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TULSA FOOTBALL PLAYERS REPORT TO CAMP

Dane Evans returns to the quarterback position with starting experience.
Dane Evans returns to the quarterback position with starting experience.
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Aug. 1, 2014

Tulsa, Oklahoma - The University of Tulsa football team gathered for dinner at the Pat Case Dining Center on Friday for the first official function of the 2014 season. The Golden Hurricane will begin preseason camp practices on Saturday morning at Harwell field with a two-hour workout beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Tulsa will have 18 preseason practices leading up to the week before the season opener, scheduled for Thursday night, August 28th. Tulsa will host the Tulane Green Wave in the debut game for both schools in the American Athletic Conference.

Tulsa coaches welcomed 105 players to preseason camp today, as players reported by 5:00 p.m.

Head Coach Bill Blankenship is anxious to get practices underway Saturday morning. "I'm probably as excited about camp beginning as I have been in a long time. Our players have been grinding and they can't wait to actually practice football. I know that our staff and players will probably have a hard time sleeping tonight getting ready for practice in the morning," said Blankenship.

Tulsa coaches will install the offense and defense in the first six days, and hope to go at a fast pace in doing so.

"The first thing we hope for is that we have good carry-over from the spring, that we can operate a little faster," said Blankenship. "We're going to do a good job of installing our offense and defense from day one, but we're going to be drinking out of a firehouse for the freshmen, so that's the hard part. Our new guys will be getting a whole lot of information in the first six days, and then we'll take a deep breathe and go back to more finely tune things."

"What we're going to look for is to see which freshmen really pop out earlier, or which of our underclassmen that may not have been in our thoughts of being in the rotation early. Every year there will be some guys that will show back up and stand out, and I'm excited to see who those players may be," added Blankenship.

 

 

For the most part the Hurricane come into fall camp healthy, and Blankenship hopes that good health carries over throughout camp.

"In 30-plus years of coaching, for most of your good years you've kept your team relatively healthy, that's why most coaches understand that if you can get to the fight with your players you have a good opportunity," said Blankenship. "We've got to have a good balance in fall camp of understanding that we have to compete and work hard so that we're physically tough, but we also want to do it in such a way that we don't unnecessarily beat ourselves up and take guys out of the fight. That is always a fine line you have to walk, but I think we have enough experience on our staff that we understand that."

Tulsa will have back several veterans who missed spring drills, including three key players - receiver Keyarris Garrett, safety Demarco Nelson and linebacker Trent Martin - that didn't get to play any or much of the 2013 season because of injuries or other circumstances. "I think those guys are extra hungry. It's always fun to get going again, but especially if you have veteran players that are ready to get back into the fight.

"If you really put the leadership of this team in a lot areas on guys - those three names will come up over and over again," said Blankenship. "In every case, those guys experienced some form of personal tragedy either health-wise or other circumstances that kept them off the field. The neat thing is that because of going through that, they essentially received an extra season. None of those three had used their red-shirt year, so this gives them the opportunity to make it count."

"When you look them in the eye, you see some passion and drive and commitment to take advantage of the opportunity that they have in this season," said Blankenship.

Tulsa football season tickets and mini-pack plans, including the Oklahoma, Texas State and East Carolina games, are on sale. Go online at TulsaHurricane.com or contact the Tulsa athletic ticket office at 918.631.GoTU.

The first month of the season Tulsa will play three home games and one on the road. The home games feature Tulane in the league opener on Aug. 28th, Oklahoma on Sept. 6th and Texas State on Sept. 27th.