Green Wave Football’s Tide Turning

Young team laying groundwork for great expectations

A year removed from returning to campus in the new $75 million, 30,000-seat Yulman Stadium, Tulane’s next major focus will be on transitioning the excitement of Tulane football from the novelty of playing in a new home to keeping it filled with a winning team. The best way to do that, of course, is for the program to build momentum until it establishes a winning culture that breeds sustained interest from recruits and fans. Although the Green Wave went just 3-8 last year, Tulane’s Athletic Director Rick Dickson believes the program is in the midst of that paradigm shift.

“I think we’ll compete to be bowl eligible this year,” he said from his corner office overlooking the plaza at the new stadium’s entrance. “I think this year we’ll be at five, six, seven wins. Whether it’s good enough for a bowl we’ll see. But I’m 100 percent sure we’ll be there next season. I’m absolutely convinced we will be an eight-win team.”

A quick review of the Green Wave’s roster helps to illustrate his excitement regarding his football team’s future. The 2015 team has 99 players on the roster, including 14 seniors (five redshirt, nine true), 21 juniors (eight RS, 13 T), 30 sophomores (13 RS, 17 T), and 34 freshmen (11 RS, 23 T). A redshirt exemption allows a player to practice with the team for a year without losing a year of eligibility.

The offense is projected to be lead by six sophomores, including returning starting quarterback Tanner Lee, four juniors and a lone senior, while the defense will have two seniors, five juniors and four sophomores. While the lack of established upperclassmen leadership is of immediate concern for this season, there is reason to believe the program is headed in the right direction under head coach Curtis Johnson’s leadership.

It is evident Tulane’s strategy to grow the program is built on home grown talent. Of the 99 players on his team this year, 67 are from Louisiana, including 51 from the Greater New Orleans region. That’s important for myriad reasons, which have a compounding effect. Among the benefits are instant local support from players’ families and friends. This not only helps to fill seats and empty merchandise racks, but also gets more people in the local community talking about and promoting Tulane football. Engaging area kids also helps Tulane to establish relationships and networking with local and state high school coaches, and exposes current players’ and recruits’ high school teammates to the program and environment at Tulane.

If Tulane can start winning consistently, it would become a growing, circular phenomenon – more wins leads to better media coverage, which leads to better players, which leads to more wins, improved coverage and better players.

“I like where it’s going,” Dickson said. “This will be a bridge year. Then nearly 90 percent of our nucleus will be back.

“It’s an exciting time for Tulane as we, hopefully, become more ingrained into the fabric of the community.”


Tulane Football Roster By The Numbers

With just 35 upperclassmen on the roster, the Green Wave will have a young team that is expected to build a foundation for the future.


Freshman 34 11 23
Sophomore 30 13 17
Juniors 21 8 13
Seniors 14 5 9





Categories: The Pennant Chase