2012 Record: 2-10 (2-6 in C-USA)
Head Coach: Curtis Johnson (second year head coach)
Last Bowl Game: 2002 Hawaii Bowl: beat Hawaii 36-28
Stadium: Superdome in New Orleans, LA (capacity = 72,003)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 53rd out of 55 mid-major teams
Toughest Conference Home Game: 10/12 vs ECU, 10/26 vs Tulsa
Toughest Conference Road Games: 9/12 at Louisiana Tech, 11/30 at Rice
Stats to Fear: lost 33 turnovers in 2012 (11th in C-USA), gave up 218 plays of 10 or more yards in 2012 (last in C-USA), scored TDs in only 41.94% of trips to red zone (last in C-USA)
Stats to Cheer: I'm still looking
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 117th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 9, Defense: 8, Special Teams: 2
Key Defensive Returnee: FS Darion Monroe (95 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: WR Ryan Grant (76 rec), RB Rob Kelley (46 rec, 286 yds rush), RB Orleans Darkwa (247 yds rush in 2012, 924 yds rush in 2011)
When Tulane had the ball in 2012, they threw the ball 65% of the time. This season they must replace long-time starting QB Ryan Griffin. JUCO transfer, by way of Washington, Nick Montana should take over as the starting QB. You may have heard the last name before. In the spring game he was 8 for 14 for 78 yards and a TD. Another option is Devin Powell, who actually took the first snaps in the spring game. At RB, the Green Wave hope that Orleans Darkwa snaps out of his sophomore slump (and that the OL opens some holes). The receiving corps is stocked as Tulane returns pretty much everybody who caught a pass last season. The pivotal group here is going to be the offensive line. They return five players that have 11 or more starts but they simply weren't very good last season. The team finished 123rd in the Nation in rushing yards and ypc in 2012 and a big reason was the OL. They also allowed 32 sacks. If Tulane is going to better this season, the line of scrimmage has to come together.
Tulane finished 11th in the conference in total defense and points allowed. There is a lot of opportunity here. The DL losses Austen Jacks (5 sacks) but returns everybody else of note. Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen. One key addition could be DT Chris Davenport. He is a 6'4, 330 pound transfer from LSU that never really found his place on Les Miles squad. The LB and secondary have some talent but must show improvement if the Green Wave wants to show progress this season.
One plus is recruiting as 247 Sports had Tulane in the upper echelon of the conference in 2013. Scheduling wise, the schedule isn't the toughest. There are some challenging games like Louisiana Tech, Syracuse, ULM, ECU, Tulsa and Rice but there are also some very winnable games. They start with Jackson State and South Alabama. Then later in the season they play North Texas, FAU, UTSA and UTEP. Half of the games on the schedule should just about be toss-ups. They weren't that far off in some games last year as they lost three games by less than one score. They also got better as the season progressed after starting very poorly. Can Tulane jump out of the gates this season, win their first two games and gain some confidence? That will be a key to the season. This team should shoot to double it's win total from last year and if they can grab four wins it should be considered a step in the right direction.
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