FOOTBALL IS BACK Y’ALL! At long last, our long national nightmare is over.
Before the game against Tulsa let’s take a moment to access the opponent. Grant Cohen, contributor for Underdog Dynasty, answers some of my questions about Tulsa.
1. How well do you think Tulsa's defense can cover James Washington?
Washington is one of the top wide receivers in college football. Any defense that has to face him will be a challenge.
Tulsa will probably rotate with senior corners Keanu Hill and Kerwin Thomas, who have the experience of going up against athletic receivers. With Washington being as talented as he is, there is no question he will get his receptions and may get in the end zone a few times.
The Golden Hurricane’s inside defense is young and inexperienced, which will allow Mason Rudolph more time in the pocket and give Washington quality chances to go up in the air and grab the ball. Containing Washington is a full-time job and covering him for a possession is difficult enough, let alone shut him down for 60 minutes.
2. Tulsa lost some key parts of the offense this offseason, how do you think that affects them?
It all starts with the quarterback. Anytime a team loses their all-time passing leader in school history, it’s tough to replace right away.
Dane Evans’ replacement is still up in the air between sophomore Chad President and redshirt freshman Luke Skipper. President has more Division 1 game experience, but Skipper shined in Tulsa’s spring game, going 16-for-24 for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
While the Golden Hurricane James Flanders, the American’s leading rusher, Tulsa is still in solid shape with D’Angelo Brewer leading the running game. Brewer, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, also has depth behind him that can get the job done.
The passing game, however, could be riding the struggle bus early on in the season. With a new quarterback and wide receivers playing a different role, it will be tough for the Golden Hurricane to get their offense clicking.
Justin Hobbs is going to be Tulsa’s clear No. 1 receiver after returning with 685 receiving yards last season while Kennan Johnson will have to step up after coming down with 30 receptions for 305 yards. The rest of Tulsa’s receivers consist of upperclassmen and newcomers with limited game experience, so that in itself could pose problems.
Once the season gets going, Tulsa will be able to find their rhythm on offense. Against an experienced Oklahoma State team, however, they will need some long film sessions after Thursday.
3. How many touchdowns do you think Tulsa scores?
Tulsa will have some difficulties for this first game with so many players stepping up into larger roles. It will not be surprising if we see Tulsa running the ball for a majority of their plays.
With that being said, I think the Golden Hurricane will get two rushing touchdowns from Brewer and will come away with one receiving score on Thursday.
4. Who on Tulsa's team should scare OSU fans the most?
Brewer did not get much of a chance to showcase his speed and strength mostly because of Flanders taking a large chunk of the carries. Now that he is the leader of this team, Philip Montgomery will be putting the weight of the running game on his shoulders.
Especially in this first game, Brewer will get more carries and could potentially double the amount of carries from last season. Averaging 5.4 yards per carry on his way to seven touchdowns, the Tulsa native has the potential to shatter Tulsa’s rushing records.
If OSU does not find an answer to slow him down, the Cowboys could be in a tighter game than they want.
5. Score prediction?
Oklahoma State 52-27
Thank you to Grant for taking the time to talk to us. You can follow him on Twitter at @gforce4preach.