2019 Tulane Football Season Preview
Tulane football ended 7-6 a season ago–will they be able to continue their upward trend in the AAC?
2018 Record: 7-6 overall, 5-3 in American Athletic
Head Coach: Willie Fritz, 4th year, 16-21
The offense was solid last year and it has the potential to be even better in 2019.
Justin McMillan is the man at quarterback after splitting time last season. In that split-duty he threw for 1,304 yards with ten touchdowns and four picks, along with adding five scores on the ground.
The offensive line lost three starters and really wasn’t good a season ago–they had a hard time keeping defenses out of the backfield. 6-4, 300-pound Corey Dublin is a decent veteran center, but there isn’t much in the way of overall bulk, and it’ll take fall camp to come up with the right starting five.
The top running backs return, with 230-pound, 1,000-yard senior Darius Bradwell combining with 200-pound, 785-yard fellow senior Corey Dauphine. In all the top four running backs are there–now Willie Fritz needs to commit to the run even more in 2019.
Leading receiver Darnell Mooney returns to a position that became the strong-suit of the offense because of Oklahoma State transfer Jalen McCleskey. The former Cowboys caught 50 passes with five scores in 2017, but bolted after four games in 2018, maintaining his eligibility to play this season.
Not familiar with the Tulane defense? Get familiar, because they are good–really good. The defense runs the increasingly popular 4-2-5 alignment and they should improve on their already great numbers from last year.
The Green Wave finished second in the AAC against the run and dominated in the backfield with 41 sacks. They went with a youth movement with four underclassmen starters up front, and now comes the payoff. Junior Patrick Johnson is the star of the show, but he’s not alone. Cameron Sample is a 280-pound pass rusher on the outside, DeAndre Williams is a 290-pound all-star-caliber tackle, and there’s good depth to rotate in.
At linebacker, Marvin Moody is a solid-tackling 225-pound junior who came up with 71 tackles, and senior Lawrence Graham finished fourth on the team with 61 stops. Those are the two, in the 4-2-5 scheme.
Three of the five starters in the secondary return to a unit that came up with 12 picks, but gave up 260 yards per game. PJ Hall is a good veteran at one safety job, and junior CB Jaylon Monroe came up seven broken up passes and has the speed to start doing more.
The schedule does not help a Tulane team that will be more talented than their 2018-self. Going to Auburn is the only almost-certain loss, but facing UCF is a problem and going to Army will be tough. Throw in the dates against Houston and FIU at home, and Memphis, Temple, SMU and Navy on the road, this Green Wave team could have a worse record than last year despite being more talented.