Prior to Tulane’s game against East Carolina last weekend, coach Curtis Johnson told his team if it won the game, it could have the whole week off during their bye week.
The Green Wave won 36-33 in triple overtime and is 5-2 on the season.
“I told them that if you won the game, they would get the week off, and all of a sudden, we won,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to stick to my word. I'm a man of my word. So they get a week off. I told them that anything goes, if they miss one class or are late, I'm just going to call them all in and roll them."
According to Tulane spokesman Roger Dunaway, no organized team practices have been scheduled and none are planned. Players are working out on their own, but Johnson told his players he wanted them to concentrate on their academics with no game this weekend.
This is a heck of a treat for any team, but especially one that hasn’t won five games since 2004 and hasn’t become bowl eligible since 2002. However, Johnson is hoping this gamble pays off when his team returns to prepare for Tulsa next week.
The Green Wave are really into doing things the conventional way these days anyway. In last week’s overtime win, East Carolina missed a field goal on its first overtime possession and Tulane lined up on first down and had reigning Lou Groza winner Cairo Santos kick – and nail – a 42-yard field goal.
Tulane’s turnaround has been a long time coming. The program hasn’t been the same since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 forced the program to relocate for the year and put the athletic department in a financial strain.
However, Johnson seems to have the program on the right track. And while giving a team an entire week off in the middle of the season might seem unconventional, that seems to work just fine for the Green Wave.