Tulsa Players and Coaches Are Gelling Nicely

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:18 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 27, 2011 10:4 PM CDT

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Reporter

TULSA, Oklahoma – The spring practices are still intense. They’re still competitive and they’re extremely serious. But one thing is noticeably different this year:

It’s quiet.

Todd Graham and his coaching posse are gone to Pittsburgh. In comes Bill Blankenship, hired as the team’s head coach back on January 14th, and with him an altogether different take on football.

“I think they’re playing very fast, very well,” he said after the team’s first scrimmage. “We still have to do some things better fundamentally on offense, but we’re still very explosive.”

Spring practice last year was noisy. Graham would holler into his bullhorn and yell out commands. Blankenship opts to pull players off to the side, clipboard in hand, and lecture him one-on-one about his mistakes on each play. The whistle is there, but seldom blown. The atmosphere still promotes winning.

“Yeah, we’re gelling with the coaches,” said defensive end Tyrunn Walker. “It’s going to be a good system.”

The colors are the same but the men in the jackets are new. Chad Morris is wearing Clemson orange this year. Greg Peterson takes over for him as the Golden Hurricane offensive coordinator. Former TU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is dressed in all navy and gold alongside Graham on a Pennsylvania field somewhere. Brent Guy is holding his old play card now, and likes what he sees from Tulsa’s defense so far.

“There are a lot of things that are very different for these guys and I’m proud of them,” he said.

The coaches are all in agreement that the players have taken to the new staff. The players all seem to like what’s happening this spring at Skelly Field.

Even if it is a bit different.