College football rankings: Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football

College football rankings: Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane is No. 67 in the Orlando Sentinel 2017 preseason college football rankings. The Golden Hurricane are adapting to the loss of some strong leaders, but Tulsa still should be able to contend for a division title.

Today at No. 67: Tulsa

2016 record: 10-3, 6-2 in American Athletic Conference, finished second in West Division. Look back: Tulsa has fielded a much-improved offense the past few seasons under the direction of former Baylor assistant Philip Montgomery. Since took over as head coach in 2015, the Golden Hurricane’s scoring average has gone from 24.7 points per game in 2014 to 42.5 points per game in 2016. Montgomery’s offensive scheme and the athletic prowess of former Tulsa receiver Keevan Lucas were major factors in this scoring surge. The Golden Hurricane ended the 2017 season on a three-game win streak, which included a resounding 55-10 victory over Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl. It was the Tulsa program’s first bowl game win since 2012.

College football rankings: Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football

Key losses: RB James Flanders, WR Keevan Lucas, QB Dane Evans, LB Matt Linscott, DB Jeremy Brady. Top returnees: RB D’Angelo Brewer, OL Chandler Miller, OL Tyler Bowling, LB Craig Suits. Strengths: QB Dane Evans passed for more than 3,000 yards, while two receivers surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and two tailbacks eclipsed 1,000 yards apiece during the 2016 season. While several of those pieces are gone now, the Golden Hurricane still boast arguably one of the best offensive lines in the American Athletic Conference, returning four of five starters. The only loss is OG Blake Belcher.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football prediction: Although Tulsa’s passing game attracts the headlines, the run game should again be a strength for the team. The unit will be led by senior D’Angelo Brewer, a second-team All-AAC selection in 2016. He finished last year with 1,435 yards, seven rushing TDs and an average of 5.4 yards per carrying. He ranks ninth on the school’s career rushing chart with 2,400 yards and was second in the AAC in rushing behind his former teammate James Flanders in 2016. Weaknesses: Montgomery managed to get out of the spring without any major injuries to his personnel, but he’ll need to shore up the safety position. The secondary was hit the hardest in terms losing experience from last season. The Golden Hurricane will add six defensive backs this summer, including Arizona State transfer James Johnson.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football Schedule 2017

“We’re losing some pretty key guys off of last year’s team, so we’ve tried to set a standard here and continuing to try and raise that bar,” Montgomery said. “And most guys understand the process that it goes through to try to reach those things and so I was excited about the way that we worked [this spring]. “I’m excited about the direction of our program, understanding that we have a ton of work to do. We’ve got big shoes to fill as guys have graduated and moved on, and so these young guys have got to step in here and be ready to play when the lights flick on.” Outlook: With so many new coaches rotating through the AAC, Montgomery is poised to make a big jump this season as the league’s third-longest tenured coach. Despite the player departures, he supervises a Golden Hurricane roster that boasts enough firepower to contend for the AAC West title. Source Link

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