Last year I traveled to Ohio State to watch Tulsa play the Buckeyes. Right before the game started, the Ohio State players lined up in the tunnel directly across from me, interlocked arms, and started swaying side to side. That was a moment I wont soon forget; the iconic scarlet and gray, the deafening 100,000 person-roar, Urban Meyer leading the charge, it was amazing. It was at that moment that my TU optimism faded, and it dawned on me how daunting the task ahead was.
Last night when Rudolph dropped a 40 yard bomb to Tyron Johnson, and the very next possession a 40 yard bomb to James Washington was the equivalent to what I experienced in Columbus. 2-first round receivers running deep every play, a first-round QB throwing it to them, and a running back who ran for over 1000 yards as a true freshman last year. Oklahoma State has an extremely talented offense, and it was on full-display last night. Let’s get to my thoughts.
- Chad President: Successful but not sustainable
Realistically speaking, Chad President did a good job moving the ball last night. He lead the team to 432 offensive yards, 17 points, and had two more drives that failed to yield points inside the red zone. He had one costly turnover, but other than that I think Chad played a good game for a guy starting on the road at a top-10 team. With that said, I didn’t enjoy any part of our offense when Chad was in the game. He did move the ball, but the degree of difficulty for which he did so was very high. Tulsa’s offense last year was clean and simple, seam routes, slants, and Brewer gashing the middle. Last night was 3rd down scrambles, chunking it to Hobbs on half the plays, and the run game struggling due to so many men in the box. I don’t think that what Chad did last night is sustainable for two reasons. 1) Teams are going to load the box, put a spy on him, and force him to stay in the pocket and beat them down the field. Chad did throw some good balls last night, but the ball just doesn’t come out with enough zip and conviction. 2) Chad will wear down. Chad is a great athlete, but no one his size is going to be able to run around like crazy 10-15 times a game. I’ve seen this happen before with QBs, everyone loves a running QB during the first week of the season, then he ends up worn out by November.
- Josh Stewart Impresses
Coming into this game we had heard about the uncertainty at the WR position, which lead me to think that we would see lots of different WRs running in and out last night. That is not what happened, as it seemed that 4 guys (Hobbs, Johnson, Carter, Stewart) were the receivers for 90% of the snaps. The most impressive of those to me was Josh Stewart. The rs-freshman has the frame to be a big-time receiver, but last night he showed me that he can be strong with the ball too. He ended with 3 catches for 30 yards, and I think he will be the #3 guy at receiver this year.
- Corey Taylor III Locked Down as #2 Back
CT3’s line last night: 20 carries for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. Replacing Flanders is a huge task. Brewer is the guy for us, but we can’t wear him down by giving him 30+ carries like we did last year. That is why I was glad to see the way Taylor ran the ball last night. Now, he certainly isn’t James Flanders, but if he continues to run hard for us then he will be the perfect compliment to Brewer.
- Corners Coverage Was Good, But Ball Skills Was Bad
We knew it was going to be a tough test for our corners last night. In coverage I think they did fairly well. There wasn’t a single time that I saw a guy running down the field wide open. However, the most important part of coverage is what you do when the ball gets there, and they failed in that aspect. Kerwin Thomas was right there on OSU’s first TD, but couldn’t get off the ground. Reggie Robinson ran stride-for-stride with James Washington, but tripped on his own feet looking for the ball. There was another time that Robinson could’ve had an easy pick if he just turned his head, as the ball ended up hitting him in the shoulder. I understand that turning your head around and defending the ball is a tough task, but it needs to be stressed this week in practice. Side note, I’m excited for Keanu Hill’s return.
- Linebackers Are Talented, But Need Experience
Graduating Trent Martin was a tough hit to the defense as a whole, and when you combine that to the fact that Matt Linscott and Micheal Thomas both also graduated, the linebackers were a huge question coming into this season. Last night the guys that saw the most time were Craig Suits and Robert Revels as the outside linebackers, and Cooper Edmiston in the middle. McKinley Whitfield and Diamon Cannon also saw time. Suits is a stud, as he has been doing this for a while, but all those other guys are either new, or in Whitfield’s case playing a new position. I think that Revels and Edmiston are the guys for the future, and have all the talent to be successful, but they made some mistakes last night typical of new guys. That is one of the reasons that Oklahoma State was able to run for 332 yards last night. The LB corps will get better every game, but there may continue to be some growing pains early on.
- OLine/DLine Did Well, All Things Considered
Tulsa’s offensive line got a push last night, and proved that they are worthy of the hype. they weren’t able to block 7 or 8 guys which meant that the running game struggled, but they were able to push Oklahoma State’s defensive Line off the ball.
Our defensive line was out matched last night, but still put hits on Rudolph 2 or 3 times, including that crunching hit that forced him to fumble. It is always tough for the big boys in games like this, but I think they held their own.
- Will Monty Name A Starter?
The biggest complaint heard from the stands last night was about why Luke didn’t get another shot at QB. I thought that Skipper looked OK in his two series. He threw the ball with much more velocity, and he checked through all his progressions, but he didn’t move the ball. I was fine with sticking with Chad because he was moving the ball.
After last night’s game Montgomery did not commit to naming the Chad the starter moving forward, “I’m gonna go back and look at the tape and make a determination from that point.” (quote from Tulsa World). I believe that we would be best served to keep the competition alive going forward. Coach Monty is a smart man, and I think he sees what all the rest of us see: if we can’t throw the ball then we can’t run the ball either.
Thanks for reading guys.