TU football notebook: Excellence up front
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, November 03, 2012
11/03/12 at 5:14 AM
Through eight games, the University of Tulsa's offensive line is defined as being among the best in college football. The Golden Hurricane has given up only four sacks. TU hasn't surrendered a sack since Sept. 29 at UAB.
And while the pass protection has been nearly flawless, TU's linemen have paved the way for a ground game that averages 249 yards per game and 5.3 per attempt. The Hurricane has 27 rushing touchdowns. No other Conference USA team has more than 18.
TU has had the same line starters all season - senior Jared Grigg at left tackle, sophomore Jake Alexander at left guard, senior Trent Dupy at center, junior Stetson Burnett at right guard and senior Brian DeShane at right tackle. Junior Gabe Moyer rotates in at both guard positions and is on the field when Tulsa goes with a six-lineman package.
Tracking Hamilton: Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton appears to be the most talented wide receiver on the TU schedule. Against Rutgers, the 6-foot-3, 209-pound senior had 10 catches for an SEC-record total of 303 yards. Last season, he averaged 2.6 catches and 41.7 receiving yards per game. This season's averages - 7.3 catches and 112.5 yards.
Discussing Razorback quarterback Tyler Wilson and Hamilton, TU coach Bill Blankenship said, "(Wilson) seems to be very smart with the football. Knows what he wants to do. Doesn't hang onto it. Very productive. All you have to do is to look at the numbers.
"Hamilton is the No. 1 target. He's special. Productivity-wise, it's not much different than looking at (Oklahoma State's Weeden-Justin Blackmon combination). The thing that impresses me about Arkansas is their size at receiver. There are match-up problems all the way across."
Pressure points: While attempting 304 passes this season, Arkansas has given up only 11 sacks. With an eight-game total of 35, TU is the national leader in sacks.
"They do a good job of changing up their pressures," Razorback offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said of Tulsa's front-seven personnel. "They disguise them pretty good."
Homecoming: TU is Arkansas' homecoming opponent. Asked about his plans for the homecoming weekend, Hamilton replied, "Win. That's the biggest thing we can do for a homecoming crowd - try to get a win against Tulsa. Hopefully, we can get a big crowd out here. We want to win and go compete and play Arkansas football."
Tough season: Through eight games last season, the Razorbacks were 7-1 and ranked No. 8 in the country. Entering Saturday's clash with TU, Arkansas is 3-5.
While Hamilton puts up career-best receiving numbers, he can't really celebrate his performance because of the losses.
"It's not really what you want," he said. "When you have a big year, you have all these honors and everybody looking up to you and you want everyone to be happy. ... It's been kind of rough coming to the locker room after a 100-yard game and your teammates are down. Nobody's really up and bright and no smiles around."
Tulsa At Arkansas
11:21 a.m. Saturday
Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.
TV: KGEB cable 23/53.
Radio: KRMG fm102.3/am740 (TU), KCFO am970 (Arkansas).
Weather: A partly cloudy sky and a temperature in the mid-50s.
Records: Tulsa 7-1 overall, 5-0 Conference USA; Arkansas 3-5, 2-3 SEC.
Last meeting: In 2008, Arkansas defeated Tulsa 30-23 in Fayetteville.
Series: Arkansas leads 52-16-3.