DEFENSE DOMINANT IN TULSA SCRIMMAGE
Aug. 8, 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma - The Tulsa football team completed its eighth day of preseason practice with a 49-play scrimmage at H.A. Chapman Stadium Wednesday morning. Tulsa spent the first hour of practice on Harwell Field and moved over to Chapman Stadium for the final 60 minutes.
Temperatures began at 83-degrees and 59-percent humidity at 7:30 am on the grass of Harwell Field, and ended at 96-degrees and 40-percent humidity when practice concluded at 9:40 am on the artificial turf of Chapman Stadium.
The Tulsa defense forced three turnovers and held the offense to one touchdown and three field goals on 10 possessions.
"That's the way it's been in practice so far -- one side gets the upper hand one day, and the other side of the ball the next," said Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "What we're striving for is for both sides of the ball to come out fast and continue to make each other better. The defense came out with a vengeance today. The defense got a stop and interception on the first series, and got another interception later on. DeWitt Jennings had two interceptions on the day. The defense really came out and was hungry."
"I thought our kicker Daniel Schwarz did a great job today. We worked a lot of field goals and light blocking situation and he did really well," added Blankenship.
After stopping the offense on the first snap of the game for a one-yard loss, junior linebacker DeWitt Jennings intercepted a Cory Green pass and went 31 yards for a defensive touchdown.
The offense settled for one touchdown and three field goals by Daniel Schwarz. The true freshman connected on a 3-of-4 for the day, coming from distances of 34, 42 and 42 yards. His lone miss was a 44-yarder that barely missed, wide left.
The offensive touchdown came when red-shirt freshman quarterback Joseph Calcagni connected with true freshman Adam Boyd on a 25-yard touchdown, as Boyd took a six-yard toss and ran the remaining 19 yards.
The defense closed out the final two possessions of the scrimmage with another Jennings interception at the goal line and a near defensive touchdown when Blake Abbott picked up a fumble and raced 61 yards to the one-yard line before being brought down by quarterback Dane Evans.
Blankenship continues to be impressed with Jennings' play through the first eight days of camp.
"Dewitt is a young man that played some as a freshman, but didn't play a lot last year as he was behind Alan Dock and DeAundre Brown. DeWitt has really grown into the role. He's a very smart young man and is very athletic. He's starting to really understand exactly what we expect out of the `Cane position, which is a hybrid safety and linebacker. He played very, very well today."
Blankenship obviously liked the aggression and forced turnovers by the defense, but needs for the offense to do a better job of protecting the ball.
"It's always a challenge for the head coach. We work like crazy on defense to create turnovers, and on offense you try to prevent them and protect the football. From a standpoint on getting pure interceptions, it was a good day for our defense. They tricked the offense into one, and they made a good ball play on the second one. That is the kind of stuff that we have to avoid on offense, from a head coach point of view it's a good thing for the defense. We have to constantly take care of the football."
Blankenship also pointed out a play late in the game when true freshman Jeremy Brady made a big hit on true freshman walk-on Brock Dowling causing a fumble.
"The thing that was exciting for the young players was Jeremy Brady made a big hit and knocked the ball loose and we almost get a scoop and score, which is something that we work on all the time. (Blake) Abbott did a great job of scooping it up and Dane Evans was the guy that actually dragged him down at the end. So as I was talking to the team, those were three game altering plays, the big hit, the scoop and almost score and the guy saving the score," said Blankenship.
Tulsa will be back on Harwell Field Thursday morning for Practice No. 9.
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