1.What we learned
Tulane’s quarterbacks are a long way from helping the team win. Granted, the no-contact policy hurt Glen Cuiellette and Darius Bradwell in particular; they could not do much damage with their feet when referees blew the whistle every time a defender breathed on them. But Cuiellette, a redshirt sophomore who has not thrown a pass in a game, and Bradwell, a true freshman, have to get more accurate. They combined for two completions in 14 attempts, which is pretty much on par for the rest of spring. Senior Devin Powell was much sharper as a passer, but coach Willie Fritz is looking for a dual-threat QB who can run the option.
2. Trending now
A defense with potential. We knew about first-team All-AAC performer Tanzel Smart and physically gifted end Ade Aruna, but Fritz praised the depth along a defensive line that had eight sacks. Backup end Robert Kennedy, one of several players in the mix, had four. Undersized senior linebacker Nico Marley, a huge playmaker under former coach Curtis Johnson, has fit in well in Fritz’s defense. Reserve linebacker Rae Juan Marbley was credited with a scrimmage-high eight tackles. Cornerback Parry Nickerson and safety Jarrod Franklin lead an experienced secondary. While the offense will be a work in progress next fall, the defense, which returns at least seven starters, should be vastly improved.
3. Final thoughts Tulane will not throw much in Fritz’s first season. The minuscule passing numbers posted by Georgia Southern the past two years were a little misleading because he inherited a triple-option offense and did not want to mess with a good thing. But Tulane’s clear strength is at running back, and its obvious weakness is the passing game. Johnson’s staff never took full advantage of a deep, talented group of backs. Fritz’s track record indicates he can, and the best plan to win involves touches for Dontrell Hilliard, Sherman Badie, Josh Rounds and Lazedrick Thompson. They are the best playmakers on an offense that has no proven passer or pass-catcher.