Fritz, Tulane focuses on ‘everybody getting a little bit better’ in spring

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NEW ORLEANS – It’s been 107 days since Jonathan Banks was, allegedly, stopped short of the goal line on the final play of Tulane’s 2017 football season against SMU in Dallas.

On Monday morning, the Green Wave returned to the football field for the first time since that fateful day that provided a gut-wrenching end to Willie Fritz’s second season at the helm.

But rather than harp on what might have been, Fritz’s focus is on what is to come in 2018.

“We feel like we’re close right now,” Fritz said. “That’s all we’ve been talking about – everybody getting a little bit better and having an opportunity to win those close games.”

Banks, a senior, is back for his second year as the Wave’s starting quarterback.

“Most of us, we have experience,” Banks said. “We all know each other, so it’s easier to play like that.”

Banks said he doesn’t want a repeat of 2017, when he missed the better part of two games with an injury. “I can’t keep taking the hits like the running backs and (have to) get the ball to our receivers faster,” he said.

Said Fritz of Banks, “I thought he really came on the last few weeks of the season.”

With running backs Dontrell Hilliard and Sherman Badie graduated, the first shot at the starting job will go to junior Darius Bradwell, who has bulked up to 235 pounds.

“We’ve got some good backs,” Fritz said. “Darius Bradwell is an excellent, big back. He got better and better throughout the course of the year. We’ve got (Texas Tech transfer) Corey Dauphine, who ran a 20.7 200 meters in high school and has good size, and (sophomore) Stephon Huderson, along with three guys coming in.”

Fritz is happy with the progress of his freshmen who enrolled in January, but noted that defensive back Chris Joyce missed practice with a hamstring injury.

Monday was the first of 15 allowable practices in the spring for the Green Wave, which will hold its spring game on April 14.

Watch more of our interview with Banks:

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder


Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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