Defense highlighted as Tulane preseason camp progresses

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Tulane practice at Saints indoor facility

NEW ORLEANS – Spirits were high as Tulane football held a two-hour workout Tuesday morning at the indoor home of the New Orleans Saints in Metairie.

The Green Wave has held eight workouts during fall camp, focused on improvement in all three phases of the game. The defense – Tulane’s most experienced unit – returns 16 players who started at least one game last season, though it also must replace a pair of players currently on NFL rosters in Tanzel Smart and Nico Marley.

“Those two guys are really good football players. It’s going to be hard to fill their shoes, but it’s going to be better all the way around,” head coach Willie Fritz said. “We have 16 guys who have started at least one game on the defensive side of the ball. That’s quite a few guys. We have a lot of experience returning and another year in the system for them. I think we can be better defensively.”

The 2017 version of the defense returns players who accounted for 19 turnovers, including 10 interceptions, 19 sacks and 49 tackles for loss. Of the 16 players who earned a start last year, eight received the experience of starting at least seven contests.

Some of the top plays from Tuesday’s practice displayed a mixture of the experienced players and young defenders. During passing/defense drills, senior cornerback Parry Nickerson jumped a route to break up a pass, and freshman defensive back Jaylon Monroe picked off a pass. In team drills, senior defensive end Ade Aruna strung out the quarterback and stripped the ball. Nickerson and Aruna each started every game in which they played in 2016.

The Green Wave return to the practice field Wednesday for a workout at Yulman Stadium. Practices are closed to the public.

Season tickets and mini-plans are on sale now, and can be purchased by calling 504-861-WAVE (9283), logging onto or visiting the ticket office at the James W. Wilson Jr. Center. Season tickets that includes all six home games during the 2017 season start as low as $200 for a single book and $300 for a family four-pack. Mini plans include the 3rd & Goal package for $75 and the Homecoming & Lagniappe package for $65. Seats are available in locations throughout Yulman Stadium.

Follow Tulane football on Twitter, Facebook and @GreenWaveFB on Snapchat. Follow Tulane Athletics on Twitter, Facebook­, Instagram and @TulaneAthletics on Snapchat.

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