outs, a problem all year, will be a killer for the offense, but the Wave matches up better with Navy’s defense than versus Temple or Houston. The coaches need to stick with the running game, and quarterback Tanner Lee needs to convert makeable first downs to keep the defense from getting exhausted
3. Red zone scores
Tulane has been effective getting to the end zone on its rare forays deep into opponents’ territory. Every time the Wave gets close to the goal line, it has to finish the drive with six points against Navy. The Midshipmen have scored at least three touchdowns in every game. If Tulane does not at least match that total, it has no shot.
4. Plug the middle
Navy quarterback Keenon Reynolds is five rushing touchdowns away from breaking the NCAA career record for any player. It’s not realistic to expect Tulane to stop him. But the Wave must slow down Navy’s bruising fullbacks, who have accounted for 624 yards on 116 carries. Tackles Tanzel Smart and Sean Wilson are the strength of the defense. They need to clog up the middle from start to finish.