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The Tulane Green Wave: Are They Good at Football?

September 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tulane Green Wave head coach Curtis Johnson during their game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Rutgers won, 24-12. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook - US PRESSWIRE
September 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tulane Green Wave head coach Curtis Johnson during their game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Rutgers won, 24-12. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook - US PRESSWIRE



You want more? Okay, I'll elaborate. The Tulane Green Wave are 0-2 so far under first year head coach and former Saints assistant coach Curtis Johnson. How did they get to 0-2? By losing to a perhaps decent Rutgers team 24-12 in week one and getting blown out by Tulsa 45-10 in week two. Tulsa is, admittedly, one of the better teams in CUSA and Rutgers is 3-0 after a win over South Florida last weekend, so it's not as if they've played an atrocious schedule. Still, there are a lot of reasons Tulane is 0-2, was picked towards the bottom of their conference for this fall, and has not had a winning record since 2002.

The first and most glaring weakness Tulane has is in its running game. Through two games, the Green Wave is led by Rob Kelley who, on 17 attempts, has just 48 yards on the ground. Behind him are a handful of guys who, on a few carries, have yardage totals in single digits, and the two quarterbacks Tulane has gone with thus far on the season. Ryan Griffin and Devon Powell, due to what I presume is a porous offensive line, have been sacked enough times to bring their collective rushing total to -57 yards.

Tulane is yet to score a rushing touchdown on the season.

Through the air, the Green Wave is a bit more proficient. Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin is completing 67% of his passes on the year, with 314 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. Freshman Devin Powell, a former star for New Orleans powerhouse O. Perry Walker High School, has completed half of his 16 pass attempts on the year for 110 yards and a score.

The go-to receivers are Ryan Grant, Derrick Strozier, and Rob Kelley out of the backfield. Grant is the team's leading receiver with 11 catches for 219 yards and a score, whereas Strozier and Kelley each have eight catches. Between those two they've amassed 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.

So if you've concluded that Tulane's offensive weapons are rare and weak, if not practically nonexistent, then you'd be right. Just looking at the Green Wave's box scores and stats sheets does not give me as a Rebel any real cause for concern this Saturday. If they are to win, I'm not sure with which players they would do that.

Here, just take this into consideration: through two weeks, Tulane has amassed a total of just 439 offensive yards against a Big East and CUSA team. That's just 40 more yards than Ole Miss had against the Texas defense in one game. That's 99 yards below Ole Miss' total against UTEP and 126 below the Rebel mark against UCA - again, in just one game. So Ole Miss' average offensive output in just one game is not too far off from Tulane's total offensive output over two.

It is tougher to get an idea as to what Tulane's identity and proficiency on defense is thus far. Against Rutgers in week one, the Greenies (can I call them that?) yielded 309 yards to the Scarlet Knights who had a pretty well balanced offensive attack - 151 of those yards were rushing yards, 158 were passing. Rutgers averaged 5.6 yards a play, but they also threw a pick and committed nine penalties. So, like I said, it's hard to read by just a box score alone. Was Rutgers well-balanced in grinding out enough yards and points to win, or did they find it a more-difficult-than-expected go against the Tulane defense?

Perhaps the answer in that question lies with Tulane's performance against Tulsa one week later.

The Golden Hurricane put it on cruise control against Tulane. They rolled up 651 yards of offense, scoring 45 unanswered points, and cranking out nearly eight yards a play. Think about what Texas did to us, and then scale it down to Conference USA; that's what Tulsa did to Tulane.

Tulane is giving up 480 yards a game. The Rebels are putting out 500 yards a game. Expecting a Hugh Freeze hurry-up offensive explosion against the Green Wave in the Superdome is not at all unreasonable. In fact, I'd be a bit disappointed if Ole MIss did not have more than 500 total offensive yards and 40+ points.

So worry not, Rebel fans. It would take a Houston Nutt's forehead-sized miracle for Tulane to better the Rebels this Saturday. So watch, enjoy, and relax a little while you stuff your face with a roast beef poboy and drown out your sanity with Abita. The Rebel victory should be big, and it should come rather easy. (YOU SEE IT?!)