Billy Embody: It seems like Dane Evans has been at Tulsa forever. How's his senior year going and the progress from Year 1 to Year 2 under Montgomery?
Kelly Hines: "His senior year hasn't produced the same kind of stats as last year because the first two opponents had good pass defenses and then he had a six-turnover brutal day at Ohio State, but Evans really showed his value at Fresno State while keying the comeback and scoring the winning touchdown in the second overtime. Probably as much as anything he's progressed as a team leader and taken ownership of the offense."
BE: Montgomery has proved to be able to put a solid offense together at Tulsa and now D'Angelo Brewer seems to be emerging in the running game. How potent is this offense at this point in the year?
KH: "I still think it's has work left to do to get to where it needs to be. The receivers haven't been as reliable on their routes and there have been frequent drops. The offensive line has given up too many sacks and has been flagged too many times. Brewer's emergence has really helped the offense overcome those issues. He put on close to 20 pounds in the offseason to become more durable, and it paid off against Fresno State in a game in which he had 46 carries for 252 yards."
BE: What did the comeback win over Fresno State say about this team and what'd they change to make that happen?
KH: "It's hard to count out a team that can score a flurry of touchdowns in a few minutes' time. That's how Tulsa got back in the game after trailing 31-0, getting within 10 points at halftime by producing three TDs in the span of five minutes. Fresno State sort of fell apart amid the momentum shift and Tulsa was able to get the stops it needed including holding the Bulldogs scoreless in both overtimes."
BE: What's the defense look like this year? Tulsa obviously might be a little skewed having played Ohio State, but what's the makeup of that defense and how are they playing so far this season?
KH: "Before the Fresno State game, the defense had been playing extremely well considering how far it had come since the last two seasons. Ohio State rolled in the second half, but Tulsa didn't give up any offensive touchdowns in the first half of that game. I think every defensive position has improved and should continue to improve as the year goes on, plus the addition of junior-college cornerback Keanu Hill has added consistency there."
BE: Last year, SMU and Tulsa combined for a bit of a shooutout in Tulsa's win. What do you expect this year? Got a prediction yet?
KH: "I think it will be less of a shootout because both defenses appear to be significantly better and because SMU's offense just isn't the same without Matt Davis. Tulsa also has the advantage of coming off an open date and should be well-prepared, so I predict the home team will win by 17 points. But as I've seen before, some crazy stuff can happen in Friday night games."