October 18, 2007
When Bob Toledo took over as Head Coach of Tulane last year he said all the right things to get folks excited about Tulane Football. The in the spring Toledo said his club would run the ball more and that running back Matt Forte would basically be the man.
Let's just say that sometimes coaches say things and do other but Toledo has been true to his word as Forte' is getting his groove on right now for the Wave.
"The kid is a great player. I told you that in the beginning. He's a great football player," Toledo said.
Forte is a senior running back from nearby Slidell that is really having a story book season.
"Matt is a first day draft pick. He made a name for himself and got the attention of NFL Scouts and now he is taking it to another level," said NFL Analyst Mike Detiller.
Going into this season Forte had rushed for 2,138-yards and 16 touchdowns and was the Wave's 7th all-time leading rusher. And now through the first six games of the 2007 season Forte' has broken and will break just about all of Tulane's rushing records.
"Unfortunately, he's not playing on a good football team right now. If he was, he'd be a Heisman Trophy candidate. He really would," Toledo said of his star back.
Forte's numbers are as good as any back in the nation across the board and he is starting to get a lot of national attention as well.
"Like I've said, I've been a lot of places and I've coached a lot of great players - Heisman Trophy winners and No. 1 draft choices - and he's as good as all of them. He's a big, strong, fast, tough, athletic guy. He takes a beating and keeps coming back," Toledo said.
Forte has rushed for 919-yards on 151 carries this season for an average of 6.1-yards per rush. No other running back in college football with at least 150 carries or more has a higher average yard per rush than Tulane's #25.
Forte enters this week game against SMU as the nations second leading rusher trailing on Michigan's Mike Hart by 159-yards.
"He'll be a very high draft choice and he is carrying our football l team right now. He makes the people around him better. He's second in the nation right now and my hat is off to him because he's doing a hell of a job," said Toledo.
The calm, mild mannered Forte is on pace to shatter most of Tulane's rushing records has moved into the Wave's second all-time leading rusher behind former Wave standout Mewelde Moore.
"It is nice to be running the ball well but I'd rather be winning games," Forte said.
Forte and his Wave Teammates will look to pick up their second win of the season and first against a Division I-A foe this week when Tulane plays at SMU this Saturday afternoon in Dallas.
Like his coach, Forte' knows that the Wave are hurting themselves right now.
"It's very disheartening. That's two games in a row that we thought we feel we should have won."
Forte knows that Tulane is not talented enough or good enough to help other teams.
"You can't go out there and play against another team and beat yourself. It's hard enough to have to beat them. You can't beat them and yourself at the same time. We've been making it hard on ourselves. We have to stop the mistakes and penalties, and come out and execute the game plan."
Forte's is averaging 153.2-yards rushing per game for Tulane and Slidell native thinks his club could still turn things around.
"It's going to be difficult, but you can't think negatively. You have to think positively. We just have to correct our mistakes."
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