Three Things TU Coach Philip Montgomery Said Ahead of Game against OSU

September 8, 2021

Entering his seventh year at Tulsa, Philip Montgomery came close to picking up his first victory against Oklahoma State last season.

Montgomery is 0-3 against the Pokes in a series Tulsa is 27-45-5 in all-time. Both squads are coming off lackluster performances against FCS teams after OSU played a tight game with Missouri State and Tulsa dropped its season opener to UC-Davis.

Montgomery met with reporters via Zoom this week to discuss the upcoming rendition of the Turnpike Classic. Here are three things he hit on.

1. Montgomery Sounds Confident in Sanders Debuting

The most recognizable missing piece from Oklahoma State’s game against Missouri State was Cowboy quarterback Spencer Sanders.

Sanders was out because of COVID protocol, as the Pokes struggled to a 23-16 victory against FCS Missouri State. On Monday, OSU coach Mike Gundy said he “thinks” Sanders will be back, but Montgomery seemed near certain.

“Sanders coming back I’m sure is gonna be a boost to them,” Montgomery said. “Not only the experience that he brings, but also just his athleticism. Things break down, he gets his feet going, and he can get out of the pocket and does some really good things. Obviously in the run game it adds another factor to it as well.”

Sanders played in just two series against the Golden Hurricane last season before leaving the game with injury. In that time, Sanders went 2-for-2 with 23 yards and nine rushing yards. As a freshman against Tulsa in 2019, Sanders was 12-for-22 with 169 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 59 yards and a score.

2. Montgomery High on OSU’s Defense, Skill Guys

OSU’s biggest perceived flaw one week into the college football season is its offensive line’s ability to run block.

When listing off what he thought about the Cowboys, Montgomery didn’t mention the offensive line. However, he did put out a long lists of the Cowboys’ strengths.

“[LD] Brown and those guys in the backfield have done an outstanding job throughout,” Montgomery said. “They’ve got talent back there, and they’ve got talent on the edges. [Brennan] Presley is fast, he’s elusive, he can make plays. Gotta do a really good job of tackling him in space. [Tay] Martin is obviously a threat — a little bit bigger receiver. I know they’re working and getting him more involved.”

Despite being a Tulsa-area kid, Presley didn’t receive a Tulsa offer, according to 247Sports. Neither the former Wagoner standout Malcolm Rodriguez, one of the defensive players Montgomery spoke highly of.

“Then when you look at them defensively, I think Coach [Jim] Knowles does an outstanding job,” Montgomery said. “He’s creative. They’re very gap-sound. They give you a lot of different looks. You look at their secondary, they disguise everything extremely well, play a lot of different coverages and they’ve got good guys back there.

“Malcolm [Rodriguez] is all over the field — makes a ton of plays for them, has for years. You look at their safeties, all those guys being back. You really feel as though they didn’t lose anybody. I know they graduated some guys, but that being said, the guys that are playing right now, they’ve started games, they’ve played in a ton of games, they’ve got a ton of experience. They just reloaded, and they’re ready to go.”

3. ‘Everybody’s Back’

The Golden Hurricane was without four starters last week because of suspensions following the team’s fight against Mississippi State after last season’s Armed Forces Bowl.

There were nine players in total suspended with the four starters, being linebackers Treyvon Reeves and Justin Wright, safety TieNeal Martin and offensive lineman Tyler Smith. All are expected to be available for Tulsa’s trip to Boone Pickens Stadium

“Everybody’s back,” Montgomery said. “Obviously when you’re missing some starters that played significant minutes that have got a ton of experience, some leaders of your team, they’re going to make an impact. Obviously having those guys back, we’re excited about. That being said, we’ve taken care of what we need to take care of, and we’re looking forward to them getting back and joining our team and getting on the field with Oklahoma State.”

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