No one was wearing a helmet Tuesday at the Golden Hurricane Football Kickoff Luncheon at River Spirit Casino.

The University of Tulsa hosts the luncheon every year to signify the start of a new football season. Although TU has been practicing since Aug. 1, this event was the first public appearance for the 2019 Hurricane team.

Players scattered around tables throughout the River Spirit Casino’s Grand Ballroom and sat with fans as former TU and Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski hosted two panels.

The first panel included new defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie, safety Manny Bunch and defensive end Trevis Gipson. The second set featured TU coach Philip Montgomery, running back Corey Taylor II and offensive lineman Chris Ivy Jr. Each participant was asked one question before a longer Q&A with Montgomery.

Montgomery also spoke to media before the event started.

“Sometimes we get lost in what we’re doing at the office, on the field, in the weight room and doing all those things,” Montgomery said. “To come to this luncheon, you have all your supporters and your fans, our guys get a chance to sit down and visit with them, get to know them on a personal level. Football’s a little different than a lot of sports. You’ve always got a helmet on, you’ve got shoulder pads on and those things.”

The Hurricane will meet fans again Saturday at TU’s fan fest, where the team will also participate in an open scrimmage. After that, the Hurricane and its fans will not be back at H.A. Chapman Stadium at the same time again until TU’s game against Oklahoma State on Sept. 14. The Hurricane’s first two games of the season are on the road against Michigan State and San Jose State.

“Any time you start away from home the first two weeks, you just wanna make sure that fans are excited when you come back home, and this is a chance for us to get them excited about what’s fixing to happen and what these guys are doing right now,” Montgomery said.

Dekota Gregory

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Sports Writer

Dekota covers the University of Tulsa football team and ORU men’s basketball team. An Oklahoma State University graduate, he was an intern for the Tulsa World before joining in 2019.