Priorities adjust in wake of Green Wave football coach change

Jake Brennan, Staff Reporter Chandler Daddario

With the conclusion of spring football practice April 18 and a new head coach, the Green Wave has nothing but success to look forward to in the future. This past season in the final year of Coach Curtis Johnson’s reign, Tulane struggled with offensive efficiency and maintaining discipline on the field, leading to a 3-9, 1-7 American Athletic Conference record.

The team began to lose composure late in the season when word of Curtis Johnson’s firing surfaced. Coaching changes ensued in the offseason with the hiring of new Tulane football coach Willie Fritz.

His new dynamic approach focused on discipline on and off the field. It was essential that he made it clear to the team. Senior running back Marshall Wadleigh was among some of the players already noticing the change.

“I think the biggest thing and the most different thing that I have seen and that we have experienced is this kind of culture shift that we are bringing,” Wadleigh said. “It started up top with the new athletic director. A more family-orientated, very in your face [culture], but it has been very loving at the same time. We get immediately disciplined and they expect more [of] you. It is focused on winning, discipline and commitment.”

Despite a fairly strong defense, the Green Wave offense was anemic at best. Tanner Lee, the leading passer, totaled only 1639 yards. The run game was not much better, with a team total of under 1400 yards for the entire season.

The first priority for new head coach Willie Fritz was changing to the offensive scheme. During his tenure at both Sam Houston State University and Georgia Southern University, Fritz has employed a run-heavy offense.

In 2015, Georgia Southern’s team’s rushing total was over 4,700 yards, almost three times more than Tulane’s total for the same season. Junior linebacker Nico Marley felt hopeful for offensive success next year.

“We also have great running backs and I think Dontrell [Hilliard] could have an explosive year, as well as Sherman [Badie],” Marley said. “We have Enclade, Terren Enclade and they can go up and get that ball so it’s going to be whichever, you know, gets the ball the most.”

Nothing but optimism seems to resonate from the Green Wave for next season.

“I feel like for our team and our guys if we put in the right amount of work the sky’s the limit,” Wadleigh said. “We really want to an impact in the conference and I think we will surprise some people and it is just really seeing where we can go.”