Tulane senior offensive lineman Dominique Briggs is not into social media, but his list of followers on the team is as large as anyone on the roster.
Briggs, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound Tulsa, Oklahoma, native who has tweeted only once since April, saves his pronouncements for the field. He is the leader no one hears about outside of the Green Wave locker room.
Senior safety Roderic Teamer credits Briggs for elevating the attitude of everyone around him when he arrived in the spring of 2017 from Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College.
“Dom brought toughness not only to the offensive line, but to the whole team,” he said. “He’s a gritty guy. He has a nasty attitude on the field. Dom is a tremendous leader, and he goes under the radar because he just goes about his work.”
Briggs will be playing from his fifth position in four years this fall. He started on the defensive line as a freshman at Coffeyville before moving to center as a sophomore.
He started 11 games at right guard for Tulane a year ago after starting the opener at right tackle. He will start at left guard this season after moving there on the first day of camp as part of a multiplayer switch to accommodate left tackle Noah Fisher, a graduate transfer from South Alabama.
Briggs does not have much to say about that change, insisting he is happy to do whatever his coaches want, but he is expansive on just about anything else.
“I feel like I’m one of the nastiest players in the country, not just the conference and not just the team,” he said when asked about Teamer’s compliment. “I play hard. I play through the whistle. I don’t stop whether it’s 5 yards down the field, 10 yards down the field or 30 yards down the field. I’m never going to stop.”
Coach Willie Fritz has a hard stopping himself when praising Briggs’ makeup. He points out a grade-point average that is above 3.0, combating the stereotypes about junior college transfers, and the football smarts that make him versatile.
“He can do a little bit of everything,” Fritz said. “He’s got good feet. He plays with energy and physicality. I hate it when people say he’s an offensive guy that plays with a defensive mentality. Everybody ought to have that tough mentality. It’s controlled fury, and when you can control it, it’s pretty good.”
Although Tulane averaged the second-most rushing yards (231.5) in school history last year, the line left plenty of room for improvement. It is a position group still trying to separate itself from the dark days of the Curtis Johnson era, when the Wave struggled to block anyone.
Briggs said that time has arrived.
“Just look out for a whole entire new Wave,” he said. “Me and my guys preach that all the time. We are not the old Wave. Last year was just the beginning. This is about to be a whole another level, a 100 times better.”
That verbal aggressiveness matches his demeanor on the field. Quarterback Jonathan Banks labeled him one of the most vocal leaders on the team, and he plans to lead by example as well.
After adjusting to Division I football last fall, he says he has grown comfortable enough in the system to start learning what the defense will do as well as just paying attention to his assignments.
He has big plans for himself, his fellow blockers and the entire team. His rare tweet on July 20, “I love when y’all sleep on me,” reflects his view of Tulane in general.
“We came in with a different culture and a different mindset from last year’s fall camp,” he said. “No missed practices, no missed workouts — everybody is in the same mode. We are about to make this team one of the best in Tulane history.”
Tulane practiced for the second time in as many days at the Saints indoor facility Thursday afternoon. Fisher and senior defensive tackle Robert Kennedy and Fisher did not participate because of unspecified injuries. Redshirt freshman Joey Claybrook replaced Fisher. True freshman Alfred Thomas went in for Kennedy. … The Wave will have a closed scrimmage Saturday night at Yulman Stadium.