TULSA TURNS IN FINAL SCRIMMAGE OF PRESEASON CAMP
Aug. 18, 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma - The Tulsa football team was introduced to the general public yesterday at the Annual Tulsa Metro Chamber Football Kickoff Luncheon at the Tulsa Convention Center Ballroom. Today the Golden Hurricane concluded preseason practice on Saturday morning with a 60-minute scrimmage on the H.A. Chapman Stadium turf. Following practice, the team enjoyed watermelon provided by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and then boarded buses to spend the rest of the day and evening at Dry Gulch USA.
Whereas previous scrimmages were dominated by one side of the ball each time, this final scrimmage had a more even outcome.
"This was really the first time we went No. 1s vs. No. 2s and the two units that should have won I think did so convincingly," said Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "As I was sharing with our players afterwards, is that you almost get lulled into a false security sometimes. You think you're dominating at the No. 2 level, but it's important for us to find out can you play against the best receivers, can you play against the best corners, those kind of things. This was a good challenge. So far, without looking at the film, I feel like we've probably evaluated correctly with the guys we have playing."
"This was a scrimmage to have coaches in the press box, getting the right people on the field, dealing with some injuries. We had the play clock on the whole time, but we even went some fast tempo stuff to make sure our defense was ready to do it and remind ourselves that we can do it," added Blankenship.
Junior quarterback Cody Green completed his first six passes, while taking the offense 75 yards for a touchdown in nine plays as junior Ja'Terian Douglas rushed the final 17 yards for the score. Green guided three series during the scrimmage and led Tulsa to two scores. On his third possession of the game, Green drove the offense 65 yards in four plays and connected with sophomore Keyarris Garrett on a 27-yard TD.
Other scoring plays came on a true freshman to true freshman hook-up with a 21-yard Dane Evans to Josh Atkinson pass play and touchdown runs by Douglas of four yards and two yards by gray-shirt freshman Michael Sorrells.
Garrett was one of the stars of the offense as he caught four passes for 80 yards, while Douglas gained 75 yards rushing and two TDs on eight carries. Sorrells had 10 carries for 39 yards and one touchdown. Garrett finished the day by completing 9-of-11 passes for 109 yards and one TD.
"Over the last week, I think we've done a better job of getting the ball to Keyarris and he's done a better job of dominating and going up and getting it," Blankenship said. "I think you saw today some plays from him that we've been seeing for awhile. It's good to see it this fall, because last spring it was a fairly consistent day for him.
"Keyarris has the gift of being long-armed and tall. He's actually a very good athlete. He'll surprise people with the speed that he runs past you with too. It was good to see his performance today," Blankenship said. Blankenship also praised sophomore red-shirt receiver Thomas Roberson as "having a great day as well. We're starting to see him come back in playing shape and be effective," said Blankenship.
Roberson, who is coming back from a foot injury that sidelined him last year, finished the day with three receptions for 33 yards. Defensively, junior safety Marco Nelson intercepted a Joseph Calcagni pass and went 30 yards for a touchdown.
Blankenship also talked about the progress the offensive line has made in the past two weeks.
"I think the offensive line is ahead of where I expected us to be. We haven't had as many struggles on the offensive line as I was prepared to deal with early because of the inexperience at a couple of positions. They've really jelled and if anything have made it more competitive. I think we have six guys to figure out who the five starters are. Stetson Burnett and Gabe Moyer have had an incredible battle and they've been able to move around and play different positions," said Blankenship.
Asked about how many players he can depend on now compared to the beginning or preseason camp, Blankenship talked about the developing depth at a number of positions.
"We've grown depth at receiver, at the offensive line, running back. I feel good about the depth at quarterback. Defensively, the front line has a lot of depth. At linebacker we haven't found enough depth yet. We're still a little shallow there. The first 4-5 guys are pretty good, but we really need 6-7," said Blankenship.
VISIT TO DRY GULCH USA
After the conclusion of Saturday's morning scrimmage, the Tulsa football team boarded buses and made their way to Dry Gulch USA, near Adair, for a day and night of team bonding.
"We're going up to Dry Gulch USA, near Adair. It's a great outing for our guys. It's kind of a camp out to the 10th degree with dorms and all that. They have go-carts, water slides and game rooms. We're going to go up play and have some fun today, and tonight eat some steaks. We're finishing fall camp so it's a way we break camp. We're going to spend an evening together. We'll do some goal-setting and challenging. We're going to have some fun. Unofficially, there might be some coaches getting made fun of. Players are usually pretty good at being able to mock you. We give them one opportunity. I tell them I have the next four months so you better be careful.," said Blankenship.
"Last year, Michael Mudoh stole the show with impressions of our strength coach and coordinators. He had them all. It was standing ovation type stuff," added Blankenship.
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