The Tulsa Golden Hurricane got their 2014 season started with a 38-31 double overtime victory over Tulane last week but are expecting a significant rise in the level of competition this weekend. "Oklahoma's not Tulane," Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship was quick to point out on Tuesday afternoon when asked about his receiver's success in the opener. "They're a little better," the coach continued. "But I also feel very proud, very confident in our receiving corps. I think those guys have the ability to make some plays. If we can get the right matchups, I think you're exactly right. That's an area we'd want to go to."
Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans threw for 438 yards and 4 touchdowns in the opener and Blankenship believes that he can connect with his receivers against Oklahoma as well. "He (Evans) can. And will he, that's why we play," Blankenship said. "The things that he has developed is a quick release, the ability to see the field.
If he will, again, do those things, I think you'll see that he'll give us a chance to move the football."
Tulsa struggled to stop Tulane's rushing attack last week (Sherman Badie averaged 14.3 yards per carry) and now faces a trio of talented backs from Oklahoma. When asked if he prepares for what each back can do individually, the Tulsa coach said that he actually does not.
"I don't think that ‑‑ and again just the little bit that Coach Guy and I have talked about, we don't see the uniqueness of a running back that would make you have a different game plan if this guy's in the game, or if this guy's in the game. I think the speed and talent is comparable, and I think that they can do ‑‑ certainly if we had multiple games to evaluate maybe we would expect certain plays, but after one game against Louisiana Tech, there's not a whole lot there, other than they use all of those backs." - Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship on facing Oklahoma's rushing attack
Blankenship showed his sense of humor when asked how he felt about possibly having half the crowd wearing crimson and cream on Saturday morning. "Maybe they'll change their shirt at halftime," he responded, "who knows."
Then again, when asked how his players felt about the possible pro Oklahoma crowd affecting his players, he provided a more serious answer.
"You know, if we're caught looking at the colors in stadium very long, we won't play very well. I know we have this, we have a contingent, how many will actually be here, I don't know, that's interesting. I think there's more in blue than there used to be." - Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship on the number of Oklahoma fans that will be at the game on Saturday
Another lighthearted moment came when Blankenship was asked if he addressed being a huge underdog to his team.
"You know, if I have to tell them that Oklahoma's heavily favored, then they probably had a hard time getting into the University of Tulsa. I think academically our guys are a little further along than that. They know what other people think. And that's not always a bad place to be. Because it matters to you ‑‑ as I shared this before, and again it's not ‑‑ I'm not trying to hype it up. I'm just telling you, I'm looking for a group of players that don't care what it says, that will go out and compete. And we can't focus ‑‑ if we focus on Oklahoma, then we step right into the trap that most people do when they play Oklahoma. We've got to be about Tulsa. And if we'll execute, offense, defense, special teams, we can make it very difficult on them. If we don't execute, we cannot ‑‑ they are better ‑‑ they are good enough to take advantage of every mistake that we make. And so we don't need to forfeit our opportunity to win by giving it away." - Bill Blankenship on being a big underdog
Possibly the best quote came when Blankenship was asked about his biggest matchup concerns. "Probably me against Bob," he quipped. "Seriously," he added, "the matchups across the board, I spent more time looking at their defense."
He then went on to mention Oklahoma's ability to control a game up front and the speed in the receiving corps.
"I think upfront they're very good upfront. That makes it ‑‑ you always start there. And then I haven't watched as much of their offense yet. I will spend more time on that as the week goes on. But I think the speed at receivers is certainly a concern." - Bill Blankenship on matchup concerns