Texas will welcome Tulsa to Austin on Saturday afternoon for the home opener of the 2018 season. Phil Montgomery, known disciple of the Art Briles coaching tree, is in his 4th year at the helm of the Golden Hurricanes. This means the run and shoot will make a return to DKR. Old Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert learned under Montgomery before coming to Texas, so the offense should seem somewhat familiar to Longhorn fans. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the Golden Hurricanes:
Tulsa spent much of 2017 flip-flopping quarterbacks. Chad President finished the season with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, totaling 921 yards passing with a 52.9% completion percentage. Luke Skipper fared slightly better, throwing for 1141 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, completing 55.9% of his passes.
In the season opener against Central Arkansas, Skipper started and played the entire game, finishing the evening 15 for 24 for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. Skipper also added 13 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. His dual threat ability brings an interesting dynamic to the Phil Montgomery offense, but his ability as a passer leaves a lot to be desired.
Texas has shown a tendency to struggle against dual threat QB’s in the past, and much of the Longhorns defensive success will depend on getting Tulsa in predictable passing situations.
Sharami Brooks leads the rushing attack for the Golden Hurricanes. Brooks, a sophomore out of Tulsa, ran for over 600 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman. In the season opener last weekend, Brooks had 27 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In addition to Brooks, Tulsa has redshirt sophomore Corey Taylor II. Taylor is 30 pounds heavier than Brooks and has more of a bruising running style. He also eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the season opener (110) on 20 carries.
With limitations in the passing game, Tulsa will lean very heavily on the run game to move the ball. 63 rushing attempts vs 24 passes last week shows what the bread and butter for Phil Montgomery’s offense is.
Redshirt senior Justin Hobbs is the most experienced and talented receiver on the roster. Hobbs led the team last year with 830 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. Kennen Johnson serves as the number 2 receiving threat, and led the Golden Hurricane in receiving yards last weekend with 63.
It’s hard to get a feel for the pass-catching talent due to Tulsa’s commitment to running the ball and the limitations at QB. If Kris Boyd and Kobe Boyce (or Davante Davis if he is healthy) are able to control Hobbs, it’s hard to imagine the Golden Hurricanes getting much going through the air.
Tulsa boasts a starting offensive line that is experienced, but is severely limited in pass protection (noticing a theme here?). The youngest starter is redshirt sophomore RG Tiller Bucktrot. Nothing really stands out amongst any of the starters. The unit was eventually able to wear down Central Arkansas’ defense, but there were times early in the game where big men were getting beat badly.
Texas has a huge advantage in the trenches heading into thus matchup. Breckyn Hager and Charles Omenihu will need to be disciplined in the run game again, but the Longhorns should control the line of scrimmage.
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