03 September 2008
The Tide is high, coming off Saturday’s stump breaking of Clemson. This week Alabama moves on to play the Tulane Green Wave in the season opener for the boys from New Orleans.
Tulane comes into the game in an unusual situation, having had to come to Birmingham early to practice and avoid the wrath of Hurricane Gustav. It will be interesting to see how the Green Wave reacts to having their normal game week routine altered due to the storm.
Matt Forte and his 2100 yards rushing are gone from last season’s 4-8 team. Replacing him is obviously a tall order, but Coach Bob Toledo thinks junior Andre Anderson is up to the job. Anderson averaged 6.5 yards per carry in very limited action a year ago.
Tulane will also have a new man under center as Anthony Scelfo has chosen to concentrate on baseball. Sophomore Kevin Moore should be the starter. Moore has great size at 6-5 213lb.
Moore will be asked to help Toledo continue his transition from the spread offense Tulane employed in the past to the west coast offense employed by Toledo. In Toledo’s first season a year ago, Scelfo size (5-10) limited in his ability to run a true west coast offense.
The top returning receiver for the Green Wave is Jeremy Williams. With his size, 6-1 203lb, Williams is well suited for the west coast offense and looks to improve on his 46 catches and 773 yards receiving from 2007.
Tulane will have a mix of veterans and new-comers along the offensive line this season. Left tackle Troy Kropog and left guard Michael Parenton have started 58 games combined during their tenure in New Orleans.
Andrew Nierman, a sophomore, started 12 games a year ago at right guard but moves to the center position this season. Nick Landa and Pete Hendrickson round out the line for Tulane.
Tulane strength on defense appears to be the linebackers, with four players returning who have starting experience. Seniors Evan Lee, James Dillard, and Jordan Ellis along with junior David Kirksey are vying for three starting spots.
Defensive ends Reggie Scott and Adam Kwentua, a senior and sophomore respectively, both return after starting a year ago. Also, both players recording four sacks a piece in 2007. Senior Julian Shives-Sams and sophomore Tony Bryant look to start at defensive tackle this season for the Green Wave.
Tulane should be solid at one of the corner back positions with junior Josh Lumar returning but the other side still isn’t settled with sophomore Phillip Davis and junior Charles Harris continuing their spring battle for the top spot.
Junior Chinoso Echebelem and Devin Hollard appear to be the starters at safety. Both would be first time starters after limited playing time a season ago.