The 2015 football season went down for Tulane in typical Tulane style. The Green Wave finished with a 3-9 record (and that’s overall, they went 1-7 in conference play), losing to all of their opponents with the exception of Maine, the University of Central Florida and Army. Each year, it seems to gradually get more difficult for Tulane fans to hold on to any kind of hope. In 2014, they went 3-9. 2013 was a flickering lamp in the dimly lit history of Tulane football, as they went 7-6, but unfortunately, even that success was preceded in 2012 with a 2-10 season. Someone, somewhere, saw that it was time for change. In an incredible coaching grab, Tulane got ahold of well-known Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz to take up the head coaching position for the Green Wave. So fear not, Green Wave fans, 2016 might just be your year. Here are a few things we should be excited for this season.
On the Fritz
Willie Fritz is now the head coach of the Tulane Green Wave football team. This is definitely a good thing. Fritz boasts an overall record of 154-69, and in what should be most interesting to Tulane fans, spent three years at Blinn College, turning their program around from a 5-24 record to a 39-5 record. A few years after, Fritz ended up at Sam Houston State, where he managed to lead them to their only undefeated season. Ever. And most recently, he coached Georgia Southern to a 9-4 record in the 2014-2015 season and brought them to win the GoDaddy.com Bowl. All of these things just beg the question: What can Fritz do at Tulane?
I mean, what does everyone look towards when they’re looking at their football team’s next season? Commits. Tulane hasn’t fallen short this season, either. At all. P.J. Hall, a three-star cornerback from Birmingham, Alabama, stated that he received offers from Mississippi State, Western Kentucky and Kentucky, and was even shown interest from Ole Miss and Louisville. But he chose Tulane and signed with them on February 3, 2016. Jacob Robertson, another three-star wide receiver from Atlanta, Georgia, also had a highlight reel of offers. Louisville, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Miami and Kentucky were just a few of the 11 total offers Robertson received. And on January 26, 2016, Robertson committed to the Tulane Green Wave. D.J. Owens, a running back from Dallas, Georgia, also committed to Tulane among a myriad of offers, including Colorado State, the University of Central Florida and California. These are just three of the 10 total three-start commits who have already pledged themselves to Tulane. Just another reason why 2016 could very well be the year for the Green Wave.
Not Just a Head Coach
To bring it back to Coach Fritz, he’s not the only one coming from Georgia Southern to pick Tulane up off its feet. Fritz is bringing with him a number of coaches, including: assistant head coach and running backs coach Dell McGee, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Ruse, defensive coordinator and safeties coach Jack Curtis, offensive line coach Alex Atkins, defensive line coach Kevin Peoples, and linebackers coach Michael Mutz. It’s safe to say Tulane is getting a facelift.
It’s the Little Things
While Tulane’s 2015 record says otherwise, the Green Wave might not actually be as bad as you think. For example, it might not have been very well known that Dontrell Hilliard, Tulane running back, was number four in the American Athletica Conference for rushing yards per attempt or had the third longest run of 85 yards. It may have been pushed to the back that kicker Andrew DiRocco made 29 out of his 30 attempted extra points, and nine out of 10 field goals, to finish the season with percentages of 96.7 percent and 90 percent respectively. Maybe no one told you that quarterback Tanner Lee is first on the list for the longest pass thrown in 2015, or that receiver Devon Breaux was sixth on the list for most average yards per reception with 17.2. Tulane is by no means a powerhouse of the AAC, but the Green Wave has a few things up its sleeves that could very well explode in 2016.
Tulane is in no shape or form for an Alabama, Ole Miss or USC. They’re the Bad News Bears. They’re the team with homemade pads and makeshift helmets. They’re the ones who are bullied into a corner, take some time to recover, and come back stronger than ever. That’s what 2016 is going to be. 2015 was their corner, and 2016 is when they get their lunch money back from the big bad Memphis Tigers, Houston Cougars and Temple Owls. With head coach Willie Fritz at the helm, the addition of a plethora of three-star recruit artillery, and a remastered coaching staff, Tulane is looking to cause a rift in the AAC in 2016.