College Football Preview: The 2014 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
The Golden Hurricane need an improved offense to be a factor in the AAC.
2014 College Football Preview
Bill Blankenship and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane hope to surprise in their first season in the AAC.
Overview: The Golden Hurricanes fought injuries at key spots in 2013 but the bottom line is their 3-9 record was the result of too little scoring with opponents doing too much. Both sides of the football need improvement but is the talent base in place for this to happen.
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Offense: QB Cody Green was banged up for much of 2013 and ineffective with 1,339 yards on 55% with seven scores and eight picks. That meant freshman Dane Evans saw significant playing time with nearly 900 passing yards and a dismal 43% completion rate with four TD's and ten INT's. With Green gone it seems Evans is the man but his numbers obviously have to improve. With virtually all the top runners gone former three star recruit James Flanders might emerge as the number one back. Keyarris Garrett returns from injury and will be one of the top targets in the passing attack along with Keevan Lucas (32-442) who is the leading receiver from last year. Toss some highly rated recruits and the receiving corps has potential. Three of the top linemen have departed including All CUSA RT Stetson Burnett so the offense has questions.
Defense: The defensive line had to replace quite a few bodies in 2013 which should pay dividends this season with everyone of consequence back led by Derrick Alexander and his 9.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks. The linebacking unit loses Shawn Jackson who recorded 17.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks and five picks but has several returnees and three star recruits to work with. FS Demarco Nelson returns after missing 2013 which gives the Golden Hurricane a very deep secondary that has a mix of experience and youth which bodes well for the pass defense. Overall the defense is far ahead of the offense with proven comodities throughout.
Special Teams: Dalton Parks averaged just under 40 yards per boot while Carl Salazar was 16-19 on FG and did not have an attempt over 39 yards. The return game was wiped clean by graduation so there are voids to fill.
Outlook: The key for success in 2014 is can the defense carry the load with an unproven offense. To put it another way; will Tulsa be able to score enough to win some games and I don't think they do enough to get to the postseason.