TU notebook: Tough night

Nobody felt the sting of Tulsa’s 21-18 loss more than freshman

Thomas Roberson, who had two deep passes from G.J. Kinne go off his

fingertips. “There was a lot of disappointment, knowing that it was

two touchdowns, knowing that if I would have caught those two, we

would have had a chance to win the game. But everyone on the team

has my back.

They’re all there for me,” he said. Sprinting with his back to

Kinne in the first quarter, Roberson had to watch the ball in from

directly overhead with defenders bearing down on him, and couldn’t

reel it in. “It’s hard to track it and follow, especially when

you’re looking up into the lights, but it’s a catch that we work on

every day in practice,” he said. Later in the game, Roberson seemed

to slow down, then speed up for a pass along the sideline,

straining at the end to get one hand on the ball. “I just fell

short on a couple of catches. That will happen from time to time. I

just have to get out there and work to get better every day and

improve on those things,” he said. It’s hard to fault the 6-foot-3,

186-pound former Union High School standout for much else in his


college season. He’s fifth on the

team with 15 receptions, averaging 9.3 yards per catch. With

Damaris Johnson ailing in the first quarter at SMU, Roberson

delivered a 28-yard kickoff return, setting up the Hurricane at its

41. Empathetic: Sophomore offensive lineman Brian DeShane, a friend

of Roberson’s since elementary school, said he knew the lonely

feeling of making a mistake as a true freshman. “I actually had a

holding call against me that was pointed out on TV last year,”

DeShane said. “I haven’t really talked to Thomas about it yet, but

he’s mature enough to move on. Knowing him, it’ll make him work

even harder.” For the grads: Head coach Todd Graham said it was

important to play well for homecoming “because all of our alumni

and lettermen are back. We’ve performed well at homecoming since

I’ve been a part of the program.” Tulsa has won six of its last

eight homecoming games and had won four straight before last year’s

27-13 loss to SMU. Tulane visits for a 6 p.m. Saturday kickoff. TU

is 5-0 against the Green Wave since joining Conference USA in 2005.

Familiar faces: Saturday’s game isn’t just a homecoming for

Hurricane alumni and fans. Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson


football and baseball at TU and

graduated from the school in 1976 and served as athletic director

for six years (1989-94). Green Wave offensive line coach Mark

Hutson was an All-American lineman at the

University of Oklahoma and coached

at Tulsa for three seasons (2000-02) on Keith Burns’ staff.