Tulsa Opens Football Season Against UL-Monroe on Thursday
Aug. 27, 2007
Tulsa, Oklahoma - The Tulsa football team opens the 2007 campaign for the third straight season on a Thursday night. The Hurricane will travel to Monroe, Louisiana, to face the UL-Monroe Warhawks in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2. Kick-off time is 6:03 pm (CT).
"We're very, very excited. I know I'm ready to get out on the field and start coaching. From the end of Sunday's practice, it's all about being mentally prepared now. Physically we've prepared hard and are tired of beating on each other," said Graham.
"I look forward to taking the field at Malone Stadium on ESPN against a very good football team," added Graham. "It couldn't be a better start to the season -- being on national television to kick off my first game as head coach at Tulsa. It's exciting."
The Hurricane is coming off an 8-5 season a year ago, while ULM posted a 4-8 mark. But, the records get thrown out as the new season begins. ULM returns all 11 starters on an explosive offense that averaged over 34 points in its final four games and took Bowl participant Kentucky to two points in the third last game of the season.
"ULM is very, very athletic and very talented," said Graham. "They're very explosive on offense and very capable of the big play, and on defense they've been very opportunistic and have created turnovers."
"On offense, they have great skill players. The guy we have to stop first is Calvin Dawson. He's as good a running back that we're going to play against. Kinsmon Lancaster is a quarterback who can throw the ball deep very well and can run. We can't give up the one-play drive. They have a very fast and skilled receiving corps that can stretch the field vertically. We have to keep them in front of us," added Graham.
On defense, ULM returns six starters including a secondary that returns six lettermen that combined for 11 of the team's 19 interceptions a year ago.
"They're very well-coached defensively," said Graham. "They run a 4-3 defense and have been a very opportunistic defense. I think the strength of their defense is the secondary, and they'll attack up front with the defensive front seven.."
Graham likes the way his team has come together during preseason camp, "This team is so much further along than when I first came here with Steve (Kragthorpe) five years ago," said Graham. "I feel like we're continuing a program rather than restarting one. I think we're anxious to get started. I think we have a great mental state right now and are looking forward to the challenge we have ahead of us against a very good football team."
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