2022 Tulane Green Wave Preview

by Matt Fargo

Tulane Green Wave

2021-22 Season Record 2-10 (1-7 American) - 6-6-0 ATS - 7-5-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 9
Defense - 8

Overview

Tulane endured 10 straight losing seasons from 2003-2012 but then went 7-6 in its final season in C-USA and head coach Curtis Johnson could not keep it going as he went 3-9 the next two seasons and made way for current head coach Willie Fritz who is now in his seventh year on the sidelines. After a pair of losing seasons to start his stint here, he carried the Green Wave to three straight bowl games with a 20-18 record over that stretch and while that is nothing spectacular, it was progress in the right direction as Tulane did not have three straight seasons of being .500 or better since 1979-1981. Then last year happened. It nearly started with a major upset at Oklahoma as it lost by just five points and then the wheels fell off with eight straight losses. The one positive from this is that there was no quit as the last three defeats were by a touchdown or less and they will be a hungry bunch.

Offense

The offense was supposed to dominate last season as 10 starters were back from a team that scored 31 or more points eight times in 2020 but got to that number only three times last year, one against Morgan St. of the FCS. The unit did not drop off much but more was expected and overall it finished No. 74 in total offense and No. 72 in scoring offense. Most everyone is back and this is the season where a big leap needs to take place where quarterback Michael Pratt will be leading it again. He threw for 2,381 yards with 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions but he completed just 57.6 percent of his passes as he was constantly under duress. The offensive line allowed 32 sacks, No. 97 in the nation, but four starters are back and should be much better. Three of the top five receivers are back that combined for 1,054 yards while leading rusher Tyjae Spears and his 863 yards also returns.

Defense

The defense was nearly the same as the offense where the yardage averages were roughly the same from the previous season but the points allowed took a nosedive similar to where the offense dropped off in scoring. The defense was gashed a bunch early to midseason but the Green Wave allowed 20 points or less in three of the last four games yet overall still finished No. 115 in scoring defense and No. 103 in total defense. There is talent at every level with Nick Anderson and Dorian Williams leading the way at linebacker in the 4-2-5 scheme after combining for 129 tackles last season. Up front, there needs to be more disruption as end Darius Hodges is back after leading the team with five sacks but the rest of the group needs to get more involved. Safety Macon Clark is the leading returning tackler with 75 stops and heads the secondary that should improve.

2022 Season Outlook

After the disappointing season last year, Fritz is in need for a rebound or this could be the end of the line. A lot of pieces are in place for a big improvement but anything similar to last season likely means a change would be imminent. The schedule is in their favor in some regards but it is still not an easy one overall. The Green Wave have seven home games, the most since 2012 and they have to take advantage of this. The first four are all winnable against Alcorn St., Massachusetts, Southern Miss and East Carolina but the backend of Memphis, UCF and SMU is a challenge. The road slate has one easy game at South Florida but the other four are at Kansas St., Houston, Tulsa and Cincinnati, the last three that resulted in home losses last year by 44 points. The O/U win total is set at 6 which is more than attainable but there can be no home upsets and it will have to find a way for a couple big road wins. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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