HUNTINGTON - With its depth of skill players and dizzying variety of formations, Tulsa has consistently boasted one of Conference USA's most explosive offenses.
It has been no different this season. In fact, when the Golden Hurricane visits Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday, it will bring the top-scoring offense in Conference USA to battle against the league's No. 1 yardage gainer in Marshall.
But as Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday warns, it is foolish to consider the Hurricane a finesse team. A few choice numbers back that up - Tulsa leads C-USA in rushing offense and rushing defense, and leads the nation in sacks (26 in five games) and tackles for loss (53).
"They're very physical," Holliday said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "Their offensive line is very physical; at center they've got a Rimington [Award] candidate [Trent Dupy]. They're big and they're physical - even their wideouts, they're big, physical guys. They're physical at every position, and we've got to make sure we have to be physical, too, on both sides of the ball."
Tulsa is not necessarily block-the-sun big, and definitely not as big as Purdue, the Herd's previous opponent. Dupy is 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, sandwiched between guards Jake Alexander (6-2, 294) and Stetson Burnett (6-4, 303). The top tackles are Jared Grigg (6-4, 280) and Brian Deshane (6-3, 305).
Big humans, but not as big as Purdue's line. Around them, there are some big dogs running around.
Those include change-of-pace running back Alex Singleton (6-1, 260), quarterback Cody Green (6-4, 247), do-it-all H-back Willie Carter (6-2, 231), tight end Charlie Copa (6-3, 259) and a receiving corps with 6-4 Keyarris Garrett, two 6-3 men and a 6-2.
Defensively, end Correy Dorris (6-4, 275), tackle Daeshon Bufford (6-3, 292), linebacker Shawn Jackson (6-2, 251) and star safety Dexter McCoil (6-4, 222) have good size for their positions, but that's not what that defense is all about.
Those 26 sacks and 53 tackles for loss might tip you off.
"About 50 percent of the time, they're coming after you, in some way, shape or form," Holliday said. "Whether it would be pressure from the edges, the 'backers or whatever, but they put a lot of pressure on the offense as far as the blitz is concerned.
"And their defensive guys, they move around a lot because of the blitz packages they have."