#53 Tulsa Football 2013 Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Overall rank: #53
Conference rank: #2 Conference USA

Tulsa Team Page#53 Tulsa Football 2013 PreviewBuy Tulsa Football Tickets

Tulsa’s football program is finding out what happens when a program achieves beyond expectations. The Hurricane won 11 games last year and 19 in the past two seasons, putting head coach Bill Blankenship on a fast track for success at another level. The 11 wins tied for the most in school history. No doubt teams are taking interest in what Blankenship is quietly doing in the northeast section of the state. Oklahoma is a football-crazy state, but the action centers around Norman and Stillwater. Tulsa is making sure people notice its program and speak its name in the same breath as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

2012 Record: (11-3, 7-1)
2012 Bowl: Liberty Bowl vs. Iowa State (W 31-17)
Coach: Bill Blankenship (19-8 at Tulsa, 19-8 overall)
Offensive Coordinators: Greg Peterson
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Guy

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Trey Watts, RB, 1,108 yards
Passing: Cody Green, QB, 2,592 yards
Receiving: Keyarris Garrett, WR, 845 yards
Tackles: Shawn Jackson, LB, 88
Sacks: Shawn Jackson, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Marco Nelson, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Ja’Terian Douglas, RB Zack Langer, QB Kalen Henderson, QB Joseph Calcagni, WR Jordan James, WR Thomas Roberson, DB Dwight Dobbins, K Daniel Schwarz, LB Derrick Alexander, S Marco Nelson, OL Stetson Burnett

Key Losses: RB Alex Singleton, DB Dexter McCoil, DB Lowell Rose, DE Cory Dorris, LB DeAundre Brown, C Trent Dupy

The Tulsa running game plowed over opponents last year, as Trey Watts and other rushers combined for 3,440 yards on the ground. At the same time, opponents gained less than half that amount (1,674), making most games a mismatch when it came to running between the tackles. That translated to 486 points on offense, an amount that could be approached again thanks to Watts’ feet, other backs like Ja’Terian Douglas and Zack Langer, and the receiving corps of Keyarris Garrett, James, Roberson and others. Enough help returns on the offensive line that Tulsa should have no trouble springing its offense once again, but the club will need either Billy LaFortune or Dylan Foxworth to step in where center Trent Dupy left off.

Defense, we have a problem. Shawn Jackson is back as the tackle leader and he should be a strong bet for success, but DeAundre Brown’s 125 tackles and nine sacks are gone. Jared St. John and his terrifying ability to attack the quarterback (11.5 sacks) are also gone. Dexter McCoil and his 91 tackles and five interceptions? You get the picture. Three top defensive weapons all not coming back could equal some problems in 2013 as Blankenship and his staff get new people acclimated to those positions.  

The Bottom Line:
Tulsa should still make a bowl game, but how well the team does depends on how well its defense plugs in quickly. Tulsa starts with Bowling Green and Colorado State, which should result in two victories, before it ventures into Big 12 territory against Oklahoma and Iowa State. Seven of the final eight games are C-USA contests (Marshall is the exception), and based on last year’s conference success Tulsa should have its six wins for bowl eligibility by midseason or shortly after. Whether the team wins 11 games once again or not depends on whether Tulsa does it with D or lets its offense do the talking. If the defense falters, there could be some wild games this year.

Projected Bowl:  Heart of Dallas Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 245.71 (9th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 211.43 (83, 10)
Total Offense: 457.14 (28, 3)
Scoring Offense: 34.71 (30, 3)
Rushing Defense: 119.57 (16, 2)
Pass Defense: 228.21 (54, 3)
Total Defense: 347.79 (25, 1)
Scoring Defense: 23.64 (35, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.21 (48, 4)
Sacks: 3.79 (3, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 0.64 (4, 1)


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