Tulane makes sea change to aim for more dynamic offense
For Tulane head coach Willie Fritz, it was a moment of pigskin reality. But also a quandry.
Known for his loyalty to his coaching staff, Fritz replaced one of his loyal lieutenants when he said goodbye to offensive coordinator Doug Ruse, a good football coach.
Like many offensive coordinators who aren’t coaching super talented players, you get the blame when the offense sputters.
While the Tulane offense is a hard working group, there are not a ton of difference makers.
Running back may be the deepest spot on an offense that featured a quarterback change mid-season, an offensive line that was an average at best and a feast or famine passing game that seemed to get either a big play or very little.
In the spring, Fritz told reporters that if you are average at quarterback, you have to be above average everyone else. And, at a mid-major program like Tulane, that isn’t reality.
So, in comes Will Hall from Memphis, and the new coach promises to play fast.
That is a sea change for Fritz, who knows that playing fast will also put your defense on the field far more often.
The Memphis offense in 2018 gained 6,946 yards to Tulane’s 4,732.
As much as Memphis gobbled up yards, they did not win the time of possession for the season. Opponents had the ball for 30 minutes, 54 seconds average per game.
Still, Fritz knows perception. For perception to change, he had to make a change.
Tulane has to groom a top-shelf quarterback if the program is going to advance beyond a a six- or even seven-win outfit.
Warren Easton quarterback Lance Legendre, a player Tulane covets, would be the perfect signee. He wants to play the style of fast-paced spread offense he played at Easton.
There’s also a business component to the change in offense.
You can sell it.
Hey, if you score 50 and they score 49, you still win, right?
Tulane University had a lot of empty seats this season at Yulman Stadium, even as the Green Wave fought to get into bowl contention. In 2019, the school is attempting to sell seat licensing for its football season ticket.
Hopefully, the Green Wave can win and be entertaining, but the latter is a top priority.
As I peck away on my laptop, I am watching the Rams and Bears play on a 65-inch 4K screen. The picture is pretty darn special.
I can see the frustration clearly on the face of Rams quarterback Jared Goff, as he gets pounded by a very good Bears defense. My point? On Saturday, a college football fan can stay home and watch dozens of games on incredible screens with all the amenities.
Tulane must compete against that, and against the myriad of entertainment options in an eclectic city that is New Orleans.
The realities of the business of college football, and the even bigger business of recruiting, has forced a change at Tulane University for their head coach.
Willie Fritz has decided that six wins and a bowl is good, but only for now.
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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…