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  1. Tulane made it official Saturday morning when the school fired football coach Curtis Johnson. Johnson finished 15-34 in his four seasons, culminating with a 45-34 loss to Tulsa on Friday evening. "I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program. His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to," said Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson in a press release. Tulane also indicated the hiring process for Johnson's successor will begin as soon as the school finds Dickson's replacement, which could come early this week. Dickson is retiring in June. Read more: http://www.nola.com/tulane/index.ssf/2015/11/tulane_fires_football_coach_cu.html
  2. Barring a last-minute change of direction, Tulane is set to part ways with football coach Curtis Johnson following Friday's game against Tulsa, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Tulane is set to make a decision on hiring a new atheletics director next week and a coaching search will be the immediate priority for the new athletics director, much like the situation at Central Florida. read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/aac/2015/11/25/tulane-university-football-coach-curtis-johnson/76399708/
  3. I thought our defense played outstanding. The first half was okay. We know this team is very good and very explosive. You can see that by going back and watching the Georgia game. We talked about that all week long. This team (North Texas) is explosive, That No. 3 (Brelan Chancellor) is as a good as anyone in the country, their quarterback (Derek Thompson) is outstanding; for our defense to come out and play like that in the first half was great. Throughout the game, I thought the defense had some great stops, which was good. We knew they were great on special teams. This is the best special teams weve played all year, and I thought that we handled them well. We got into a rhythm on special teams: got that block, played the scoop-and-score just like we talked about, Boutte fielded the ball well all game long, and we covered the kicks well. Offensively, we struggled somewhat, but this was a good defense. Georgia struggled. Everybody they played struggled against them. So, all of a sudden, at the end of the game weve got the big drive. Our backs played outstanding. We picked up the blocks and the blitz, and I thought it was a good day. On the final drive Initially, the thing was to get one first down, and then another, and then another. Orleans Darkwa just ran over a couple of guys the first time he got the ball, and that gave us the momentum on the sideline, which gave us a lift. Nick made a play, Grant made a couple of plays on the drive, and the next thing you know we were going in kick the field goal. The trick of the final drive is to: 1. Make them use their timeouts, which they did. 2. Move the ball to get into field goal range, which we did. 3. Do most of it on the ground, which we accomplished. We accomplished those three things, and we ran the clock down to five seconds, which I know that, if we make the kick, that will run out the clock. On Cairos kick being great moment for the program Cairos fantastic. We all know his struggles theyve been chronicled and I dont know how this kid can make any field goals with what hes going through right now. I see him in the halls and hes teary-eyed all the time. I just hope that he can get over some of this and get back to being his old self, but it was just fantastic. I told him at halftime that he was going to win this game for us so get up, and he did. On offensive struggles and what needs to change I think there just needs to be some direct clarity instruction on exactly what we are doing, because we practice these situations every week. Heres the runs, heres the plays, this is what we are doing, were going to move the ball, were going to make them use their timeouts, and when it begins to go like it should go, I think the players become more and more confident. On Nick Montana I thought his running was outstanding, he was a little off throwing the ball, but he put us in a great position to win the game, especially on that last drive. A quarterback to me is mainly judged on wins and losses, and what Nick does is that hes a winner. He tucks it under, he runs, he throws it when it needs to be thrown; hell make the big plays and theyll get more consistent, both the offensive line and Nick, but this was a great defense. This defense played outstanding, they (North Texas) did the same thing to Georgia, my hats off to them. On NTs defense hitting Montana hard We do the same thing to their quarterback, we try to put as much pressure on the quarterbacks as we can, and weve hit a couple and knocked a couple of them out this year, but thats the game nowadays. If you dont rattle these quarterbacks, they are just going to pick you apart and they are going to play well. On tackling well all game I think the defense has done a fantastic job. Weve done a ton of tackling drills in practice, especially since the second game of the season, and I think weve tackled well pretty much this whole season. I love the way we are bringing players in and out, were alternating the right guys, were bringing in the right players, and I think we are turning the corner now, beginning to get better and better all over. On the blocked field goal I thought Barry Lamb broke them down pretty well. We knew that with special teams, we had to get a hold of Brelan Chancellor. We thought we could block a field goal, through that gap, so that worked out. Also, all week we were practicing that scoop and score drill, and that worked out well too. We thought we could get the punter on a block too, and we came close a few times, but theyre a good special teams unit, they killed Georgia with special teams, along with some of the other programs. - See more at: http://www.sportsnola.com/sports/tulane/600463-tulane-finds-way-to-win-over-north-texas.html#sthash.HDqOtsvd.dpuf
  4. As the Tulane football team heads into its homecoming game against North Texas, it travels the four miles down South Claiborne to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on a high note. The program already has more wins than it has in any season since 2010, it has the chance to open Conference USA play 2-0 for the first time since 1998, and it appears the team is strengthening each week, correcting mistakes, and seeing that progress in the won-lost column. But the program found itself having to take the high road, too, from last week's opponent, University of Louisiana at Monroe. Warhawks coach Todd Berry told the media after Tulane won 31-14 on Saturday that he thought the Green Wave wasn’t a “good team.” He took a shot at Tulane in trying to vent some anger about how poorly his team played. "I've been around some bad teams before, but this one is supposed to be a good team," Berry said of ULM. "Tulane is not very good, and we're worse, so there it is.” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson took the high road about the negativity from Monroe. Injury update “We’re pretty healthy and we got a big win this weekend -- all that does is make the next game more important,” Johnson said. Though there were rumors that quarterback Nick Montana played poorly against ULM because he was injured, Johnson refuted that. “I think he’s healthy – probably as healthy as he could be in the middle of the season. He’s taken a lot of hits but he played well,” Johnson said. There is an illness going around the team, however. “The only thing that happened today is Zach Morgan was a little bit sick and Royce LaFrance was out of practice today with the flu so there might be something going down around the locker room – I suggest you guys don’t go down there,” Johnson said. Read more: http://www.nola.com/tulane/index.ssf/2013/10/tulane_football_heads_into_hom.html
  5. Early August is usually the peak of optimism for the Tulane football team before the inevitable cliff dive once the season starts. After a decade of losing, though, the Green Wave and second-year coach Curtis Johnson are seeing tangible signs that their talk of a turnaround won’t get hit with a reality check in September. Specifically, they can point to the heft on their defensive front seven and the lack of heft on the schedule in revamped Conference USA. “As ultra-competitive as I am, I’ll probably be disappointed with (just) six wins,” Johnson said Monday at Media Day. “We better get more than six this year. We’ve added some pieces to the puzzle, and hopefully by the end of the year, we’ll have this thing completed and we’ll be holding up a (Conference USA) trophy.” Six wins would make Tulane bowl eligible for the first time since 2002. The Green Wave has not won more than four since Hurricane Katrina and has gone 4-21 in a turbulent past two seasons bridging the end of Bob Toledo’s tenure and the start of Johnson’s. With eight starters returning on offense and defense, Johnson expects different results. “I’d like to see 12 wins this year, but if we get to a bowl game, which I hope and pray we are, it would be a step in the right direction,” he said. “It’s leading to the foundation of the program that we want to set here.” That foundation got bigger with the transfer of a pair of former SEC players. Tyler Gilbert (6-feet-3, 244 pounds), a junior college transfer who played linebacker for Arkansas two years ago, is getting reps at defensive end. Defensive tackle Chris Davenport, a 6-4, 334-pound five-star recruit who played sparingly in four years at LSU, will attend graduate school while anchoring the line. “It’s like having a big Chevy Suburban right in the middle of the defense,” co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Jon Sumrall said. “He takes up a lot of space.” The transfers give Tulane 15 defensive linemen on scholarship a year after Sumrall recalled beginning spring practice with seven. The depth-shy, size-challenged Wave ranked 114th nationally out of 120 FBS teams in rushing defense, allowing an average of 222.9 yards on 5.1 yards per carry. “We couldn’t even do drills,” Sumrall said. “Now we’ve got 14 or 15 out there and could run like four drills. (Johnson) has been fantastic about it. He’s a wide receiver guy, but he gives me more opportunities to bring in defensive linemen than you would ever imagine.” Part of Johnson’s line-centric philosophy is preparing for the increased competition in the American Athletic Conference, which Tulane will join next year. That league features former Big East teams Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida along with former Conference USA heavyweights Houston and Central Florida. He hopes to reap the benefits this season in a diminished C-USA, which brings Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Florida Atlantic and Texas-San Antonio to the schedule. Throw in the first two games against Jackson State of the lower-level FCS along with FBS upstart South Alabama, and seven of Tulane’s foes are ranked below the Wave in analyst Phil Steele’s preseason rankings. Read more: http://theadvocate.com/sports/6704136-128/stronger-defense-lighter-schedule-boost
  6. Curtis Johnson, age 29, struck a hip pose among the youth in New Orleans in 1991. He even had hair back then. Tulane football coach Curtis Johnson has area players considering his program Clad in a suit and tie, Johnson stepped into his hometown as a top recruiter/assistant coach from San Diego State, promising his head coach to pull some big fish out of the Big Easy and Louisiana-wide. Twenty-one years later, Johnson is the 50-year-old first-year Tulane head coach, tasked with the same thing — reaping talent from the local area. But one recruit changed everything for Johnson and it explains Johnson’s charisma. To understand what Johnson is doing now, you have to hear the original Coup d’état recruiting story — the tale of how Johnson stole Hall of Fame talent Marshall Faulk out of LSU’s back yard. Faulk was a gifted Carver player with 4.3 speed in the 40, but was coveted for his play at defensive back — not his preferred position of running back. And he wasn’t Johnson’s top target in the state — Fred Harris, a defensive end from Shreveport, was. But after seeing film in the Carver fieldhouse of Faulk, Johnson promised Faulk a recruiting visit and swore to Faulk he could play tailback at San Diego State. But it wasn’t until the logistics of the official recruiting trip got so tangled that Johnson positioned himself for perhaps the biggest recruiting heist in the history of the area. Faulk’s father died in the days before his visit to San Diego State, something many would have thought would have given LSU or a closer school an edge. But Faulk still agreed to come visit Johnson and the Aztecs in California. Back then coaches could escort recruits on their visits, and Johnson arrived at the New Orleans airport to find Faulk ready to go. But instead of boarding a plane, fog delayed their flight for hours. Then fog delayed their flight in Houston. Young, hip coach and kid-whose-dad-just-died stiffly regarded each other in the airport. “I didn’t know what else to say,” Johnson said. “I’ve never been a suit-and-tie guy, so I looked at Marshall and said, ‘Hey, this is the bottom line with this trip: we’re going to make the best of the trip.’ I said I’m taking my tie off and I’m getting on some shorts and we’re just going to sit back, kick it, and have some fun. So I took my suit and tie off, he took his suit and tie off and put on shorts and we just started talking and laughing and joking. We didn’t arrive in San Diego until about midnight.” Never had a botched travel agenda reaped so much advantage. Though Faulk barely uttered a word on his visit once stepping on campus, the bond had been established.
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