When Tulsa joins the WAC next season it will bring a new look to the pass-happy, offensive-minded league.
The Golden Hurricane, which blows into Provo for a non-league game against BYU Saturday, isn't likely to use gimmick plays like Fresno State or a no-huddle offense along the lines of San Diego State. Tulsa, under coach Dave Rader, likes to run the football. But unlike Air Force and Hawaii, two run-dominant teams in the WAC, the Golden Hurricane isn't an option team.Tulsa, 4-4 on the year, would rather ram the football down its opponents' throats.
"They have more of a power running attack (than Air Force or Hawaii)," BYU coach LaVell Edwards said. "These guys like to line up and try to pound you. They'll do other things, but for the main part they line up in the I-formation and come at you."
But the Hurricane will be without its top running back Reggie Williams due to a pulled hamstring. Williams, a redshirt freshman with a bruising running style, had rushed for 150-plus yards in four straight games before being hobbled by the injury in last week's 10-7 Tulsa loss to Memphis.
In Williams' place junior tailback Solomon White will step in to be Tulsa's main threat. White rushed for 1,003 yards last season and had a season-high 133 against Memphis.
Tulsa prefers to run but can pass if need be. The Hurricane trailed Oklahoma State 23-3, but junior quarterback Troy DeGar went to the air to lead Tulsa on three scoring drives in the final eight minutes to pull out a 24-23 win. DeGar has thrown for 1,055 yards and six touchdowns this season. His favorite target is senior Michael Kedzior, who has 36 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively the Hurricane have been led by safety Jeremy Bunch and middle linebacker Maudianvita Kazadi. Bunch is among the nation's leaders with six interceptions - including three against Wyoming. Kazadi has a team-high 67 tackles on the year.
BYU is the third WAC team Tulsa has played in its final year as an independent. The Hurricane blasted Wyoming, 35-6, and came from behind to beat UTEP, 38-28, last month on consecutive weeks.
Next season Tulsa will become a division rival with BYU in the new WAC. BYU holds a 2-0 lead in the series. The last game between the schools was during BYU's 1984 national championship season, a 38-15 Cougar victory.