BLANKENSHIP TALKS ABOUT TULSA QUARTERBACKS
July 25, 2012
IRVING, Texas -
Entering spring practice, the question of who would replace quarterback G.J. Kinne was at the forefront of every TU fans' mind. At the conclusion, Nebraska transfer Cody Green came out as the starting quarterback heading into fall camp. However, Head Coach Bill Blankenship would be comfortable with any of the four players starting in the season opener at Iowa State.
It was no coincidence that the hot topic for the Tulsa coach at today's Conference USA Football Media Day was the quarterback situation.
"I could easily say that quarterback is an area that has very little experience coming into the season, but I'm not laying awake at night worrying about our quarterback position. I feel real good about our quarterbacks. Cody (Green) and Kalen (Henderson) had great springs. If either Dane (Evans) or Joe (Joe Calcagni) were the only quarterback we had on campus I'd be exciting about going into Iowa State with them," said Blankenship.
"I like that we've surrounded our quarterback with a lot of talented skill guys. These guys can help the quarterback grow. We need our quarterback to manage the game and get the ball to the playmakers. If they do a good job at that we have a chance," added Blankenship.
Blankenship talked about each of the four quarterbacks on the Hurricane roster. "Cody brings a lot of confidence, yet calmness to the team. He's been in a bunch of games. He's played at the Big XII level in some big stadiums. I don't think there will be anything too big for him in terms of the emotional side," said Blankenship. "I love the fact that Cody has such good size and strength, and I think people will be really surprised about his speed. He has a real unique ability and skill set that will serve him very well in our offense."
Sophomore Kalen Henderson is right on Green's coat tails.
"We wouldn't miss a beat if Kalen is in there quarterbacking. He's a veteran returner behind Cody," said Blankenship. "Kalen just transformed himself. He's a completely different character now than what he was early in the 2011 season. He's stronger, faster and more confident. He has a great understanding of what we're doing and really gives us a dual threat."
The Hurricane will have two freshmen quarterbacks, red-shirt Calcagni and true frosh Dane Evans, behind Green and Henderson.
"Joe Calcagni is a young guy who is developing fast," Blankenship said. "He continues to be one of the hardest working players in the program. Joe can throw it well and can run it okay, but his knowledge of what's happening and being able to transfer that on the field is really good. I really like his footwork and ball speed on his throwing."
"Dane Evans is as gifted a young quarterback as I've seen in a long time. He's a little more like Paul Smith. You don't see him as a runner first, but he has the ability to move around and scramble for first downs. His true gift is what he see's in the field and being able to get the ball to them."
"I think all four of these guys really bring enough gifts and skills to the table that we could be successful if we needed any of them to play," added Blankenship.
Tulsa newcomers officially report to preseason camp on Tuesday, July 31. Returning players report on Wednesday, August 1, and the first practice is scheduled for Thursday, August 2.
Tulsa opens the 2012 season at Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 11:00 am. The home opener is a week later against the Tulane Green Wave on Saturday, Sept. 8, with an 11 am kickoff.
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