The first practice was delayed one hour by weather conditions on Saturday, but that didn't deter the excitement and anticipation of preseason camp for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football squad. There were 105 players that reported to camp on Friday night and participated in the first day of practice today.
Scheduled to hit the grass at Harwell Field at 7:30 am, lightning delayed that start time to 8:34, and that's when the Hurricane cranked things up in preparation for the 2013 campaign. Most of the two-and-a-half hour workout took place with a slight rainfall.
The temperature was quite different than a year ago as well. Last year's 95+ temperature gave way to 76 degrees today.
"I don't think the conditions affected us. If anything, I think it may have helped us keep our focus and concentration. I thought things went well. It was like having a little mister out here keeping everyone cool," said Blankenship. "The leadership was good today and we were able to get a lot done."
"For the first day, we wanted to see how they ran around and responded. We wanted to see what kind of condition there in and how their bodies have changed. I thought there were some groups out there that were noticeably different. The tight end group, physically, looks different. Our speed looks impressive in the secondary. I think we're deeper at receiver. Those are things that came out of the first day," said Blankenship. "Now, those younger guys have to learn how to play."
"I thought we had really good retention from the spring. Offensively, we went a lot faster today than we did a year ago. We have some veterans, so we were able to get from college algebra to calculus pretty fast, and that's good," added Blankenship. "Defensively, that pushes them a little faster too, but even though there's a lot of young players on defense, Coach (Brent) Guy doesn't want to spoon feed them. He wants us to put them in the fire, so we'll go pretty fast and that's good because most of our veterans have retained it very well."
Among the young players, Blankenship cited freshman receiver Keevan Lucas and the two true freshmen defensive linemen. "This is Keeven's first fall. He got our attention in the spring, but Keevan looked really good running around and catching the ball today. The two defensive linemen – Lionell Phillips and Jesse Brubaker – really look the part and I'm interested to see how they develop. They don't look like projects, they look like guys that can come in and help us," said Blankenship.
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Tuesday marks Tulsa Public Schools' eighth snow day and ninth day out of classes for the year. The district is deciding how to make up missed class time, and parents are wondering if their family vacations will be affected.