AAC Team Preview: Tulsa
It’s been a long two years for Tulsa that now welcomes a new coaching staff to the school. Former Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship was fired just a couple of days after Tulsa finished up a 2-10 campaign. However, things are looking up for Tulsa with former Baylor offensive Coordinator Philip Montgomery now at the helm. So with a new staff, let’s take a look at what to expect from the Golden Hurricane as they began their rebuild.
On offense, Tulsa will welcome back their starting quarterback Dane Evans for another year. Evans was up and down last season as he finished with 23 touchdowns to go along with 17 interceptions. The latter is the biggest focus for Evans heading forward as he showed some promise other than being plagued by the turnovers. Also returning will be their starting running back Zack Langer who ran for just over 800 yards last season. Another threat for Tulsa is junior running back James Flanders who came on late in the year. Two aspects that will play favorably for the Hurricanes is how young they were on offense last year with no notable subtractions heading into the year except their kicker, Carl Salazar, who finished his career with 27 field goals which was 9th all time at Tulsa. One player to look out for on offense is sophomore receiver Bishop Louie who finished with close to 300 yards receiving his freshman year.
On defense, things will be a different story as the Hurricanes lost quite a few players from a defense that was already struggling last year. Last season, Tulsa gave up close to 40 points per game, which was the main reason for their struggles. As they head into the new year, they will have to do so without some of their better options including linebacker Jake Sizelove (above) who had 14.5 tackles his last game at Tulsa. Another name they will surely miss is defensive back Dwight Dobbins who lead the secondary. A lot of the pressure however will fall on the shoulders of Derrick Alexander who had 7.5 sacks last season as a junior.
The bottom line for this team is they are going to be better, especially taking care of the ball on offense with offensive guru Phillip Montgomery at the helm. However, this team has still not figured it out defensively and figures to be worse next year as they’ll be very young on that side of the ball. Limiting the turnovers will lead to a slight improvement record wise for Tulsa, but they are likely still a year away from being a bowl team again. This is certainly a game SMU can look at on the schedule and feel like they should come away with a win next season.
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