CB Sean Lucas (Tulane Athletics Media Relations)

2002 Statistics

Coach: Chris Scelfo
21-27, 4 years
2002 Record: 8-5
at Houston WON 34-13
at East Carolina LOST 20-24
at Memphis LOST 10-38
at Louis-Monroe WON 52-9
UAB WON 35-14
NAVY WON 51-30
at TCU LOST 10-17
Hawaii WON 36-28

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Through the dorms, into the weight room and up and down the roster, there's a hungry attitude running through the football program at Tulane University. And why not?

For starters, there will BE football at Tulane University. The school's trustees voted June 10 not to eliminate the program, although the program must help the athletic department reduce a $7 million debt to $2 million by 2007 by increasing its fan base and financial support.

As a certain indicted domestic doyenne might say, it's a good thing. Particularly for head coach Chris Scelfo, one of the bright young minds in the game. The decision of the trustees, on the heels of last year's winning season, brings optimism to the campus.

The Green Wave turned in a surprising 8-5 record in 2002, capped by a win over Hawaii in the ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl. Yet it was a successful and disappointing season at the same time.

Losses to 4-8 East Carolina, 3-9 Memphis and 1-11 Army sabotaged what could have been an even better year, hence the desire to eliminate the physical and mental mistakes that might have been the difference in at least two of those games. Tulane doesn't want to get to the end of another season and wonder what could have been, and that's an admirable attitude. But the Green Wave probably won't have enough on the defensive side of the ball to even get to that point.

Defense, and a wicked schedule, will conspire to keep Tulane at the .500 mark in 2003. Oh, the offense will be there, to be sure. Quarterback J.P. Losman is back for his senior season, backed by an array of solid, if not spectacular, receivers, as well as one of the nation's best all-purpose backs in Mewelde Moore.

But the defense needs work. All four starting linemen, including all-time sack leader Kenan Blackmon and first-team All Conference USA DE Floyd Dorsey, are gone. All four starting defensive backs are also gone, including CB Lynaris Elpheage, who led the conference in interceptions. It's tough enough to rebuild an entire unit, let alone two, but there is a great deal of faith in defensive coordinator Eric Schumann. One of the big reasons why Tulane went from 3-9 in 2001 to 8-5 last season was Schumann, who helped turn a horrid defense into one that led the nation in forced turnovers.

But the schedule does the Green Wave no favors. Tulane begins with three consecutive home games in the Superdome. But the opener is against Texas Christian, the likely preseason favorite to win the Conference USA championship, and the third game is a non-conference tilt vs. the SEC's Mississippi State. Tulane gets a break in between vs. Northwestern (La.) State. The first road game is against Army - normally a gimme, except that the Green Wave lost to the Black Knights last year - and that game is followed by a trip to Texas. Tulane could very well be looking at a 2-3 or 1-4 start, and has three of its last four games also on the road.

Projected 2003 record: 5-7
QB - 3.5 DL - 1
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 1.5
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: J.P. Losman, 401-230-10, 2468 yds., 19 TD

Rushing: Mewelde Moore, 288 att., 1138 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Mewelde Moore, 52 rec., 545 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Mewelde Moore, 9 TD, 1 two pt. conv., 56 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: none

Tackles: Anthony Cannon, 114 tot., 67 solo

Sacks: Blake Baker, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Sean Lucas, 2 for 119 yds.

Kickoff returns: Tristan Smith, 3 ret., 23.7 avg.

Punt returns: none


QB J.P. Losman (Tulane Athletics Media Relations)


OFFENSE: Brendon Drysdale-C, Seth Zaunbrecher-OG, Seth Marler-K/P
DEFENSE: Kenan Blackmon-DE, Quentin Brown-FS, Floyd Dorsey-DE, Lynaris Elpheage-CB, Adrian Mitchell-SS, Jeff Sanchez-CB, Roxie Shelvin-DT, Marlon Tickles-DT

written by Rich Thomaselli

This is where Tulane stays in games or wins the shootouts, with an offense that is blessed with the return of some terrific skill position players and one that didn't suffer dramatic losses on the line, although that remains a concern.

Senior RB Moore is the best returning all-purpose back in college football. In fact, Moore has more rushing and receiving yards (3,860) in the last two seasons than any other returning player in the nation. He has a quarterback's vision of the field, able to see and analyze defenses with a thought process that seemingly comes in nanoseconds, and then he has the physical attributes to execute what he wants to do. "He excels at everything he puts his mind to," Scelfo said.

Does that include a Heisman Trophy? Well, it's certainly a longshot. You know the drill - small school, little press coverage, no major television appearances, and a buzz that will have to be built in the first month of the season rather than have preceded his senior year. Still, Moore should be on the long list at the beginning of September. His partner in crime, FB Kris Coleman, opens huge holes.

Moore isn't Tulane's only weapon. Losman was thrown in at quarterback and told to learn the ropes as a full-time starter. He responded with an eight-win season that included 2,468 yards passing, a 57.4% completion percentage, 19 TDs and 10 INTs. Losman is a big kid (6-3, 215) that NFL scouts are in love with. He'll surely play at the next level.

And he'll have a plethora of options to throw to. While Moore is Losman's most prolific returning receiver in terms of balls caught, WRs Tristan Smith, Nick Dunn, Chris Bush, Nick Narcisse and TE Bobby Hoover are all back. But the biggest return might be WR Roydell Williams, who fractured his ankle in the third game of the season against East Carolina and missed the remainder of the year. But Williams, who did not participate in spring ball, was granted a medical hardship and returns as a junior. He gives Losman yet another target to work with. Suffice to say, the receiving corps is not a question mark for Tulane, although Scelfo wants to see them do more after the catch.

Half of the line will be a question mark, however. Losman's blind side is fortunately protected by the return of LT Chris McGee and LG Matt Traina. Jimmy Kosienski, a 6-7, 280-pound junior, will anchor the right side at RT. But Tulane will be breaking in a new C in Will Blaylock or Joe Traina, both sophomores, and at RG with Donald Madlock, also a sophomore. Making matters worse, both Blaylock and Madlock had their progress hindered this spring with nagging injuries. The good news, however, is that no matter who ends up in these two positions it's likely, because of Losman's passing and Moore's ability to run outside, opposing defenses won't be able to flood the box. That should help in grooming a new center and right guard.


RB Mewelde Moore (Tulane Athletics Media Relations)


Returning Starters in bold
QB J.P. Losman-Sr Billy Don Malone-Fr
FB Kris Coleman-Sr Quintin Jones-Fr
RB Mewelde Moore-Sr Jovon Jackson-So
WR Tristan Smith-Jr James Dunn-Sr
WR Nick Narcisse-Sr Roydell Williams-Jr
TE Bobby Hoover-Jr Jerome Landry-So
OT Chris McGee-So Willie Christian-So
OG Matt Traina-So Mark Burgess-Fr
C Will Blaylock-So Joe Traina-So
OG Donald Madlock-So Joe Mitchell-Sr
OT Jimmy Kosienski-Jr Derek Rogers-Fr
K Barrett Pepper-Fr ..



written by Rich Thomaselli

It's the worst of times and the worst of times for the Green Wave defense.

You figure a weak pass rush can be overcome by blanket coverage in the secondary. Conversely, problems with the defensive backs can be disguised by constant pressure up front.

Unfortunately for Tulane, it starts the season with neither. All four starting defensive linemen and all four starters in the secondary are gone, and while a strong set of returning linebackers known for quick reads and recognition, they'll need help.

But, there's a reason why Alabama's Mike Price pursued Tulane defensive coordinator Schumann so heavily when Price first got the job he eventually lost without ever coaching a game. Schumann, in his first season at Tulane in 2002, not only created a defense that led the nation in forced turnovers, but one that gave up 21.7 points per game - almost 20 less than the previous year. So expect Schumann to come up with a few wrinkles to cover the Green Wave's lack of experience on the line and in the defensive backfield.

Start up front, where true linebacker Daniel Nevin moves to defensive end. At 6-1, 220, Nevin doesn't have the size of his predecessors but certainly has the speed. And that's what Schumann is looking for, someone at rush end to get into the backfield and create a bit of havoc. Nevin will have a bit of a clone on the opposite side in 6-3, 245-pound sophomore Michael Roberts, whom Scelfo praised for having a solid spring. In between, Tulane will have some beef in tackles Terrence Tarver and Wallace Mateen. Despite losing all four starters last year, the defensive line wasn't exactly a great run-stopping unit as it gave up 180.1 yards rushing per game. That was only good for 93rd out of 117 Division I-A teams. Perhaps Schumann will find a surprise in a totally rebuilt line.

All three starting linebackers - strongside 'backer Wesley Heath, MLB Brandt Quick (and he is), and Anthony Cannon - return. Cannon is a stud, a sophomore who led the team in tackles and was first in the conference and second in the nation in tackles by a true freshman. Though he operates from the weak side, that's in name only. Cannon can change a game. As a unit, all three have the ability to overcome the mistakes of those in front of them, a key attribute for a defense breaking in four new starters on the line. An added boost is the return of Brandon Spincer, an all-conference freshman performer in 2001 who sat out last year due to academic reasons.

Said Scelfo coming out of spring ball, "Our strength on defense has got to be our linebackers. We've got some experience coming back there. We've got some guys that can run. We've increased our speed, and the leadership has to come from that group."

The most opportunistic defense in the country was led by a secondary that produced 23 interceptions, fourth best in the nation. But 19 of those 23 picks left with the players who left the program. Still, the cupboard is not entirely bare. The four INTs that do return come in the person of sophomore Sean Lucas and junior Trawick Boger. Fellow sophomore Bruce Youmans joins Lucas on the corner and junior Joey Dawson is the projected starting free safety. Lucas, Boger and Youmans each played in all 13 games; Dawson played in 12. That experience will come in handy, for the quicker the secondary gels and develops, the quicker the entire defense will come together.


LB Anthony Cannon (Tulane Athletics Media Relations)


Returning Starters in bold
DE Michael Roberts-So Laine Sambrooks-Jr
DT Terrence Tarver-Sr Taurean Brown-Fr
DT Wallace Mateen-Jr Michael Purcell-Fr
DE Daniel Nevil-Sr Taylor Bertin-Fr
SLB Wesley Heath-Sr Antonio Mason-So
MLB Brandt Quick-Sr Blake Baker-Jr
WLB Anthony Cannon-So Brandon Spincer-So
CB Bruce Youmans-So Jeremy Foreman-Fr
CB Sean Lucas-So Darren Sapp-So
SS Tra Boger-Jr Winfred Brown-Sr
FS Joey Dawson-Jr Tommy Griffin-So
P Chris Beckman-Fr ..




This is where the Green Wave must hope the babes will lead. Seth Marler pulled double duty last year, serving as Tulane's placekicker and punter. His 72 punts went an average of 42.9 yards, and none were blocked. He was also 20-for-33 on field goals. Freshmen Barrett Pepper and Chris Beckman take over the kicking and punting duties, respectively. With Lynaris Elpheage having declared early, his kick and punt returns will be sorely missed (he returned one each for a touchdown while averaging more than 25 yards per kickoff and 16 per punt). Tristan Smith is a junior, albeit one with little experience. He returned only three kickoffs last year and zero punts, but gets first crack at being Tulane's return man.