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Todd Graham defends his aggressive 2-point philosophy

Tulsa head coach Todd Graham has been second-guessed by many for twice choosing to go-for-2 before the fourth quarter in the 51-49 loss at East Carolina.

Graham decided to go-for-2 when leading 13-10 in the first quarter. Near the end of the third quarter, Graham again decided to go-for-2 when leading 29-24. Also, with a 35-31 lead in the fourth quarter, Graham tried a third unsuccessful 2-point attempt.

Graham explained, “If we knock down the Hail Mary, then no one is talking about it. You are going to get second-guessed. When I asked Coach Morris to come in here and be the offensive coordinator, that's part of his offense. That's part of what he does. He is going to be aggressive. If you go back and look at the first two on film, both of them should have worked hands down and we just didn't execute. If you could take them back, would you change them? Well of course because you didn't win. We're going to be aggressive. I've given Coach Morris the latitude to run the offense his way. That's what we've always been here. We've been a team that runs it in the (fast) lane. We're high-tempo and that's part of it. Naturally, when something doesn't work, you can always go back and second-guess it. If we can kick a field goal (one was blocked earlier), we can win a game. If we can execute one of those two-point conversions, we tie the game. The last two-point conversion, our chart called for us to do that. We tried to throw a fade to Trae (Johnson). The first two-point play was one where we tried to be aggressive. We felt like they weren't prepared after we lined up the first time (for the first extra point). We thought we would walk in (and easily score), but actually we had a bad snap or we would have scored on that. The bottom line is you win or lose. If you lose, there's a lot of second-guessing. If you have things to do over, we wouldn't do them any different. We're going to be aggressive.”

“We're moving forward. That was our philosophy with Coach Malzahn and that's our philosophy here. We are going to be a team that attacks and is very aggressive. That's what makes us who we are and what makes us very unique and special. That's why people like a lot of points scored. That's how you score points, it's not being conservative. We evaluate every single call and every single play. I looked at that play and both of those two-point conversions should have been easily converted. We just didn't execute. You don't get to go back and have do-overs. I want Coach (Morris) to be aggressive. I want Coach to be creative. I want him to do the things that he did. When you score 49 points and punt the ball twice, you ought to win football games. We could have scored more.”

“We don't go by a chart (early in the game). We go by how we feel in our offensive staff. They're going to game plan each week and we're going to force people to defend that. If you follow where that comes from, it comes from Boise State. That's their philosophy as well. We're a long way from being where they are at, but that's where that philosophy is at. We've exchanged ideas with Coach (Chris) Petersen and them and that's where we got that from. Coach Morris used it at Lake Travis (High School) and he brought it here. We're not going to be careless, but if we have the numbers, we're going to be aggressive. That's where it comes from and it's part of who we are offensively.”

Tulsa hosts Bowling Green this Saturday.