Thursday, September 13, 2018
Arkansas State has seen Tulsa's offense, or a version of it, too many times to count.
Every day, actually, or as often as Arkansas State University's coaching staff allows its first-team offense to meet its No. 1 defense.
"They run a system very similar to ours," ASU Coach Blake Anderson said. "Offensively, they're going to spread you out, put a lot of guys in space.
"Luckily our defense sees it every day, or at least a version of it. Hopefully they can draw from that, the experience of playing against our offense."
Tulsa started this season with a new quarterback, redshirt sophomore Luke Skipper, for the third time in three seasons and has not met Arkansas State in a game since 2003. Fifteen years later, at 6 p.m. Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane's offense isn't expected to display anything wildly surprising.
The Golden Hurricane run a system similar to ASU's uptempo, Spread offense. The styles are so similar that ASU's defense is leaning on experiences against its primary offense to prepare for Tulsa.
Does that help?
"It does," ASU defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen said, "because it's a very similar offense. Very, very similar."
Two weeks into this season and one week after allowing 599 yards to No. 1 Alabama, multiple Arkansas State defenders have said their group is a work in progress. ASU's defense sees ASU's No. 1 offense in practice periods designated to focus on defending different offensive tempos or deploying various defensive blitzes.
Because of the familiarity, ASU is finding refreshment in preparing for an opposing offense.
"It does help because we kind of get those same type of formations and route concepts and schemes from our offense," senior defensive back Justin Clifton said. "But we also know that those guys watch film just like everybody else, and that they'll see things that other teams run on us and they'll probably take those things."
The Golden Hurricane's two-headed rushing attack of sophomores Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor have paved the way for Tulsa to accumulate more rushing yards than passing in each of their first two games.
Tulsa, which has not surpassed 200 passing yards in a game this season, rolled up 189 rushing yards Saturday at Texas, and 274 against the University of Central Arkansas on Sept. 1.
If there's anything dissimilar from ASU's offensive schematics, it is how Tulsa creates its rushing attack.
"It's a little bit different run game," Cauthen said. "As far as schematically, there's a lot of similarities, which will be better for us."
Cauthen said "310" of Alabama's 599 total yards were because of a "missed tackle or a lack of execution" on a specific defensive package, spoiling any chance ASU's defense had to stall Alabama.
ASU has cited communication issues, whether between players or simple miscommunication for defensive assignments, as a hurdle through two games.
There's room for ASU's defense to grow, Clifton said, but there are no guarantees.
"It's only Week 3," Clifton said, "so we're bound to see something we haven't seen before."
ARKANSAS STATE AT TULSA
WHEN 6 p.m. Central
WHERE H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa
TV CBS Sports Network
Sports on 09/13/2018
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