Tulsa spring game April 07

Zach Smith and the rest of the Tulsa quarterbacks got in some extra work Thursday after the Hurricane’s first practice of the fall. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World file

Quarterbacks split reps at first practice

As if the Tulsa quarterbacks weren’t spotlighted enough already because of a position battle, their position was highlighted even more Thursday morning as passing was king during the first practice of the season.

Quarterbacks quickly rotated from beside coach Philip Montgomery calling plays on the sideline to behind center to execute the play. Zach Smith and Seth Boomer seemed to split reps evenly as the two compete for the starting job.

When non-pads practice ended, the entire QB group was the last to jog off the field together after running through extra footwork drills after Montgomery broke the team huddle at the 50-yard line.

“The competition level is extremely high,” Montgomery said. “They’re pushing each other. They’re cheering for each other. But we know, for us to do what we want to do offensively, for us to do what we want to do as a team, we’ve gotta be more consistent offensively. We’ve gotta throw the football better. A lot of that weight is on myself, and them, so it’s coming out, getting the job done and helping each other get better.”

Gillespie's intensity on display

Joseph Gillespie was still coaching linebackers, but this time with a different title.

Gillespie was promoted in the offseason to defensive coordinator after serving as linebackers coach the past four seasons. Despite the new job, Gillespie still took over linebacker drills when the team divided into positions during practice.

While Gillespie brought intensity to a group that’s used to it, Thursday was the first time the rest of the defense got to experience Gillespie’s personality firsthand during a fall camp.

“Coach Gillespie is always an intense guy,” linebacker Cooper Edmiston said. “Now being the defensive coordinator, that’s great. It brings the whole intensity of the defense up. It’s just gonna be good for us.”

TU starts practice before sunrise 

The sun wasn’t even up yet Thursday when Montgomery tweeted a picture of Skelly Field, stating his excitement for the start of a new season.

The Hurricane started practice under the lights at 6:30 a.m., and will again Friday. With two days of summer school still left, TU tried to avoid any conflict with classes, prompting the early starts. TU will begin practice at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when players pad up for the first time.

“Instead of trying to work around all of those things, we just went in the morning, knock it out,” Montgomery said. “Those guys have been getting up at 6 a.m. working out every day through the summer. I thought it went really well this morning from that standpoint.”

Dekota Gregory

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