Tulane lineman Corey Dublin looks to continue on road to success
When it comes to football, Corey Dublin is used to being on the field. All of the time, in fact.
The junior offensive lineman at Tulane was a rare four-year varsity starter at Jesuit where he played offensive tackle. He parlayed that success on the high school level into 25 starts and counting for the Green Wave.
Moving from center to guard for the upcoming season, Dublin embraces the next challenge while appreciating his good fortune.
“I’ve been fortunate,” Dublin said. I’ve had good trainers. I’ve been able to stay healthy and try to play consistently.”
A two-year state heavyweight wrestling champion at Jesuit, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Dublin translates his grappling success to the gridiron.
‘It helps my movement and mobility, being able to move quick, the stretching is a benefit,” Dublin said. “Stretching keeps you healthy and prevents injuries.”
Corey has an outstanding pedigree.
His grandfather, Jim Lavin, is a retired high school head football coach in New Orleans who and played at LSU under Paul Dietzel before joining the Dallas Texans of the AFL. His uncle, Jimmy Lavin, helped Georgia Tech win a national title in 1990 and later played in the NFL with the Bengals and Chargers. “They help me a lot,” Dublin said. “They give me a lot of advice. It gives me someone to look up to. It shows me what’s possible if I work really hard.”
Dublin is a key part of a football resurgence for Tulane. Finishing strong last fall, the Green Wave wnt 7-6 including an impressive 41-24 win over Louisiana Lafayette in the AutoNation Cure Bowl.
In an effort to improve, the Wave made a big change in the offseason. Offensive coordinator Will Hall has come aboard to assume the responsibility to open things up. Last season, while on serving on staff at Memphis as associate head coach, Hall helped the Tigers record 3,311 yards rushing and 42 touchdowns, earning a top five overall FBS ranking on the ground. The offense at Memphis is a balanced one with a potent passing game.
In 2018, Tulane had the fifth best total offense in the American Athletic Conference, finishing first in rushing (315 yards) but 10th in passing (135 yards). The target area for improvement is clear, seeking a high pace to attack defenses.
“(Hall) is a very energetic guy,” Dublin said. He’s very passionate. He wants the best for everybody. He holds everyone to a high standard. He likes to run a quick offense. Everywhere he has been, they have run a fast-paced offense. He wants to run the plays as fast as possible.”
With a new approach offensively, change has also occurred with the offensive line as Alex Adkins left the program to take over as the offensive coordinator at Charlotte. The replacement, Cody Kennedy, has taken the reins after stints at Georgia and West Georgia.
“We get along with Coach Kennedy,” Dublin stated. “We’re forming a bond with him as we get to know him better.”
Changes in personnel have been part of the transition to 2019 up front. Brown University grad transfer Christian Montano has been inserted into the lineup at center, allowing Corey to move to guard where he started in 2017 as a true freshman. Virginia grad transfer Ben Knutson (6-9, 310) will get a long look at both guard spots and even tackle. Those two arrivals soften the blow after the loss of three starters including John Leglue, now with the Denver Broncos.
“It’s a change,” Dublin said. “I try to be the best teammate and do the best that I can. I like to be a versatile lineman, knowing all positions. I feel like we have plenty of guys who have game experience and are ready to play in game situations.”
Dublin has made advancement in the weight room by increasing to 325 pounds in power clean, 500 in squat and 365 in the bench press.
On the field, Dublin comes off his his best effort as a Greenie as he graded 93 percent in the Cure Bowl.
“I feel like the whole line, we’ve improved on our pass protection and run blocking,” Dublin said. “We’re getting after it and focusing on finishing all the way until the whistle.”
The Tulane rushing attack is in capable hands. Darius Bradwell had 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall. Corey Dauphine added 785 yards with seven touchdowns and Stephon Huderson had 281 yards.
“I feel really good, especially after spring,” Dublin explained. ” Because the running backs have stepped up, especially doing the dirty work like blocking. They really stressed improvement on blocking and did a phenomenal job in spring.”
Senior quarterback Justin McMillan hopes to make major strides after a solid 2018 campaign.
“He’s improving,” said Dublin. “McMillan and the receivers go out and work, make sure that they have to right connection. That’s important that everyone is on point and on time.”
One of those receivers is another talented grad transfer, Jalen McCleskey, who brings a wealth of experience from his time at Oklahoma State. He amassed 167 catches for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Power 5 program.
“Jalen is a play-maker,” Dublin said. “He’s a great receiver. He makes plays, runs really crisp routes. That’s why it’s so important for him and Justin to be on the same page.”
Dublin wears jersey No. 64 because he models his style after former New Orleans Saints tackle Zach Strief, who wore the same number for the Black and Gold.
“(Zach) had a really good career with the Saints and Northwestern,” Dublin said. “He was a great player and really got after it.”
The 2018 season at Tulane was one of ebbs and flows. The Green Wave salvaged what turned out to be a good season by winning five out of their final six contests, building real momentum heading into 2019.
“Our team has always bought into it,” Dublin said. “Last year we got off to a rough start. A lot of people outside of the program hadn’t bought in. We stayed true to ourselves and finished strong. We go out and play to win. I think that we’re going to have a good season this year as long as we keep moving in the right direction.”
Tulane head coach Willie Fritz, entering his fourth campaign with the program, has struck a cord with his players.
“Coach Fritz is a great coach. He brings energy every day,” Dublin said. “It’s great to be around that. The players look up to that.”
Now one of Tulane’s elder statesmen, Dublin has been described as a player who goes hard snap-to-whistle, always displaying maximum effort. He’s a physical, nasty run blocker. He has raised the bar for himself and plans to shoot for the moon, even if he lands among the stars.
“I definitely want to be an all-conference player. We want to be one of the top o-lines in the (American Athletic) Conference,”Dublin said. “Our team goal is to win a conference championship and play in a big bowl.”
Dublin and the Green Wave begin their quest Thursday night, August 29 at home in Yulman Stadium against FIU.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…