The Oklahoma Sooners return home after a week on the road to face the Tulane Green Wave. Headed by Coach Willie Fritz, the program posted a 4-8 record a year ago. Looking to show improvement, the program returns eight starters on the defensive side. To boost the confidence level on the offensive side of the equation, Fritz now possesses a dual-threat quarterback suited to run the system.
Who To Know On The Tulane Offense
Employing a spread option system, the Green Wave utilize a run heavy system. However, it’s not to be confused with the option style of play typically seen from the military schools. Instead, Coach Fritz incorporates the zone read as well as the triple option out of the spread shotgun formation.
Jonathan Banks, a former 4-star recruit, will line up under center hoping to exploit weaker components of a defense. Forcing defenders to play assignment football, Banks has found success on the ground as well as through the air. On twenty pass attempts, Banks has found pay dirt three times adding another on the ground over two games. He’ll look to continue the success by connecting with his favorite target, wide receiver Terren Encalade.
Catching eight passes this year, Encalade has over twice as many receptions as any other receiver on the roster. Not necessarily a down the field threat, Encalade finds a way to shed defenders consistently. He’s joined by running back Dontrell Hilliard as the two most explosive skill position players on the field. Look for the triple option centered around these names.
Who To Know On The Tulane Defense
The defense proved to be a bright spot during the course of the 2016 campaign. Surrendering 500 yards two times over the course of 12-games remains nearly unheard of in today’s game. With eight returning starters, expectations once again remain high for this unit.
Leading the charge in the secondary, Parry Nickerson has recorded 10 career interceptions. He joins forces with a unit that returns all four starters from a year ago including the teams top tacklers.
Up front, Ade Aruna may have arrived at the university as a raw talent. Yet, the defensive end has the potential to earn All-Conference honors before it’s all said and done. A versatile and explosive player off the line, the coaching staff decided to experiment with Aruna by playing the end on the inside every now and then.
There’s no denying that the Sooners will be the more talented team come Saturday. Tulane may be able to capitalize on miscommunication as well as blown assignments. But at the end of the day, they’ll like struggle to find ways into the backfield to slow down this Oklahoma offense.