BLANKENSHIP DESCRIBES PRACTICE AS WEIRD DAY
Aug. 9, 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma - The Tulsa football team put in a 150 minute workout Thursday morning on Harwell Field. After a 49-play scrimmage on Wednesday, Tulsa went back to work to correct some mistakes and continue preparations for the season opener on September 1 at Iowa State.
Blankenship briefly touched on yesterday's scrimmage in his opening remarks while discussing today's practice session.
"What is always interesting is usually a few plays stick in your head and then you watch the film. The offense actually graded out a lot better than I thought they would other than those critical turnovers. Now, you don't get to play without turnovers. The thing that jumps out is that the defense is running to the football. That's what were seeing from them. The secondary is really chasing and getting to the ball well. Marco, Dexter and the corners are playing really well right now on defense," said Blankenship.
Blankenship said today's early morning practice session was geared to be a situational drill.
"One of the biggest drills we worked on today was when the offense has the ball on their own one-yard line, and what you want is for the defense to get blood in their eyes and get the offense off the field, whereas the offensive unit has to find a way to get a first down. We stayed with that drill about 20 minutes or so and the day was kind of split on that situational drill," Blankenship said. "I thought the day went to the defense more during the other parts of practice, but when we were down on the goal line where the defense should have dominated, I thought the offense rose up to the task.
"I told the guys that it was kind of a weird day. The teams actually played better with their back against the wall than they did when they should have had an advantage," added Blankenship.
With eight practices in the books, Blankenship talked about how he feels the team is further along this preseason camp, but commented that the players need to fight through mental fatigue that normally hits around this time of camp.
"I think we're a lot further along with all of our schemes and what we have in on offense and defense. But, I'm not so sure that we haven't hit a little bit of a wall that we have to fight through because we had more mental mistakes today on both sides of the ball. Mental fatigue gets in to you about this time of fall camp and we have to do a good job of fighting through it," said Blankenship.
"The defense is going to keep fighting for turnovers, and the offense has got to protect the football. What I look for on both sides is I don't want the mental mistakes. If we're getting after each other and the defense is doing the things their supposed to do -- if their gap sound and playing the coverage like their supposed to and the guy makes a great play, so be it. Offensively, if we're doing things right and the defense makes a great play so be it. I want to see that we're not making mental mistakes," added Blankenship.
Blankenship also talked about two positions battling to see who will be pegged for the starting spot -- tight end and deep snapper.
"The tight ends are actually progressing really well," said Blankenship. "Charlie Copa has had a good camp and I really think Tyler Wilson has a good upside to him. We also have some good walk-ons in the mix that are actually better than we projected, so we're hoping that we'll be able to get lots of opportunities for those tight ends.
Not only will the Hurricane have a new kicker and holder this year, but a new deep snapper will have to emerge. "They've been fighting out. Reymundo (Higuera) and Blake (Abbott) have been the top two right now. Probably Rey has been the most consistent so far, but it's been neck and neck between those two," said Blankenship.
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