Thanks to a steady buildup, Fritz has Tulane ready to win
Positivity has often been in short supply for the Tulane football program.
Two decades have passed since a Green Wave season has been viewed through such an optimistic prism as 2018.
The 1998 team was talented. With a manageable schedule, the Wave pulled off the unthinkable, a perfect 12-0 season.
That year was the ultimate outlier. Since then, Tulane has played in two bowls, the last being an appearance in the 2013 New Orleans Bowl.
At media day, junior wide receiver Darnell Moody said he was shocked when told that no one on the current team had played in a bowl game at Tulane.
“I didn’t know that ’til coach Fritz said it,” said Mooney.
At Tulane, bowl games have occurred almost as frequently as asteroid showers. In the last 88 years, the Green Wave has made only 11 trips.
A postseason appearance this year is critical not only for the football program, but the entire athletic program.
When Tulane director of athletics Troy Dannen was hired, he quickly made head coach hires in the three major sports.
Baseball under Travis Jewitt and men’s basketball under Mike Dunleavy have yet to gain traction. The athletic department needs a big win, badly.
The biggest of the three can provide it.
Fritz, who is a program builder by trade, has added to the foundation of the program brick-by-brick. Some key graduate transfers including wide receiver Freddy Canteen and offensive tackle Noah Fisher have added to the mix.
Importantly, Fritz has a senior quarterback, Jonathan Banks, who showed his mettle last fall. Despite playing most of the season with a broken rib, Banks threw for 1,797 yards and 12 touchdowns.
For the Wave to reach lofty heights, Banks’ play most continue to improve. He must also stay healthy.
One thing stuck with me during media day. Fritz said he has depth. He talked about the running back position being stacked.
Fritz said in the past, depth was a serious issue.
Now? He says in many cases there isn’t much difference between the first and second units.
Fritz and his staff are an anomaly in Division I college football. There is rarely change. In the offseason, Fritz added cornerbacks coach J.J. McCleskey, a former New Orleans Saint. What he has otherwise is a veteran staff with many years working under him.
If Fritz was in the fabled race between the tortoise and the hare, he would be the former. He has steadily improved the roster, sticking to a tried and true plan.
After all, in that famous fable, we know how it ends. The race is not always to the swiftest.
- < PREV Tulane offense under Fritz ready to produce winning results
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WGNO Sports Director/WGSO 990am
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…