TULSA– The Tulsa football team practiced on the turf of H.A. Chapman Stadium this morning for the 11th practice since reporting to fall camp on Aug. 2.
“I thought practice was good today. We got a lot of heat early in the practice, so we saw guys fight through that. Then it cooled back off and we had a chance to finish practice on a good note, said Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery. “Our guys flew around and we executed at a pretty good level, and most importantly, there was good back and forth between the offense and defense today. I thought the defense had some good spots in there, and offensively we made some plays. We just have to continue to keep growing.”
Tulsa will be back on the field Thursday morning with a focus on special teams.
Tulsa returns experience to the receiver position, but is still rather young there. Senior Justin Hobbs, a 2,000+ yard receiver, is the elder statesman and leader of the group.
“We have some guys that now have some good reps and experience, and they’re just learning to play the position now,” said Montgomery. “Instead of just knowing what to do on a route, now they know how to run the route, and how to set a guy. We’re still growing every day, but our understanding of how my route fits in to the grand scheme of the play is at a pretty good level.”
Hobbs caught a team-leading 55 passes for 830 yards and three touchdowns last year for the Golden Hurricane. Third-year junior Keenen Johnson has also taken more of a leadership role. He had 44 catches last year for 539 yards, including two receptions for over 70 yards.
“Justin has been great since January from a standpoint of his leadership. He’s really taking control of what’s going on in the receiver room and on the field. I think Keenen Johnson has really stepped up in that area as well,” said Montgomery.
“Justin has seen himself make plays in games where the pressure is on him and he has to come up with it. He understands how big he is. He’s tall, he’s long, he’s very strong. He’s a tough matchup for most DBs and he has to be able to use all those factors to help himself get open,” added Montgomery.
Sophomores Josh Stewart and Keylon Stokes, both saw valuable playing time last year, Stewart as a red-shirt freshman starter and the true freshman Stokes, while junior Jarion Anderson is expected to have an impact this year.
A number of young scholarship players are looking to get in the rotation at the receiver slot this year, including red-shirt freshmen Sam Crawford, JuanCarlos Santana and Malik Jackson and true freshman Imee Cooksey and Marquez Perez.