Bobby Lewis, NewOn6.com
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Bill Blankenship is a quiet man who prefers to coach with his wisdom more than his whistle. ‘Coach B' has been around the Tulsa program for many years dating back to his days as a Golden Hurricane quarterback in the mid-70s, his assistant coaching days over the past few seasons and now as the team's head coach.
He's a coach that players have really taken to since he was promoted back in January.
"He's a good guy and a great coach," said senior lineman Tyler Holmes. "He's a guy that players really want to play for."
That's truer than it is for most head coaches around the nation. That's because for the past four years, Blankenship has been in charge of local recruiting for TU. There are 26 players from the immediate Tulsa area.
"The transition has been easy this time with Coach Blankenship," said senior quarterback G.J. Kinne. "He's done such a great job just building on what we did last season."
Tulsa bounced back from a 5-win season by going 10-3 last year. The Golden Hurricane is on a seven game winning streak heading into this year thanks to a blowout win over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.
The first media day of his head coaching tenure had a serious tone to it. Interviews all included at least a short mention of how the team was more focused on beating C-USA rival Tulane than knocking off non-conference foes like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Boise. Players are locked in on getting ready to compete in Norman on Week 1.
"We're on the rise to the top," said linebacker Curnelius Arnick. "We're the little guys coming out to fight with the big guys."
Kalen Henderson was reinstated by the team after getting suspended during spring workouts. He will assume the role of backup quarterback. The coaches raved about his physical ability but pointed out that he's just a freshman and has a lot to learn.
Tulsa will continue to work out in the mornings this week. They've tried to combat the heat by taking days off from full pad workouts. Practices are closed to fans.