Ryan Travis has a handy trait when playing cornerback. it seems he knows exactly where the ball is going before it is released by the quarterback.
Michael DeMocker/The Times-PicayuneCornerback Ryan Travis had 67 tackles last season primarily as a nickel back, and his three forced fumbles tied for first on the Green Wave. He has been a standout in training camp with his coverage.
This takes place with his back to the offense as he is matching a receiver stride for stride. Travis’ long, slim arm reaches out just as his head is turning, nudging the ball out of the wideout’s reach.
“He’s one that is just a football player,” Tulane defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said. “you could play him anywhere, safety, corner. it doesn’t matter.”
Travis, a junior, has played every defensive position except on the line. He has played linebacker, nickel back and safety, and now he’s the only Green Wave cornerback to have earned a starting job as fall camp closes.
“It’s instincts, trying to track the ball, and then I’m in the film room,” Travis said. “the more you know before you get out here, the better you play.”
Travis had 67 tackles last season primarily as a nickel back. He forced three fumbles (tied for first on the team) and had eight tackles for losses (third). but he has found a home at cornerback.
Asked if Travis is the star of Tulane’s secondary, Coach Bob Toledo didn’t hesitate.
“yes, because he does everything right, and he’s a football player,” Toledo said. “They come in all shapes and sizes. He gets the job done.”
Travis is 6 feet, 172 pounds. but there is no one in fall camp who has thwarted more passes with interceptions, knock downs and clingy one-on-one coverage.
“Me and Griff (quarterback Ryan Griffin) always go at it,” Travis said. “He gets kind of upset when I pick him off.”
Toledo and the defensive coaches are assessing the others vying to start opposite him. Jordan Sullen has taken many first-team snaps at left corner with Alex Lauricella sidelined by a hamstring injury. Derrick Strozier also is in the mix.
Because the Green Wave plays a lot of nickel alignments, Strozier and Sullen have been paired on the field often in camp. Sullen, a 6-foot, 197-pound junior, is a converted receiver who has the physical tools to excel at corner, Tulane coaches say.
“this last week, he has really turned it on,” secondary coach Jason Rollins said. “When we went into the fall (camp), we installed a whole bunch more than we did in the spring. in the spring, we kept it pretty generic. He really did well. So we kind of overloaded him in the fall, and it took him a while to kind of break through it. I think he has been on the path we expected. He’s got unbelievable skills; he’s so fast, he’s quick, he’s big. Talent is not the issue. his mind just has to catch up with his body.”
Sullen said Saturday’s scrimmage helped him break through.
“something definitely clicked mentally,” Sullen said. “I thought about it, and what I really got was a taste of a real game and what I’m really going to have out there. That’s the pace that a game would be like. I was in a lot of pain afterward, but that’s how you feel after a game anyway.
“it was a good way to get ready for the fast-paced offenses of Conference USA like Houston, like Tulsa.”
TEMPER, TEMPER: Practice ended early Thursday morning for sophomore defensive tackle Shane Delery, who got tangled with an offensive lineman when a play carried on past the whistle and lost his temper. Delery was ejected and screamed at the offense as he left, peeling off his jersey and dropping his shoulder pads on the ground. He thought twice and retrieved the pads before going to the locker room.
“At this point in time, it’s hot, everyone is beat up, everyone is tired,” linebacker Trent Mackey said. “Someone might hear a whistle and others might not.”
POOL PARTY: Toledo surprised the team with a pool party at the Reily Center on Wednesday instead of afternoon practice. but the competition wasn’t left at the door.
“we had a diving contest,” Griffin said.
The winner? Eric Jones, a 6-6, 308-pound right tackle.
“Everyone wore their green athletic shorts, and Eric went home and got his American flag. He tore them off and kicked them and did a belly flop,” Griffin said.
But walk-on Anthony Bronzo pulled off the highest degree of difficulty.
“Bronzo … he was like a professional,” Griffin said. “He knew everything. He went up and bounced three times on (the diving board), did a triple thing and no splash.
“Bronzo clearly won, but Eric won the showmanship award.”