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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Catching waves: Reese’s, locker rooms, Peyton Manning

The Tulane Green Wave Football team will face the Ole Miss Rebels this weekend. (Courtesy of Parker Waters — Tulane Athletics)

For as long as most can remember, Tulane University has attracted students through excellent academics and an unmatched party scene. Students wanted the complete college experience, and Tulane offered them a balance of work and play. 

But there was always something missing: college football. 

Yes, Tulane has a football team, but when you have been drowning in mediocrity, or worse, for decades, it is almost impossible to create an authentic football culture. 

That’s all changed now. The laboring hopelessness of an entire fanbase diminished in a matter of months and has been replaced with a new phrase to describe Tulane: “Football School.”

Entering the season ranked in college football’s top 25 rankings, and an American Athletic Conference championship to protect, the Wave is now on the college football map — and with that comes lofty expectations. Students and fans do not just want wins anymore, they want to know as much as possible about their team, and that means more football content than ever before. 

With such high demand for football, The Hullabaloo is beginning a new column: Catching Waves.

Catching Waves will “catch” readers up with everything Tulane football. We will cover everything about the team from their on-field performance to their favorite TV shows, and everything in between. If you love the Wave, you are in the right place. Let’s get it rolling.

Locker room leaders

After a historic season for the team, the players deservedly celebrated, but athletic director Troy Dannen was already focused on using the team’s momentum as a springboard for the program’s future. Shortly after the season concluded with the Wave’s unbelievable come-from-behind victory over University of Southern California, Dannen announced that Tulane’s locker room would be renovated for the 2023-24 season. With Tulane’s success on the field stealing the attention, Dannen’s work behind the scenes stayed largely under wraps. That was until the world got its first look at the finished product:

Learning from the Mannings

After attending the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Michael Pratt made his return to the camp in a whole new light. 

It was not a surprise that Pratt was largely ignored last year at the program, as the Green Wave was coming off a disappointing 2-10 season and was an afterthought to the public eye. But this year was a much different story. After a storybook season that culminated in a 12-2 record, an AAC championship and a massive win against USC in The Cotton Bowl Classic, Pratt came into the Manning Passing Academy in June as one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a local hero. Crowds of people surrounded his workout at the camp, as NFL legends Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning looked on.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups … and Senior Bowl watch list?

Tulane has not been known for its athletics in a long time, and not particularly acclimated to receiving awards. However, since the final whistle of the Cotton Bowl victory, lots of amazing recognitions have been earned by the Wave’s players and coaches. 

Willie Fritz won AAC Coach of the Year, Tyjae Spears won AAC Offensive Player of the Year, and most recently, Tulane had a record five returning players chosen for the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watchlist. Quarterback Michael Pratt, center Sincere Haynesworth, cornerback Jarius Monroe, and offensive linemen Cameron Wire and Prince Pines were all nominated as potential participants at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama

The Senior Bowl is a prominent football game following the season for the best college seniors in the country, where they can show off their skills in front of NFL coaches and scouts. If all five Tulane players chosen for the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watchlist are selected, it would be a record for the program the current best is two players, with Tyjae Spears and Dorian Williams having participated in the Senior Bowl in February.

Did you know?

Head coach Willie Fritz is the only Tulane head football coach in history with more than one bowl game appearance in the seasons they started as head coach for the Wave. Not wins, appearances. Fritz is far and away the most successful coach in Tulane’s long history, with four bowl appearances, three of those being wins.

The last word

“Tulane is a very academic school. So, looking at the student body, I think a lot of kids now know what it feels like to be excited about football. I think that’s something that the school has emphasized and the media and everything, so I think the amount of people that are fired up for this next season, that (gives me) just a little bit of extra motivation going in,” Pratt told Crescent City Sports journalist Crissy Froyd in an interview at the Manning Passing Academy in June. 

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