#97 Tulsa 2018 Football Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Overall Rank: #97
#9 American
 Tulsa Logo
Tulsa had a forgettable 2017 campaign, winning just two games. The Golden Hurricane had a very young squad last year, but it remains to be seen if those young players are ready to grow up and emerge as productive team members who can prove that last season was a just a small bump in the road.
2017 Record: 2-10, 1-7
2017 Bowl: None
Coach: Phillip Montgomery (18-20 at Tulsa, 18-20 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Phillip Montgomery
Defensive Coordinator: Bill Young
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shamari Brooks, RB, 687 yards
Passing: Luke Skipper, QB, 1,141 yards
Receiving: Justin Hobbs, WR, 830 yards
Tackles: McKinley Whitfield, S, 113
Sacks: Garrett Flanary, DT, 1.0
Interceptions: 5 tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: QB Chad President, WR Keenen Johnson, OL Tyler Bowling, OL Chandler Miller, LB Diamon Cannon, CB Reggie Robinson
Key Losses: RB D’Angelo Brewer, DE Jeremy Smith, LB Petera Wilson, LB Craig Suits
Luke Skipper and Chad President were thrown into the fire last season. Skipper started five games and threw for 1,141 yards and three touchdowns, while President added 921 yards with three scores. Both quarterbacks can do some damage with their legs too. President missed the spring with an ACL injury and that has given room to Skipper to take control of the job. Tulsa threw just six touchdown passes in 2017 after throwing for 33 in 2016 and, regardless of who starts, the Golden Hurricane must get their passing game back. Justin Hobbs, Keenan Johnson and Josh Stewart are all quality receivers and if somebody can get them the ball, they will make the most of their opportunities. D’Angelo Brewer took over most of the offense during his last season with Tulsa, rushing for 1,517 yards. With the passing game likely to improve, sophomore Shamari Brooks should find more space to operate and improve on his 687 yards and ten touchdowns from last season.
The defense was very young last season and injuries did not help the situation. The result was a team that allowed 528.9 yards and 37.5 point per game. There is nowhere to go but up from here. It may be good news that McKinley Whitfield, Cooper Edmiston and Diamon Cannon are back after combining to tally 279 tackles. However, Coach Phillip Montgomery must rework much of the defense and he has brought in quite a few transfers in an attempt to find a few new playmakers.
The Bottom Line:
Tulsa has a long way to go to get back to a ten win season. The tough schedule may make progress seem slower than it actually is too. After opening the season with Central Arkansas, Tulsa plays Texas, Arkansas State, Temple, Houston, South Florida and Arkansas. Those are a lot of tough games and it would not be a huge surprise if the Golden Hurricane start 1-6. After a September and October like that, Tulsa could find it difficult to come out on top in the winnable games in November.
Projected Bowl: None
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 247.3 (14th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 173.1 (109, 10)
Total Offense: 420.3 (44, 8)
Scoring Offense: 29.3 (54, 6)
Rushing Defense: 265.0 (127, 12)
Pass Defense: 263.9 (111, 6)
Total Defense: 528.9 (127, 11)
Scoring Defense: 37.5 (120, 10)
Turnover Margin: 0.08 (59, 6)
Sacks: 1.00 (121, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.17 (73, 11)