As we conclude our keys to the season for the three FBS schools in Oklahoma, let’s take a look at the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Tulsa is coming off a 6-7 season, which included a wild loss to Virginia Tech in the Camping World Independence Bowl. As excitement takes hold on the TU campus, what must the Hurricane do to build upon Philip Montgomery’s first season?
Generate a Pass Rush
In 2015, the TU offense surpassed 34 points eleven times. The defense, however, gave up 30+ points eleven times. As the Hurricane move in to 2016, Bill Clay’s bend-but-don’t-break defense must create a little havoc in opponents’ backfields. Coaches hope to see this happen with increased speed in the LB positions, which will help a thin, but experienced D-Line.
Air it Out
Coach Montgomery didn’t hesitate to take a traditionally explosive offense and make it nuclear last season. Senior quarterback, Dane Evans, is poised to become TU’s all-time leading passer, needing only 2,604 yards to do so. With returning 1,000 yard receiver, Josh Atkinson, and Keevan Lucas returning from injury; Evans will have all the playmakers he needs to keep this offense on the move.
Although four returning O-linemen combine for over 50 starts, there is not much depth for TU at that position. In order to keep the offense firing on all cylinders, the line must stay healthy and mature as the season progresses. The line’s ability to protect Evans and give him time to find his playmakers will be something to watch…especially early.
With talent returning on both sides of the ball, there is reason for optimism in the TU locker room. If the defense can force just enough turnovers and keep the offense ahead of the pack, there is no reason why Tulsa shouldn’t be bowling again at the end of the season.