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March 3, 2013

TULSA, Okla. -

Just over two months removed from a victory in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team hits the field for spring drills on Tuesday, March 5.

Tulsa returns 11 starters in 2013, including eight on offense and three on defense, from a team that finished the 2012 campaign with an overall 11-3 record, No. 25 national ranking, Conference USA Champions and winners of the 54th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl with a 31-17 victory over Iowa State.

“We transitioned right out of recruiting into pre-spring practice, now spring drills are here. I think our players are ready to get back on the field and try to build on that Liberty Bowl win and the season we had last year,” said Head Coach Bill Blankenship. “We’ve talked to our players about it. Last year is not something you can live on, but it’s something we can build on and the next step to build is going to start on Tuesday.”


 

 

The Hurricane enters spring drills trying to fill holes left by graduation. On defense, Tulsa has to replace the entire starting front four, linebacker DeAundre Brown and three members of the secondary, including the school’s all-time interceptions leader Dexter McCoil.

“For us spring practice is more about the development of players than it is about perfecting of schemes. On the defensive side, we have eight starters to replace, so we’re going to put a lot of players in a position to see who the next guys are to work into the starting lineup,” said Blankenship. “On offense, we have to find out if we can develop some tight ends and we need to develop a third or fourth receiver to really be effective. So, we’ll look at those kind of things opposed to what we’d do if this was getting ready to be game week.”

Despite losing the eight starters, defensive depth was a key component in Tulsa’s success during the 2012 campaign with a number of players seeing valuable playing time. Two of Tulsa’s top four tacklers, linebacker Shawn Jackson and safety Marco Nelson will lead the Hurricane defense.

For the offense, the Hurricane returns its’ top two rushers, Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas, top passer Cody Green, and top three outside receivers, Keyarris Garrett, Jordan James and Thomas Roberson. Tulsa will once again look to replace three linemen, losing all-Conference USA tackles Jared Grigg and Brian DeShane and four-year starting center Trent Dupy.

Blankenship expects that by the later stages of spring drills the first two spots on the depth chart will be a lot clearer.

“I think you’ll see a lot of rotation early on at a number of positions, then as we get past spring break we’ll probably see things get into more of a No. 1 or 2 depth situation,” added Blankenship.

Tuesday’s workout is the first of seven practice sessions before spring break, as eight of the allowed 15 days of spring practice will take place following the week break. Tulsa’s final practice before spring break will be on Thursday, March 14. After spring break, Tulsa returns to the practice field on Tuesday, March 26. The Annual Spring Game will take place on Saturday April 6, at 1:00 p.m.

2013 TULSA SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE

MARCH

5th (Tuesday)

7th (Thursday)

8th (Friday)

9th (Saturday)

12th (Tuesday)

13th (Wednesday)

14th (Thursday)

SPRING BREAK

26th (Tuesday)

28th (Thursday)

29th (Friday)

30th (Saturday)

APRIL

2nd (Tuesday)

4th (Thursday)

5th (Friday)

6th (Saturday), SPRING GAME, 1 pm