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Blankenship: "Pardon Me If I Don't Buy Into The Oklahoma Quarterback Situation"

Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship seems to be taking the news of Blake Bell starting with a bit of skepticism.

Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
"Pardon me if I don't really buy into that a whole lot. We'll just see who shows up out there, and we've got to play them." -Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship

Bill Blankenship met with the media on Tuesday to discuss his team's trip to Norman to play Oklahoma this weekend. He had plenty to say about the Sooners, from the running game, to the defense and even the quarterback situation where he doesn't seem to be fully buying into the concept that they'll be playing against Blake Bell on Saturday.

"We're not going to change. Their offense is what it is, whether it`s Bell or Knight or Thompson. I'm amazed, honestly, for a (Sooner) program that couldn't tell anybody who the quarterback was going to be (in August), that they have announced who the quarterback is going to be (on Saturday). Pardon me if I don't really buy into that a whole lot. We'll just see who shows up out there, and we've got to play them."

Looking at the struggles of the Tulsa defense I seriously doubt that Bob Stoops is trying to pull one over on Blankenship. Anyone who saw film from last Saturday's game against West Virginia can attest to the fact that Trevor Knight looked to be injured. I don't think that Blankenship is downplaying that either. What I do believe is that he feels there's at least a chance that they'll see Kendal Thompson take some snaps against them and, to be quite honest, that excites me a bit.

Of course Blankenship has a lot more to worry about than Oklahoma's quarterback. The Sooners are 12th in the nation at running the football and the Tulsa coach feels that fullback Trey Millard has been the key to Oklahoma's success.

"I think they have three really good running backs. I think the key to everything is 33 (fullback Trey Millard). He can do a little bit of everything. Great blocker. He can catch the ball. Every formation - when they're really serious about running the football - they're going to kind of work their way to him. I think they've done a really good job (with) what we'd call a 30 package - a three-back package. Being creative with it. Not being predictable. They've done a very good job in the first two games of being able to dominate at the line of scrimmage."

Tulsa has been good at defending the pass this season but Blankenship acknowledges that Oklahoma has a major threat in Jalen Saunders.

"He's about as good as we've seen. That guy can really take the top off of the coverage. Incredibly fast. He's good on special teams, as well. He's not the only one, but he's special. He can separate and get deep in a hurry."

The biggest obstacle facing Tulsa on Saturday most likely will be an Oklahoma defense that has only allowed seven points through eight quarters of football. Speed is one of the key differences in the Sooner defense this season according to Blankenship.

"Defensively, they're really fast. They've certainly changed their scheme in the sense of putting speed on the field with the odd-man front defense. There seems to be a premium on speed. They've done a better job in the first two games of tackling and surrounding the ball. You don't see a whole lot of flaws."

In 2010 Tulsa traveled to South Bend and beat Notre Dame on their home field. There have been a lot of comparisons from that trip to Saturday's game in Norman but Blankenship was clear that his team is only playing the guys that Oklahoma puts on the field and not the tradition of their program.

"I remember the bus pulling up, and we were getting off - and you couldn't hardly get off the bus because of the statue of Knute Rockne. You knew you were at a little different place. I think what happened there was that as the week went on, we tried to believe the film and not the (Fighting Irish) logo. That's the thing that's important. We have to (face) the (OU) players who are there. If we have to play the tradition and the stadium and Bud Wilkinson and Bob Stoops and all those who came before, we're not going to win."