Tulane’s defense back to facing option-based attack with Army

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NEW ORLEANS – The contrast is enormous.

Last week, Tulane faced an Oklahoma offense that ranked third nationally in passing yards. With a big second-half lead, the Sooners only needed to attempt 30 passes in a 56-14 victory.

On Saturday at Yulman Stadium, the Green Wave returns home to meet an Army West Point offense that hasn’t attempted 30 passes in a game since 2007 and has only completed four passes in three games all year.

Throw in the fact that Tulane went up against an option-based Navy offense two Saturdays ago, and it has been a roller coaster of preparation for Willie Fritz’s defense.

“We’ve got to turn the page in a hurry,” Fritz said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.

Army will “try to shorten the game,” said Fritz. The Black Knights average 63 snaps per game and allow their opponents to run only 61 snaps per game.

Knowing that possessions will be at a premium with two ball-control offenses at work, “ball security is at a premium” on Saturday, Fritz said.

Having seen Navy’s option scheme just 10 days ago will be an advantage for Tulane. Though the scout team provides a good look each week for the Green Wave starters, the game speed is different.

“It’s so much faster,” linebacker Luke Jackson said. “The biggest thing for us is definitely the speed.”

The status of Tulane quarterback Jonathan Banks, who was injured against Navy and did not play against Oklahoma, will be a “game-time deal,” Fritz said. Safety Rod Teamer, who also missed the Oklahoma game, said Tuesday he is “not sure yet” if he will be a go against the Black Knights.

Johnathan Brantley, who replaced Banks against Navy, started at quarterback against the Sooners and led Tulane to a pair of touchdowns on its first two possessions.

Freshman Chase Kuerschen started in Teamer’s place in Norman and had a forced fumble and six tackles.

Injuries are something Tulane and everyone else will deal with at this time of year. “Nobody’s full speed right now,” said Fritz. “That ended the first day of practice.”

For Tulane’s health situation, however, the good news is the Green Wave has their open date next Saturday before returning to action Oct. 7 at home against Tulsa.

Kickoff on Saturday is 11:02 a.m. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

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Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in 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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