CoogFans' Opponent Preview - Tulsa

Year one of the Todd Graham era went well. Coach Graham is a defensive specialist, but it was the Golden Hurricane offense that made the headlines.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Conference USA

2007 Record: (10-4, 6-2)
2007 Bowl: GMAC Bowl vs. Bowling Green (W 63-7)
Coach: Todd Graham (10-4 at Tulsa, 17-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Herb Hand and Gus Malzahn
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Randolph

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tarrion Adams, RB, 1,225 yards
Passing: David Johnson, QB, 56 yards
Receiving: Brennan Marion, WR, 1,244 yards
Tackles: Charles Davis, S, 69
Sacks: Moton Hopkins, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: Roy Roberts, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: FB Charles Clay, LB George Clinkscale, WR Trae Johnson, G Justin Morsey, G Curt Puckett, CB Kenny D. Sims, OT Rodrick Thomas, WR Dion Toliver, C Jody Whaley, RB Jamad Williams

Key Losses: OT Walter Boyd, LB Chris Chamberlain, LB Nelson Coleman, S Steve Craver, S Anthony Germany, DT Brandon Jones, LB Alain Karatepeyan, QB Paul Smith

Year one of the Todd Graham era went well. Coach Graham is a defensive specialist, but it was the Golden Hurricane offense that made the headlines. The team was the best in the nation averaging nearly 544 yards per game and topped the conference with over 41 points per contest.

Strengths:
It will be the offense once again that leads the way, and it all starts up front where most of the line remains intact, led by senior guard Justin Morsey. With center Jody Whaley, tackle Rodrick Thomas and guard Curt Puckett also back, the line will continue to quietly keep the offense moving. They will also make holes for running backs Tarrion Adams and Jamad Williams. The ground game often got overlooked from a national perspective since the passing game was so dominant, but Adams put together a great campaign. He rushed for 1,225 yards and eight touchdowns and Williams was a more than capable backup. The best news of all on the offensive side of the ball is the return of three 1,000 yard receivers. Brennan Marion is the big play receiver and averaged an amazing 31.9 yards per catch. Fellow receiver Trae Johnson caught 13 touchdown passes and H-back Charles Clay garnered 1,024 receiving yards and 304 yards on the ground.

Weaknesses:
But who is going to get them the ball? Quarterback Paul Smith is gone after throwing for 5,065 yards and tallying a total of 60 touchdowns. The likely signal caller will be David Johnson. He has a year of experience in the system and has not done anything to make the staff believe that he is not the right man for the job. However, sophomores Jacob Bower and Clark Harrell have been impressive during the off-season as well. No matter who plays, they will put up some huge numbers right away and the difference between a season with just another bowl game and a season that is very special will be the play of the defense. Last year's top three tacklers, linebackers Chris Chamberlain, Nelson Coleman and Alain Karatepeyan, all have to be replaced and the secondary needs players like Charles Davis and Kenny D. Sims to step up now that they are upperclassmen.

The Bottom Line:
The three man front line did a decent job of getting pressure on the quarterback, but the secondary still gave up nearly 267 yards per game through the air. George Clinkscale and Moton Hopkins will pressure the quarterback again, but the secondary needs to improve if Tulsa hopes to compete for a conference championship.

2007 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 172.93 (41st in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 371.00 (3, 1)
Total Offense: 543.93 (1, 1)
Scoring Offense: 41.14 (6, 1)
Rushing Defense: 185.21 (90, 6)
Pass Defense: 266.64 (108, 7)
Total Defense: 451.86 (108, 8)
Scoring Defense: 33.36 (100, 7)
Turnover Margin: -.43 (92, 9)
Sacks: 2.14 (59, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.21 (73, 8)


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