TU Talking Points
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
10/25/11 at 5:32 AM
Making due at wide receiver
Bill Blankenship was watching old SMU film with his assistants recently.
One coach asked him who caught a post route against the Mustangs defense in last year's game. Blankenship said it was a player not currently available.
"There's nobody that's playing wide receiver last year that's available for us to play right now," he said. "In that perspective, I think we've figured out pretty well who we are."
TU has adopted a "best 11" game plan, where the top players find the field. Currently, the wide receiver spot is led by Bryan Burnham, Jordan James, Willie Carter (an H-back moved around to create matchup problems) and Clay Sears (a tight end that Blankenship considers a wide receiver).
What about Ricky Johnson, who caught a 41-yard touchdown pass at Rice? He's still in the mix, but coaches appear to want him to do more than just catch passes.
Freshman Keyarris Garrett has missed three games with concussion issues, and Gary Owens (who has three starts) only has two catches for eight yards. Owens may be caught in a numbers game at the position right now.
Two games in six days
Tulsa will play an important stretch of football beginning with Saturday's home game against SMU.
Only five days later, the Hurricane will travel to UCF to face the defending Conference USA league champions.
Does Blankenship ask his team to focus on the two-games-in-six-day stretch? No. All the first-year head coach wants is his team to focus on the Mustangs.
"We keep saying that we're in a point now where it is a five-game playoff," Blankenship said. "You've got to see it as that, but the way you can depend on not being around in the playoffs is if you don't win, you are off. This week is the only game that matters."
Tulsa only has two non-Saturday games this season. The Nov. 3 (Thursday) trip to UCF and a Friday regular-season finale against Houston on Nov. 25.
No revenge, just football
TU has lost back-to-back games against the Mustangs, but will not use revenge as motivation in Saturday's homecoming contest.
"If you use the past losses, you have to use the past wins," Blankenship said. "What I constantly talk about is you have to learn from the past. Every experience that we can learn from, somebody else's mistakes or somebody else's failure is an opportunity for us not to have that mistake or failure. If you can learn from others, you may save yourself from having to learn that yourself.
"It's the same thing if we look back at the games that we win. Not just SMU, but others. There are probably some trends and if we can continue to repeat those things, generally you find a way to do that. You study the history. I don't think you get caught up in using it as motivation."
S. 3 at Oklahoma L, 47-14
S. 10 at Tulane W, 31-3
S. 17 Oklahoma State L, 59-33
S. 24 at Boise State L, 41-21
O. 1 North Texas W, 41-24
O. 15 UAB W, 37-20
O. 22 at Rice W, 38-20
O. 29 SMU 2:30 p.m. FSOK-27
N. 3 at UCF 7 p.m. CBSSN-249
N. 12 Marshall TBA FSOK-27
N. 19 at UTEP 2 p.m.
N. 25 Houston 11 a.m. FSOK-27
Tulsa (4-3) vs. SMU (5-2)
2:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
TU's Ricky Johnson and Bryan Burnham celebrate in the end zone during Saturday's win at Rice. The Golden Hurricane has no receivers from last year's squad at its disposal. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World