The Tulsa football team went through what amounted to a 99-play scrimmage on Saturday morning on the turf of H.A. Chapman Stadium. The Hurricane didn't go through a normal scrimmage, but instead Tulsa scrimmaged for a certain amount of plays, then had some practice drills, then scrimmaged and repeated the process for the two-hour workout.
It was quite noticeable that some of the key players of the offensive unit -- receivers Keyarris Garrett, Thomas Roberson, Derek Patterson, Josh Atkinson and running backs Ja'Terian Douglas and Zack Langer -- were missing from the lineup due to injuries.
"I was glad with what we got accomplished today. It was a little bit of a challenge. We took a little different format and did some situational scrimmage, because we're a little thin in a few positions, and then some positions we have plenty of players. We needed the work. We got in about 100 plays today, and I saw some good things," said Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship
"The guys we don't need to see as much are guys like Trey (Watts). He's serious about improving himself. He doesn't have to prove himself to us, but he's trying to improve his game, and that's what I get from the veterans. Without Trey we wouldn't have a whole lot of offensive firepower right now. I really like that he and Cody are staying in there with a great attitude and competing with the guys we have on offense.
In the first scrimmage series, the Tulsa offense was forced to get a first down from their own 5-yard line. The offense notched a first down on four of the possessions, while the Tulsa defense stopped the offense on three drives.
Senior Trey Watts had two carries for 22 yards, while freshman James Flanders rushed four times for eight yards. Senior quarterback Cody Green completed 3-of-5 passes for 27 yards on three possessions, while leading Tulsa to a first down twice.
Tulsa's second scrimmage series consisted of four possessions started from the offense's 30-yard line and totaled 27 plays. Green and fellow signal-callers Kalen Henderson, red-shirt freshman Dane Evans and sophomore Joseph Calcagni each quarterbacked an offensive series. Green and Henderson went three-and-out, while Evans directed a 40-yard drive that was halted by the Hurricane defense. Junior defensive end Brentom Todd caused a fumble which was recovered by defensive tackle Derrick Luetjen, and Todd also had a pass deflection.
Evans completed 2-of-5 passes for 9 yards, while Trey Watts rushed three times for 31 yards on that possession.
Joseph Calcagni completed 3-of-6 passes for 25 yards and James Flanders rushed four times for 10 yards. Calcagni connected with Blake Kitrell twice totaling 16 yards.
Tulsa took a break from scrimmaging a second time as the Hurricane worked on punting during the scrimmage break. Following the break, the offensive possessions began again from the 30-yard line on the third scrimmage series, as the defense shut down the offense on four possessions, forcing three-and-out three times.
A third break, saw the Tulsa linemen, offense vs. defense, have an opportunity to catch a punt from the jugs machine. There were only two successful catches out of 17 attempts, both coming from offensive linemen - Stetson Burnett and Billy Lafortune.
The offense came out and put together a nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive that saw Green complete 6-of-7 passes for 44 yards, while Watts took his only carry 20 yards for a touchdown. The offense ran one more series with Evans at the controls for the offense, but amassed little yardage.
Field goal kicking was the object of the fourth break in the scrimmage.
Following the fourth break, the offense took over possession on the defenses 20-yard line. On five possession, the defense held the offense to no points on four of those drives and stopped one drive with a Demarco Nelson interception.
The final possession from the 20-yard line saw the offense score on a fourth-and-one run by walk-on Eddie Venters.
A pass skeleton drill took place during the fifth break in the Hurricane scrimmage.
The offense took over possession at the 25-yard line following the break and failed to muster any offense on the first drive. On the final possession, Calcagni threw 25 yards to Blake Kitrell for the touchdown.
With four practice sessions remaining in the spring, Blankenship has been pleased with the progress.
"We've gotten a lot better defensively. We're getting a lot tougher. We're learning who we are, offensively and defensively," added Blankenship.
Tulsa will be back on the practice field Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of this week before closing out spring drills with the Annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 6. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at H.A. Chapman Stadium. At 12 noon, a special ceremony will celebrate the life and legacy of a true TU legend with the unveiling of the Glenn Dobbs statue. The celebration will take place on Glenn Dobbs Drive just outside the north gates of H.A. Chapman Stadium