Tulsa 'O' Presents Stiff Challenge

Throughout the last few years, Tulsa has consistently had one of the most prolific offenses in the nation.

In fact, the Golden Hurricane led the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS—Div. I-A) last year with 7,978 total yards, averaging 569.9 yards per game.

They averaged 47.2 points per game, second only to the video game Sooner offense a year ago.

Currently through two games in 2009, Tulsa is ranked 24th in the nation with 901 net total yards and 21st in scoring at 40.5 points per game.

So, despite replacing their quarterback David Johnson, the Golden Hurricane have still been able to manage their offense at least throughout the first two games, just like the previous few years.

So, what's the secret behind their consistently good offense?

"They have a lot to their offense," said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "I think there's a reason why they've, you know, been rated one of the top offenses in the country the last few years. They're difficult to stop, and they've got good personnel running it, too."

The complexity of any offense makes it more difficult for a defense to stop.

They've certainly got a plethora of plays in their arsenal, so that's a reason they've been so difficult to handle.

"They've got a great plan, and they've got a great scheme, and they know exactly what they're doing with it," said defensive backs coach Bobby Jack Wright. "Yeah, they'll run reverses. They'll run reverse passes. They run flea flickers. They run double passes. They run hitch screens. They run screen and goes."

And the list of plays they're willing to bust out goes on and on, as well as the looks they provide in running those plays.

"They give you all sorts of formation adjustments, all sorts of motions and shifts just to try to get you out of whack, get your guys back there a little bit playing on their heels, thinking a little bit, making sure they're in the right calls, in the right fits," Wright said. "And then all of the sudden they snap the ball on you while you're still back there thinking and trying to figure it out, so it tempers you, and it slows you down a little bit."

On top of knowing what they can run out of their multi-faceted arsenal of plays, the Sooners must then apply it once they get out on the field to figure out what Tulsa actually is going to run in its various formations.

"The whole key is you've got to become very, very astute in recognizing their formations, knowing before it happens what they like to do as far as the shifts or the motions that come out of those particular formations and then how they try to attack you with whatever run game it might be or whatever pass pattern it might be," Wright said.

If the Sooners can handle recognizing the plays and perhaps limit the big plays, then maybe the Golden Hurricane offense won't be able to use all the balance it normally has.

"I think last year they had even more balance," Venables said. "But they've always thrown it real well, and they've always run it well enough, and I think that last year they were even more effective at running it."

OU will have to make Tulsa somewhat one-dimensional in order to slow up what figures to be another balanced offensive attack entering Norman.

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