Tulsa's Johnson to also serve as off. coordinator

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm •  Published: January 22, 2014
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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship didn't have to look far to shake up his staff.

Assistant head coach Denver Johnson will serve as the Golden Hurricane's offensive coordinator next season, in addition to his responsibilities as offensive line coach. Offensive coordinator and receivers coach Greg Peterson left the program last week.

The announcement on Wednesday followed the hiring earlier in the week of Josh Blankenship, the coach's son, as quarterbacks coach. That led to restructuring: Dan Bitson will move from running backs coach to receivers, Scott Downing will coach tight ends/H backs and graduate assistant David Johnson - a former Tulsa quarterback - will assist with the running backs.

"I felt the need to have a full-time quarterback coach," said the head coach. "Those quarterbacks deserve a full-time coach."

Bill Blankenship said the team's 3-9 finish in 2013 led to "an agonizing self-evaluation" of the team.

"Denver didn't volunteer for this spot, he didn't even ask for this, but his 12 years of head coach experience and how he manages the staff, his philosophy is right in sync with mine," he said.

Johnson said he was excited about the move.

"We have a big challenge in front of us," he said. "We are a very young football team, going into the 2014 season with two seniors on the offensive side. We have a lot of work to do but I am excited. We weren't a very good executing offense. Bottom line is we have to do a better job coaching, holding guys accountable and structuring our offense."

Bill Blankenship said he considered giving up calling the plays but will continue in that role.

"That's an area I've done as a head coach for 25 years, that hasn't changed," he said. "We've had one year that it didn't work very well. Hopefully we will get right back on track. If it works out that it is better for Denver or Josh or Scott to call plays we will go down that path."

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