Military Bowl Preview: Hughes drives the run game for the Green Wave Offense

Shutting down star tailback Makhi Hughes will cause the Green Wave to sputter

[Tulane Athletics]

The Tulane Green Wave, after years of mediocrity, blossomed into a dominant G5 program under the guidance of head coach Willie Fritz. Over the last two seasons, the Green Wave have gone 23-4, with a Cotton Bowl victory over the USC Trojans and a competitive loss to Ole Miss.

They are also in a state of flux. Fritz departed to take the Houston Cougars head job. Offensive coordinator Slade Nagle will serve as the interim coach for the Military Bowl, but without all-time passing leader Michael Pratt behind center.

Tulane also will not have offensive guard Prince Pines, wide receiver Jha'Quan Jackson, first-team All-American Athletic Conference rush end Darius Hodges and first-team All-AAC cornerback Jarius Monroe, who are skipping the game to begin preparing for the NFL draft. Also gone are leading wide receiver Chris Brazzell, starting safety DJ Douglas, backup defensive back Kentrell Webb and special-teams ace Kiland Harrison after they entered the transfer portal.

Kai Horton, who started for Pratt against Southern Miss and Ole Miss, shared reps in Monday's workout with fourth-year Country Day product Justin Ibieta. It was the first of five practices in New Orleans before the team flies to Maryland on Saturday.

Hughes and Similarities to Louisville

Watching Tulane, I immediately had flashbacks to Louisville's offense. The Green Wave are a one-back scheme with the quarterback playing both under center and in the gun and pistol. Though the key cog is tailback Makhi Hughes. The 5-11, 205 redshirt freshman churned out 1,290 yards this season, and going into the AAC championship against SMU, 815 of those yards came after contact according to the ESPN broadcast. Hughes (No. 21) has a low center of gravity and keeps his feet churning through contact, allowing him to run through defenders who give up their base to attempt a tackle.

Tulane incorporates a wide variety of zone run concepts with the hope for their offensive line to maintain their blocks (they rarely get a good push) and then allow Hughes to find a seam.

To continue reading Get Fully Dipped and Join The Key Players Club »

  • Exclusive Content
  • Interact in community forums
  • Post and view comments
  • Advanced site features
  • No pesky display ads, only offers from TKP sponsors
  • Members Only Forum
  • 15% Homefield Discount