They play a physical style," the Tulsa coach said. "It doesn't surprise anybody that follows BYU that they would have a very mature defense ... they are big and physical with linebackers that run.
DALLAS — Like BYU, Tulsa arrived here on Monday for Friday's Armed Forces Bowl.
The Golden Hurricane are eager to redeem themselves after suffering a 48-16 loss at home to Houston in the regular-season finale.
"Houston is a very good football team, but nearly to a man — as we looked through the film — we didn't play anywhere close to the level we'd been playing in the last few weeks," coach Bill Blankenship told the Tulsa World. "We picked a bad time to not play at our best. We didn't want to end the season that way."
Blankenship sees plenty of similarities between his team and BYU.
"I think there are similar takes from our squads," he said. "We're both teams that have gotten a lot better as the season has progressed. Each of us want that extra win, that notch to the belt. It would be a big deal for us, with the way we started off the year, to finish with nine wins. I think our guys are going to give their best for that."
Blankenship said his team will be tested both defensively and offensively. He is impressed with what he's seen from Cougar quarterback Riley Nelson.
"He's a multi-purpose guy," Blankenship said. "The best thing he does is manage their offense. He clearly sees the field well. He gets the ball to the right guys. He also has the ability to pull it down and make plays."
Blankenship added that BYU's defensive line, as a group, is the biggest Tulsa has faced.
"They play a physical style," the Tulsa coach said. "It doesn't surprise anybody that follows BYU that they would have a very mature defense ... they are big and physical with linebackers that run."
THE SCHEDULE: The Cougars held a closed practice Monday and will hold late morning practices at Burleson Centennial High in Burleson on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Golden Hurricane will hold practices at Kennedale High School in nearby Kennedale.
Both teams are scheduled to attend an Armed Forces Bowl welcome event at Billy Bob's Texas on Tuesday night.
Among the activities on Wednesday's docket includes a charity hospital visit to Cook Children's Hospital as well as a team dinner and a "comedy event."
On Thursday, both teams will participate in a press conference at the Fort Worth Omni Hotel. Seniors Matt Reynolds and Jameson Frazier will join coach Bronco Mendenhall for the question-and-answer session.
BROWN'S PERSPECTIVE: Senior center Terence Brown graduated this month and he's looking forward to trying his hand in the NFL.
But first, Brown is focused on finishing his career with a win.
"I've decided to give it 100 percent and try to make it to the next level. But it's not really in my mind right now," he said. "I'm still trying to get ready for Tulsa, playing hard in that game, because what I put on film is going to give me the best opportunity anyway. I'm excited to play Tulsa and play one more game. I'm excited and happy to play one more college football game. We'd like to come out with a win."
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