In an interview with KMRG Radio, Tulsa head coach Todd Graham blamed himself for poor scheduling last year. He also made it clear that his staff is putting an emphasis on running the football.
Graham didn't like the 2009 mix of Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games. No routine made it tough to get rest. The 2010 schedule only has two non-Saturday games. The opener at East Carolina is on a Sunday. The season finale against Southern Miss is on a Friday.
“Last year was absolute the worst schedule I’ve done in 24 years and I was excited about it going in. You get excited about playing 9 times on national TV. There is no question that helps. That’s all great, but being a high academic school, missing 9 days of classes makes it difficult. We wanted to keep routine (this year). We can’t practice on Mondays because of our class schedule. It forces us to practice on Sundays and we actually just watch film.”
“The biggest thing we talked about is scheduling is “rest.” Guys in college need a lot of rest. It was mentally draining because you were never in a routine. We didn’t get a whole lot of rest last year because the schedule was very difficult to manage. We gotta make sure our guys aren’t missing that many classes.”
Graham stated, “If you’re ever going to play great defense, you have to be able to run the football. The key is running the football. That’s the emphasis. We have to establish the direct runs. I do feel like we are much improved up front.”
“We were playing too many snaps of defense last year. Running the football is the key component to making everything work.”
“We’re going to have to do a great job coaching. We’re going to have a freshman playing at MLB, some freshman playing in the back end.“
“I feel like every single guy has a giving heart. They are team players. I like the camaraderie and team chemistry. I have a lot of confidence in this team.”
Graham also said that he's getting more involved in the defense.
"I'm basically going back to doing what I did in 05. I'm going to coach the safeties. If I can't coach kids, there ain't much enjoyment in the rest of it. I'm going to be involved in running the defense like in '05. In doing that, I still gotta be the head coach. I still gotta make decisions on 4th down."