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March 29, 2014

Tulsa, Oklahoma - The Tulsa football team finished its sixth spring workout on Saturday morning with various scrimmage situations on the turf of H.A. Chapman Stadium.

The scrimmage time included a 33-play normal scrimmage and then various situations, including goal line, 4th down-and one and 1st and 10.

"We did a lot of short-yardage stuff. We tried to make sure we were getting goal-line and 4th down-and-one at the end of the scrimmage," said Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "We need to establish ourselves both offensively and defensively. It comes down to some point in football that you have to be physical ¬¬-- be able to stop teams and get them off the field and be able to get that yard offensively and keep the drive alive. We wanted to have some of the day devoted to that."

"I feel good about today. I thought today gave me enough glimmer on both sides of the ball that we can be an improved football team," added Blankenship.

Tulsa began the scrimmage with a number of plays 1st-and-10 from the 20-yard line, as James Flanders sprinted away for an 80-yard touchdown run and another 19-yard run that highlighted the Tulsa offense. At the end of the workout, Tulsa practiced 4th-and-one situations, as again Flanders broke lose for a 41-yard TD run, while the Hurricane defense stopped the offense five 4th down-and one situations.

"We had some open field scrimmaging where we'd drive the field. We saw some of good and bad in terms of offense winning and defense winning," said Blankenship. "Overall, it was good to get some evaluation, and now we can go in and really watch film and evaluate."

Blankenship pointed out on offense the play of sophomore running back James Flanders, sophomore quarterback Dane Evans, Tulsa's two true freshmen, quarterback Jabe Burgess and receiver Nigel Carter, who enrolled in classes in January, and the fullback position.



"James Flanders stood out on offense. I think Dane (Evans) is handling the offense really well. I like the way that Jabe (Burgess) is developing. He's still a little ways away, but he's coming along pretty good. Nigel Carter has shown some glimpses that make you want to say he's going to be pretty good. He's still not physically able to just dominate like I know he's going to in terms of a big body grabbing the ball. When he learns to finish plays he's got a chance to be really special, but I like what I've seen from him," said Blankenship.

"It goes very unseen, but offensively we're getting really good play from our fullback crew - Chris Hall, Colby Scott, Mandel Dixon - we might be as deep and good at fullback as we are any place on offense, and that's an encouraging thing," added Blankenship.

"I thought defensively we really came out and played well early physically," said Blankenship. "We started on the goal line at the very beginning of practice and the defense won all those plays from three yards out on just one play, and that's what you need from a defense. I know coach (Brent) Guy will want to have more consistency, because we still gave up some big plays on defense."

Sophomore junior college transfer running back Tavarreon Dickerson suffered a broken collarbone early in practice, "but T.D. had been really, really good for five practices," said Blankenship.

Blankenship talked more about Flanders and Burgess following the two-hour practice Saturday morning.

"James (Flanders) has got enough speed to finish, and he has that jump cut that Trey (Watts) was really good at doing. James has been very consistent through six practices, and I've been really encouraged with that," added Blankenship.

Burgess completed his first four passes for 47 yards, including a 37-yard strike down the sideline to Chris Showels. He finished 5-of-6 for 57 yards on the day.

"What Jabe brings to the table is really good," said Blankenship. "I like to use the analogy that we've learned a new language. He's not fluent. He knows it, but he's just not fluent. Until he gets fluent we'll have a hard time seeing what he really can do, but I can tell you that the offensive coaching staff and I are very excited about what Jabe's going to develop into."

Tulsa will be back on the practice field on Tuesday.