TU football notebook: Offensive line update
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Friday, August 31, 2012
8/31/12 at 3:16 AM
When Tulsa meets Iowa State on Saturday there will be two returning starters on the offensive line: senior Trent Dupy at center and junior Stetson Burnett at right guard.
Joining them will be seniors Jared Grigg at left tackle and Brian DeShane at right tackle, and sophomore Jake Alexander at left guard.
Head coach Bill Blankenship said to expect a six-man rotation on the offensive line with the emergence of junior guard Gabe Moyer.
"We really have six guys that coach (Denver) Johnson considers to be in the starting rotation," Blankenship said. "Gabe Moyer has proven to be a really dynamite player. He could start at any of those other three positions, the guards or the center. I think you'll see those six rotate in very constantly."
Blankenship said to take it in context, but he feels like the offensive line is really ahead of where he thought they'd be at this point.
"Now the problem is I didn't have real, real high expectations because we're breaking in some new guys. But we've actually performed better in preseason than I thought we would to this point," he said. "We'll be challenged on Saturday and I am anxious to see how we step up and compete, but I sure like that unit and how they've gelled together."
Role reversal: A preseason C-USA all-conference pick by the league's coaches, senior Willie Carter led the team in receiving last year with 868 receiving yards along with 62 rushing yards and a combined nine touchdowns.
"Willie's an interesting story for us because he played in the shadow of Charles Clay and began to get a little frustrated Charles' last year because he was playing behind Charles and thought he was ready," Blankenship said. "Now the roles have reversed and he is the mentor (to) Michael Sorrells playing behind him who is so anxious to get on the field."
Blankenship mentioned Carter's maturity when dealing with the younger players.
"I mean, he takes those guys under his wing and I'm so proud because that's really what Charles Clay did for him," he said.
Blankenship also said Carter has matured as a player, both improving his blocking and becoming an offensive weapon.
"We're excited to see how he can become that guy in the backfield that actually lead blocks on linebackers and defensive ends and then all of a sudden he's split out at wide receiver and able to run routes similar to what we see from our best wide receivers."
Offensive similarities: Blankenship said that both TU and Iowa State have similar offenses in that they have personnel groups that can run multiple formations within those groups. He said both teams use their quarterback to read defenses and do run-pass option plays where the quarterback decides whether the play will be a run or a pass.
"We've been able to practice against ourselves and see somewhat of a mirror image of what Iowa State has done," he said. "I think they look very similar to how we see ourselves."