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TULANE Team Report
After spending the 2005 season moving from New Orleans, Jackson, Miss., Dallas and Ruston, La., and playing all 11 games on the road in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Green Wave returned to campus and made it through spring practice.
"We're just happy to get back out here and get back to playing football in New Orleans," Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard said. "We're just appreciative of the opportunity we've been given, being here at Tulane and having the opportunity to play football. We realize it could easily have been taken away from us."
It won't be easy to move past everything that led to a 2-9 finish, but spring practice helped.
"I don't think it's fair for anybody, to judge me, our coaches, and our players off of last year," Tulane coach Chris Scelfo said. "I don't think anyone realized the magnitude of what these guys have gone through, and I think everybody gave it all they had."
The most important challenge now is preparing for preseason practice in August. The Green Wave had only three weeks to get ready for spring practice because of ongoing construction that included the practice fields and weight room.
Scelfo is hoping the summer will allow the Green Wave to return to a sense of normalcy.
"I think the biggest thing is that our football team understands how important conditioning and being fit to play a full game are, which we weren't last year," Scelfo said. "But going through the spring I think they saw themselves really getting tired more easily and losing focus and concentration and not being able to execute. If that message is taken to heart, then we'll be a better football team for it.
"Up until this point I think (conditioning) has been a problem for us, but it's not anything we can't make the ground up on, either. But there's going to have to be a lot of dedication on the part of individuals."
The Green Wave also had to wait until April 3 to start spring practice because practice turf was installed at the Westfeldt Facility to prepare for their 2006 season.
2007 DRAFT PROSPECTS: QB Lester Ricard -- He's already on some lists as one of the top 10 talents at quarterback, but he's got to prove he can be a lot consistent and poised than he was last season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the defense has played well this spring. We lost a lot of seniors, especially at linebacker, but the new guys are a lot farther along than everyone thought they would be, especially considering how much they had to learn. They're already athletic enough, it's just a matter of learning their assignments." -- Senior CB Israel Route.
TB Matt Forte -- Forte also endured a difficult 2005 but seemed to put it all behind him with a strong spring. "Matt has had the best spring since he's been here," Scelfo said. "He's really dedicated himself and played well."
MLB Jordan Ellis and LB James Dillard -- The Green Wave needs three new linebackers, and Ellis and Dillard finished the spring as starters.
ROSTER REPORT: Punter Chris Beckman, who earned all-conference honors in 2004, survived an accidental shooting late last season and managed to return to the team in the spring. "He's hitting the ball as well as he did before," Tulane coach Chris Scelfo said. "He's maybe hitting it a little better. He's thankful to be out here."
Previous Report: 05/30/2006