New Staff, Leadership and Speed Brings new Strength to green wave football
After a dismal 4-8 finish to the 2010 season, Tulane Head Football Coach Bob Toledo can't wait any longer for the 2011 season to arrive. "We are bigger, faster and stronger than ever before," said Toledo. The 2011 season marks a new beginning for Tulane football, as two new coaches join the Green Wave staff this year, most recently, Rickey Bustle. Bustle served as the former head coach of cross state rival Louisiana at Lafayette.
Toledo feels Bustle's experience will be a tremendous asset to the Green Wave offense and will help with the development of quarterback Ryan Griffin. "Bustle brings an abundance of experience from successful programs, and fits right into what we are doing as a team," Toledo said.
ohn Henrick was hired earlier in the offseason as the new special teams coordinator and defensive line coach. "John brings a new look to our special teams, and has the speed and energy we need to be successful. He is going to do great things with this group," said Toledo. With the addition of Bustle, Greg Davis, Jr. will serve as passing game coordinator, and Mark Hutson will be the running coordinator. It is still clear, however, who is in charge. "I will be calling the plays," said Toledo.
The Green Wave offense returns seven starters including Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin. Griffin completed 223 passes for 2371 yards and 14 touchdowns prior to a season ending injury against Rice last year. Griffin has put last season behind him, and feels he is more ready than ever before. "I feel great, my body is healed up, and I'm ready to take on the first hits of the season. All that matters to me, is winning," said Griffin. Coach Toledo believes Griffin to be the team leader on and off the field. "Coming off of shoulder and foot surgery is extremely hard for anyone, but Ryan has grown to become a leader. He not only knows what to do on offense, but he now understands more what the defense is trying to do to him," said Toledo. Freshman All-American Orleans Darkwa returns at running back after nearly reaching 1000 yards last year and will provide an explosive ground attack to support Griffin. "Darkwa has put on 10 pounds, and is up to 210. Look for him to have some carries this season," said Toledo. Other returning starters include; Harris Howard, Eric Jones, Zach Morgan, Ryan Grant and Joe Kemp.
According to Toledo, Tulane's defense has something this season they've never had before: exceptional speed. "This is the fastest defense we have ever had. We only have one guy slower than five seconds in the 40 (forty yard dash)," said Toledo. Linebacker Dezmon Moses agrees. "This is the fastest we have ever been as a unit," said Moses. Aside from speed, experience will be an asset to this season. The defense returns seven starters from last year. The front seven (linemen and linebackers) alone, return five starters and is said to be the most complete in the conference. "Look for our front seven to make things happen this year," said Toledo. Other returning starts include; Chris Asumu, Austen Jacks, Trent Mackey, Darryl Farley, Ryan Travis and Shakiel Smith.
Toledo believes the biggest surprise to look out for will be special teams. The addition of Henrick and an outstanding spring by Freshmen Kicker Cairo Santos completes the entire package for the Green Wave this season. "Santos missed only one kick the entire spring, we will be counting on him a lot this season," said Toledo.
The Green Wave opens the season Sept. 3 against in state opponent Southeastern Louisiana, and begin conference play against Tulsa the following week. Tulane will face a tough out of conference schedule against Syracuse, Army and Duke and close the season across the continent in Honolulu, Hawaii against the warriors. The addition of new staff, team leadership and speed make the Tulane Green Wave a fierce competitor in the C-USA this season. For ticket information visit www.tulanegreenwave.com.