Tulane Beat UH With Film Study


Call me old school, but I like watching teams excel at the fundamentals of the game, and I want my teams to pay attention to the details to gain an advantage. Tulane isn’t a great team that will wow you with talent, size, or strength. But they are a solid, obviously well-coached team and force you into mistakes. And like they showed on Friday, they are going to do the little things it takes to pull out a victory.

Tulane is currently 4-1 and has won on the road against Kansas State and UH. They didn’t do anything special against KState or UH; they didn’t make a lot of mistakes and capitalized when the opportunity presented itself. Tulane has committed only 19 penalties in 5 games, tied for 8th best in the country, whereas UH has 52 and is dead last in the country. They don’t beat themselves, while UH does.

Early in the 3rd quarter, with the game tied at 7, UH got a big defensive stop on 4th down. On the ensuing drive, the Coogs were moving the ball well when Tune left a clean pocket and began to run. Nearing the first down marker, he began his slide and linebacker Nick Anderson punched the ball out. Tulane picked it up and returned it for 58 yards for a touchdown.

After the game, Anderson told a Times-Picayune reporter that he noticed something about Tune on tape. “When you watch an athlete like Clayton Tune, he’s a scrambler, but a lot of times when he scrambles he dives instead of sliding forward. I knew he was going to try to get the ball out to get extra yards, and I just went in arms wide open and knocked out.” 

During the game, I didn’t think anything of it when it happened in the game. It was just another play. But when I read that quote, it really jumped out at me. Tulane really did their homework into what UH is doing. These little details that often go overlooked can make or break games. You can’t guarantee that you will get a shot to take advantage of it, but Tulane was prepared for the moment when the opportunity came up.

Later on in the Tulane press conference, Tulane Coach Willie Fritz was discussing the play call on 4th down that tied the game up. He said that he knew UH’s edge guys like to get up the field, so QB Kai Horton just needed to read the defensive end. He was right: Nelson Ceaser had a straight line to the QB went straight upfield, giving Horton an easy read. He flipped it to the tight end, and lined up as an H Back, for a walk-in touchdown.

You have to hand it to them: Tulane won with the details and because they were better prepared for the opponent. Tulane is 3-4 under Fritz against UH, with their wins coming by 3, 7, and 3 points. They limit their mistakes, focus on the small things, and have everyone ready to play at all times; even the third-string QB and a little-used TE on a game-deciding fourth down.

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