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Green Wave effort for football improvement a work in progress this spring

Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson hopes hard work and sweat will lead to more victories in the next couple of seasons.Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson hopes hard work and sweat will lead to more victories in the next couple of seasons.

One of the greatest spring practices in the history of Tulane football might be taking place right now. But you and I would never know it.

The Green Wave is practicing at the Saints facility in Metairie where practices have been closed to the media and the public.

That will change Saturday, when the Green Wave will host a scrimmage outside at Tad Gormley Stadium.

So, as we (eagerly?) await the appearance of the Green Wave, here are some random thoughts as we head toward the 2013 season.

Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson has raved about the ability of junior college transfer quarterback Nick Montana.

But Montana, like his predecessor Ryan Griffin, needs help from his offensive line.

In 2012, Tulane was 119 of out 120 in rushing offense. The Wave averaged 1.7 yards per carry. Tulane had only three rushing touchdowns all season. Only Washington State, at 1.38 yards per carry was worse.

It is hard to imagine the Green Wave making a big leap forward without huge improvement on the offensive line.

The same can be said for the defensive line.

In 2012, Tulane was 114th out of 120 in rushing defense. The Wave allowed 30 rushing touchdowns and 222.92 yards per game on the ground.

Johnson has raved about the efforts of nose tackle Chris Davenport, a graduate transfer from LSU. That word that Davenport has stepped in to provide help in the interior is good news indeed. But, what does it say about your defensive front when a player who played sparcely in 23 games over three seasons at LSU is suddenly your best inside option?

Last season was a magical one for Tulane kicker Cairo Santos. The Lou Groza award winner was a perfect 21 of 21 in field goals, including a school record 57 yarder. But, this fall Santos will have to make an adjustment. Long snapper Billy Johnson, who Santos says was a big part of his success, has finished his eligibility.

Despite good play from Griffin and Santos, the Wave won two games last season. In 2013 though, Tulane has a chance to match that total in the first two weeks of the season.

The Green Wave opens with games against Jackson State and South Alabama in the Superdome. So, more wins are certainly there for the taking.

That's the good news. The bad is this could be the worst Tulane home football schedule in recent memory. Don't believe me? Take a look.

The home slate consists of Jackson State, South Alabama, North Texas, East Carolina, Tulsa and UTEP. Last season's home schedule included early games against notables Rutgers and Ole Miss.

When Tulane opens the 2014 season at the new on-campus Yulman Stadium, Johnson wants to play "as early as possible."

In a TV interview, Johnson told me he wants to kickoff at Noon or 1 p.m. My response matched my surprise. "In early September?"

"Yes," said Johnson. The late summer New Orleans heat could be his team's "biggest advantage."

Let's hope when the fall of 2014 arrives, the head coach of the Green Wave has a product worth sweating to see.