Tulane opens 2018 spring football practice

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Tulane Football Practice
(Photo: Parker Waters).

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NEW ORLEANS – NOLA’s College Football Team is back.

Tulane football began preparations for its third season under Head Coach Willie Fritz on Monday morning, returning to Yulman Stadium for the first 2018 spring practice.

The Green Wave began practice at 8:30 a.m., weathering a brisk wind and the cold spring air. Coming off a 5-7 overall, 3-5 The American record last season, the team practiced in helmets and no pads while running through its first drills of the spring.

“It’s always fun to get back out here and get an opportunity during spring ball to work with everyone,” Fritz said. “I really enjoy doing that. This is the most fun time of coaching.”

Tulane ended last season just inches shy of bowl eligibility when quarterback Jonathan Banks was ruled short of the goal line as time expired in the Green Wave’s 41-38 loss at SMU. The team enters the 2018 season seeking its first bowl berth since the 2013 season.

“We feel close right now,” Fritz said. “We’ve just got to improve and get better. Offense, defense, kicking game. Everybody getting a little bit better, and we’ll get better collectively as a team and have an opportunity to win those close games.”

Fritz, Banks and redshirt senior Terren Encalade spoke to members of the media following practice.

“We’ve all been excited to get back out here and correct our mistakes,” Banks said. “A lot of games last season we beat ourselves. We’re ready to show everybody the new team for next year.”

Tulane’s spring practice continues Wednesday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. inside Yulman Stadium, and concludes Saturday, April 14 with the annual spring game at Yulman Stadium.

Tulane opens the 2018 season on Thursday, August 30 at home against Wake Forest.

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QUOTES

Head Coach Willie Fritz

On his impressions following the first spring practice

“Not bad. We were pretty organized. We can’t do anything with a football during the offseason, but these guys have been doing a few things on their own to get ready. It’s always fun to get back out here and get an opportunity during spring ball to work with everyone. I really enjoy doing that. This is the most fun time of coaching.”

On the depth at the quarterback position

“Dane Ledford did some good things today. We were throwing the ball better going one direction than the other. Christian Daniels did some good things, also. It’s always fun to go watch the tape and evaluate what we did wrong and right.”

On moving forward from last season

“We feel close right now. We’ve just got to improve and get better. Offense, defense, kicking game. Everybody getting a little bit better, and we’ll get better collectively as a team and have an opportunity to win those close games. This spring is really devoted to techniques, fundamentals, and schemes; not really worrying about your opponent at this time.”

On the depth at the running back position

“We’ve got some good backs. Darius Bradwell is an excellent back. A big back, excellent speed, got better and better throughout the course of the year. We’ve got Corey Dauphine. He’s a track runner, got good size. Stephon Huderson’s another good back. They all gained experience last year, even Corey with the scout team. We’re bringing in three more quality backs. That’s a position where we’re in good shape.”

On QB Jonathan Banks’ progression

“He’s getting experience on a daily basis. There’s a little feeling out period during the year. What does he do well? What are some things that do we do well as a team that can exploit his talents and his ability? I thought he really came on the last few weeks of the season.”

On the early enrollees

“I’ve been really impressed by the four of them. Really mature guys. They’ve really done a good job taking care of business. All four of those guys are going to have an opportunity to play for us.”

Hear more from Fritz

Senior QB Jonathan Banks

On the excitement of starting spring practice

“We’ve all been excited to get back out here and correct our mistakes. A lot of games last season we beat ourselves. We’re ready to show everybody the new team for next year.”

Hear more from Banks

Redshirt Senior WR Terren Encalade

On making a bowl game in 2018

“It would mean so much to the Tulane community, but we’re trying to get conference championships, to reach high. It would feel good. High goals. Set the bar high.”

Hear more from Encalade

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PRACTICE SCHEDULE

Wednesday, March 14

Friday, March 16

Saturday, March 17

Monday, March 19

Wednesday, March 21

Friday, March 23

Monday, April 2

Wednesday, April 4

Friday, April 6

Saturday, April 7

Monday, April 9

Wednesday, April 11

Friday, April 13

SPRING GAME

Date: Saturday, April 14

Time: TBD

Location: Yulman Stadium

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