"Moore is the finest back I have ever coached," says Dickey. "He can do more with the ball in his hands than any college back I have ever seen."
Florida foes will also see plenty of Quarterback David Bowden if he can stay healthy. Bowden suffered a sprained ankle, a bruised shoulder, a pulled hamstring and still led the SEC in passing as a sophomore. This year he can cuddle up behind 6'2", 240-pound senior Guard Kris Anderson in addition to some hardened juniors. All-conference as a sophomore two years ago, Anderson was sidelined by knee surgery for most of last year. Nicknamed "Quake," he once fell three stories at the site of a construction job only to rest for a few minutes and return to work. Way to go, Quake.
Sammy Green, 6'1", 230 pounds, handles all the odd jobs for a defense that returns eight starters. Last season Green played on the special teams and saw action at linebacker, tackle and middle guard. Wayne Fields, a freshman, led the team in interceptions. This year freshmen may be called on to provide some depth at running back. Robert Morgan, Henry Davis and Larry Brinson are prime candidates. But good as they may be, chances are that it will be the Moore the merrier.
Two very important factors should be taken into account when Tulane's 1973 prospects are evaluated: the Green Wave players are better, the Green Wave opponents are not. Accordingly, the team seems capable of grabbing the big chunk of success it so narrowly missed last year.
And 1972 will not soon be forgotten, what with the 24-21 loss to Miami when the winning touchdown came on a fifth-down play in the fourth quarter. Fifth downs are not only controversial, they're illegal. And how about the 9-3 loss to LSU? Twenty-four years of frustration seemed almost over until a Tulane pass receiver was hauled down inches from the Tiger goal line. The last seconds did not allow enough time for a good cry, much less a quarterback sneak.
Despite such adversity, Tulane finished 6-5, considerably better than the previous season's 3-8. That was Coach Bennie Ellender's first at his alma mater, and it was a humbling initiation to big-time football following his college-division national championship at Arkansas State. Two outstanding recruiting seasons have now passed and the Green Wave is anticipating its biggest splash in years.
Seven starters return to the offensive team plus the leading ground-gainer of 1971, Ricky Hebert, who was injured last year. Quarterback Steve Foley, a razzle-dazzle sprint-out scrambler, set a total-offense high for a Tulane sophomore with 1,319 yards and was chiefly responsible for a school-record 108 pass completions. The interior linemen average 241 pounds a man, and only one is under 6'3".
Even though the defense has fewer veterans, it may possess its greatest potential in years. Ellender calls 6'6", 260-pound Tackle Charles Hall "one of the best college players I've ever seen." Mike Truax, whose cousin Billy plays for the Dallas Cowboys, is a well regarded defensive end. He and Hall were credited with more than 100 tackles each last year. The linebackers will be young, but the secondary provides better-than-average support in Cornerback John Washington and Safety David Lee.
All of this talent will be showcased seven times in the Sugar Bowl, leaving an unimposing road schedule, which is all the better without last year's nemesis, Michigan. Three tough teams remain—North Carolina, Georgia Tech and LSU—but they must avoid the distractions of Bourbon Street. Four other opponents will be adjusting to new coaches. "There isn't a team on our schedule we can't contend with," says Hall.