TU Gets Ready For Season Opener

Monday, August 28th 2006, 10:31 am
By: News On 6

There's a hurricane blowing into Tulsa this week, but it's not wild weather. The TU football season kicks off on Thursday. Some changes are in store for fans this year.

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin has more on why so many people are cheering this team on. After last year's Liberty Bowl victory, many TU fans are still flying high from the Golden Hurricane's most successful season since the '90's.

The school is gearing up for a home opener in a matter of days. One of several changes this year, more weekday games, rather than Saturday. TU officials say there's less competition for attention.

Two of this year's home games will be on ESPN2. Don Tomkalski with TU athletics: "With the success that we've had in the past, we've been able to get these television games and that will help not only us nationally but you know it focuses on the city of Tulsa and the campus."

As construction continues around the stadium, warm-ups are on inside. Players have been practicing for months, often in triple digit heat. TU football coach Steve Kragthorpe: "I think we're a team that's ready to play a game and excited about playing a game and tired of practicing."

But it's not just the team that's ready to go. The Hurricane fan base is growing by leaps and bounds, with twice as many season ticket holders as last year. "You'll go into a restaurant and see people wearing TU gear, shoot, when I got here 4 years ago you couldn't find a Tulsa T-shirt or hat."

This year, the other thing you'll find inside the stadium is beer. Officials say sales will be handled carefully. Don Tomkalski: "It gives fans another option, hopefully people will be respectful of the people around them and will be able to drink responsibly and control it a little bit better than outside the gates."

Parking is a bit different this year, 11th Street between Gary and Florence will be closed for a street party and Tailgate Alley extends to Harvard.

The News on 6 is a sponsor of Thursday night's opener against Stephen F Austin at 6 PM.