Tulsa Football Completes First Week of Workouts
Aug. 15, 2009
Tulsa, Oklahoma - On Saturday, the Tulsa football team will practice twice before the end of the day with practice sessions No. 11 and 12 of preseason camp. Head Coach Todd Graham has been pleased with the progress of his team through those first 10 workouts.
Deciding on a quarterback to "manage the game" as Graham says, continues to be one focus for the offensive coaching staff. Although the Hurricane lost its top rusher, receiver and passer from a year ago, talent is plentiful at the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball. An offensive line, that lost three players to graduation, is the most talented it's been under Graham. It's the cohesiveness which comes with experience that is lacking on the line, but Graham has been impressed with the progress they've made as a group.
Graham is excited about the defense and believes that this unit has the potential to be the best it's been since his involvement with the program.
The head coach took some time following Friday night's practice to talk more about the Golden Hurricane football team . . .
After 10 practices, how are things progressing?
Things have gone well. The guys are working really hard. I think we've had the most balanced team that we've had so far, because it goes back and forth. One day the defensive will do good, the next day the offense will do well. The biggest thing is just experience -- getting experience at the quarterback position and developing that position where we manage the game, and don't try to do too much. Not beating ourselves will key. Continuing to get better, taking care of the football and not giving up big plays on defense has been our focus. The guys have worked hard and camp has gone very well so far."
In general terms talk about the talent on this football team:
The big factor on our football team is that we're the most talented that we've ever been, and I think we're the most inexperienced we've ever been in key positions. I have a lot of faith in our coaching staff that we'll get these guys prepared. I think we'll be the best we've been on defense. Offensively, we have some big shoes to fill with the graduation of Brennan Marion, Tarrion Adams, David Johnson and those three offensive linemen up front. The big thing will be is to not beat ourselves because our system will work. We'll score points as long as we don't put the ball in jeopardy and make silly errors. The main thing is that we have to have a quarterback that operates the offense and one that does not try to do too much."
Talk about how the offensive line has progressed:
I probably have as much confidence in the offensive line than anything right now. Right now, we think we have the makings of the best group that we've ever had from a talent standpoint, but getting them to all play together as a unit will be big. But they've developed very, very well as a group so far.
The three spots upfront and the quarterback position will be key for us this year. The experience and making sure we don't beat ourselves will be the big thing.
Newcomers Trent Dupy and Eric Sproal are really competing at the center spot. Freshman Brian DeShane has been a bright spot and is competing at guard. Naturally, Puck (Curt Puckett) and Clint Anderson are really solid at guard. We feel good about the center position with Dupy and Sproal competing for the job there. David Lazenby has come in at the right tackle position, and has really impressed us. He and Brandon Thomas are battling it out with Jared Grigg there, and (Tyler) Holmes is anchoring the left side. We're a lot bigger than we've been in the past, and I think we're stronger. The way guys like Dupy and DeShane, two true freshmen, have come in and competed has been very impressive. They'll be very good football players for us.
How has the defensive line progressed?
The defensive line by far and away is the best it's ever been since I've been here. I was talking with Puck (offensive guard Curt Puckett) the other day, and that's what he said. He said `coach, this is the best defensive line we've ever had by far.'
The key to the defensive line is to stay healthy and continue to get better. They're very, very explosive and very disruptive for our offense. We've had a hard time on offense against them. It's been difficult to move the ball against our defense.
Talk about some of the younger guys that have been impressive on defense during camp:
Dexter McCoil at safety is a big-time bright spot. We thought that he'd come in and red-shirt, but he's come in and at 6'4" can run and strike people. He's been impressive. Cornerback Laquentin Black is a JC transfer who has really shined as well.
Upfront, Derrick Jackson has had a good camp. Cory Dorris is one of the most impressive young guys as a red-shirt freshman defensive lineman who's in our starting rotation. Gabe McGee is probably one of the most impressive guys we have in camp. With Gabe, Cory and Derrick we'll have three freshmen in the starting rotation. They're big, physical and athletic. Cody Wilson at linebacker has been impressive as well.
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