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The 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Championship Trophy.
The 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Championship Trophy.
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Dec. 29, 2011

Dallas, Texas - After a week of preparation in Fort Worth for the 9th Annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, both Tulsa and BYU moved to hotels in Dallas on Thursday as the game will be played at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Friday morning at 11:00 am. The game will be aired on ESPN TV and ESPN Radio.

The two head coaches and two players from each team met the media on Thursday morning at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. In addition to Coach Bill Blankenship, Tulsa was represented by seniors G.J. Kinne and Curnelius Arnick, both from the Dallas-metro area. Tulsa also displayed its' helmet design for this game with a camouflage design in the Tulsa helmet logo and in the stripe.

The teams then enjoyed the annual Team Luncheon before taking the jaunt to Dallas for final walk-thru preparations at Ford Stadium.

Blankenship talked about how both the BYU and Tulsa programs mirror each other in some ways.

"Our programs mirror each other in a lot of ways," said Blankenship. "Coach Mendenhall enumerated some of those: the losses to really good teams, nine wins and eight wins respectively. I don't think that's anything to have to apologize for. I feel like we've both been a part of consistent winning teams over the last five or six years that are in the top 15 or 20 in the country in terms of wins. That's something that we're excited about."

"We're specifically very pleased to be playing BYU. We think this is an opportunity for us to match up against a team with national notoriety, a team that's been a consistent winner. We expect a hard fought, disciplined and physical football game," said Blankenship.

Blankenship talked about the consistently of BYU's defense all year, as well as how the offense has shown tremendous play since mid-season.

"BYU has demonstrated to have great defense all year, been very consistent in playing good defense. I think with the emergence of their quarterback in the last two thirds of the season they really began to take on a little more identity offensively. But even with that, much like ourselves, are really a balanced offense," added Blankenship.



"They run the ball well, they spread the ball out to several receivers, certainly have some go to guys. I think it's a team concept and what we seek to do at Tulsa as well," Blankenship said.

Blankenship has also been extremely excited about the purpose of the bowl game honoring the veterans of the United States military.

"I love the matchup. I love the tie in. We've talked about this again with the Armed Forces. We have wonderful sponsors and all that, but to be a part of something in the bowl season that can put a little more perspective on the reality of life and what folks are doing to give us the freedoms here in this great nation that we have.

"I'm excited that we're going to actually celebrate some different heroes during the game. I hope that the guys wearing both sets of uniforms will do our part to honor that."