Tulsa Golden Hurricane
2009 CFN Tulsa Preview
2009 Tulsa Offense Preview
2009 Tulsa Depth Chart
2008 Tulsa Preview
2007 Tulsa Preview
2006 Tulsa Preview
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Head coach: Todd Graham
3rd year: 21-7
4th year overall: 28-13
Off. 16, Def. 20, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 16
Best Tulsa Players
1. WR Damaris Thomas,
2. S James Lockett, Sr.
3. LB Mike Bryan, Sr.
FB Charles Clay, Jr.
5. WR Slick Shelley, Sr.
6. NG Wilson
7. WR Trae Johnson, Jr.
8. LB Tanner Antle,
9. LB George Clinkscale, Sr.
10. LT Tyler Holmes,
9/4 at Tulane
9/12 at New Mexico
9/19 at Oklahoma
9/26 Sam Houston State
10/3 at Rice
10/10 OPEN DATE
10/14 Boise State
10/21 at UTEP
11/15 East Carolina
11/21 at Southern Miss
at UAB W 45-22
9/6 at North Texas W
9/13 OPEN DATE
9/20 New Mexico W 56-14
9/27 Central Ark. W
10/4 Rice W 63-28
10/11 at SMU W 37-31
10/18 UTEP W 77-35
10/26 UCF W 49-19
11/1 at Arkansas L 30-23
11/8 OPEN DATE
11/15 at Houston L
11/22 Tulane W 56-7
11/29 at Marshall W 38-35
East Carolina L 27-24
1/6 Ball State W 45-13
Over the last four years, Tulsa has gradually become a machine, spitting
out points and winning seasons at an impressive rate. Now, just seven
years after producing back-to-back one-win campaigns, the school has
become a national commodity that expects to compete for championships
After Steve Kragthorpe laid the foundation, Todd Graham
has built up this program beyond anyone’s expectations. The Hurricane
has won 38 games over the last four seasons, leading the nation in total
offense and averaging 47 points a game in 2008. On offense, the
quarterbacks have changed, but the hurry-up, no-huddle attack continues
to be too prolific for most opponents to handle. Tulsa hopes that
continuity also applies to a coaching staff that’s losing its offensive
architect, Gus Malzahn, to Auburn. If the offense sneezes, the entire
team will catch a cold because the defense perennially has a few too
After getting upset in the title game the last two
years, Tulsa desperately wants to take the next step in its evolution by
winning a Conference USA championship. Graham believes he’s building to
a point where the Hurricane will soon be contending for a BCS bowl game,
much the way Utah, Hawaii, and Boise State have done this decade. To get
there, however, he’ll first have to lead his team over the hump and to
the perch of his conference.
What to watch for on offense:
The quarterback competition. This is as plum a job as there is outside
the major conferences. And why not? David Johnson accounted for 49
touchdowns in 2008, and he was a career backup with only modest appeal
at the next level. Fill this opening, and the potential is there for an
uncommon amount of attention for a Conference USA player. Jacob Bower,
G.J. Kinne, and Shavodrick Beaver all have an interesting story and a
burning desire to be under center when Tulsa travels to Tulane on Sept.
What to watch for on
Defense: The pass rush up front. Although Tulsa only employs three
defensive linemen and will blitz frequently, the secondary would benefit
if it didn’t have to sell out so often. Not only did the line do a poor
job of creating pressure, but its best edge guy, Moton Hopkins, has
graduated and George Clinkscale is moving back to outside linebacker.
The onus falls on Odrick Ray, Cory Dorris, and Un’Tavious Scott to
collapse the pocket with a little less assistance than in the past.
The team will be far better
if … the defense can create more turnovers. This was the same
problem that haunted the 2007 edition. Tulsa takes chances with its
attacking 3-3-5 defense, but it hasn’t gotten enough dividends for that
frenetic style. More specifically, the Hurricane has to get more picks
after finishing with just nine a year ago. The faster it can get the
ball in the hands of the offense, the better it is for everyone in old
gold and blue.
Starting out the year with three straight road games,
four in the first five, and five of the first seven is hardly a way to
rebuild. On the plus side, the Golden Hurricane plays at home for four
of the last five games. Playing Oklahoma and Boise State will be
high-profile non-conference games, but Tulsa needs some more tuning up.
The biggest problem is the interdivision schedule getting the East's
three toughest teams: East Carolina, Southern Miss and Memphis. Against
the West, Tulsa gets Houston at home.
Best Offensive Player: Sophomore WR Damaris Johnson. Johnson set the bar unusually high as a
true freshman, finishing fifth nationally in all-purpose yards, while
setting the stage for dynamite career in Tulsa. Undersized and overly
quick, he caught 53 passes, ran for 327 yards, and was one of the
league’s premier kick returners. He’s the kind of jackrabbit that needs
to be accounted for at all times by opposing defenses.
Best Defensive Player: Senior
S James Lockett. At Tulsa, playmakers have a habit of popping up at the
most unexpected time. Lockett, for instance. An afterthought in his
first three seasons, he blossomed into the team’s most disruptive
defensive force. Playing the spur and permitted to freelance, he roamed
through opposing offenses for 82 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 8.5
sacks, and five forced fumbles.
Key player to a successful season:
The new quarterback. Tulsa lives and dies by its offense, putting
pressure on David Johnson’s successor to deliver without any setbacks.
Whether it’s Jacob Bower, G.J. Kinne, or Shavodrick Beaver, he has to
distribute the ball effectively, getting all of the Hurricane’s speedy
weapons involved in the offense. When Tulsa has scored 30 or fewer
points over the last two seasons, it’s gone 1-6. More than 30? 21-1.
The season will be a success
if ... the Hurricane wins the Conference USA crown. The program has
reached a point where it expects to win a title every year, and has the
talent to back up that mindset. It’s fallen short in the championship
game the last two seasons, losing to UCF and East Carolina, so there’s a
feeling of unfinished business surrounding the school.
Key game: Nov. 7 vs. Houston.
This has become
game in Conference USA each year, featuring more fireworks than South of
the Border and major implications in the West Division. Tulsa
obliterated Houston, 56-7, in 2007. The Cougars responded last November
with a 70-30 rout. Maybe one of these years the game will be competitive
in the second half.