By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
As Tulsa takes the field this year, Golden Hurricane fans have a 1-2 punch running attack to enjoy. Coach Philip Montgomery identifies it as such and can be found in local talent – Corey Taylor of Holland Hall and Shamari Brooks of Union.
“It’s an honor to be at the university and to be able to play for Coach Monty (Philip Montgomery),” Taylor said. “We’ve also had other great running back tandems between (James) Flanders and (D’Angelo) Brewer and Shamari is a great running back to be in a system with. I’m very happy with where I am here at this university.”
Taylor often plows through defenses while Brooks shows the same cuts he made through holes while helping Union win the Class 6AI state championship in 2016.
I agree with that (1-2 punch),” Brooks said. “He’s the power type of back and I’m the twitchy type of back.”
Last season, in 11 games with one start, Taylor rushed for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns on 178 carries. Brooks started in all but one game, which he missed due to an injury. He rushed for 967 yards with seven TDs, including four games over the century mark.
With the duo manning the backfield, it draws more fans out.
“It is a big plus,” Taylor said. “It is awesome to see fans from high school come out to the games and see that they’re still supporting us. This is our city and that’s what we play for.”
“It’s fun,” Brooks said. “I bet it’s fun for him too. Just being from Tulsa, it’s a rough city, so if you’re able to make it in any type of way, it is a positive.”
When asked about his favorite memory at Holland Hall, Taylor said it was beating OKC Casady as a sophomore.
“That was a fun game for us,” he said. “It was kind of the turning point in our season, where we came back and re-established the legacy of Holland Hall football.”
One thing that motivates the local products is that TU was picked by the media to finish 2019 last in the American Athletic Conference.
“It’s great motivation and we love it,” Taylor said. “We love being the underdog. We know we have a lot of things that we want to prove to ourselves. I think that the work we have put in has prepared us for the most success we can have on the field.”
After closing 2018 with an upset win of SMU, the Hurricane built off that game.
“I think we’ve made a ton of progress throughout the offseason,” Taylor said. “The strength and conditioning staff did a great job of getting us stronger, faster and bigger. We’ve been putting in a lot of film work with our coaches. So, we’re extremely confident with the work that we’ve put in.”
A fun season, these guys believe, is in store for TU.
“We’re very excited about this season, excited about the playmakers we have out on the field and the guys who can go out there and make a difference,” Taylor said.
Speaking of Tulsa’s schedule this season, Taylor said, “My thoughts on that, I’m extremely excited. We love big platforms. We love to play on large stages and we’re looking to go out there and compete and to come out with a ‘W.’”
Taylor and the rest of the Golden Hurricane look forward to the Friday night game on Nov. 8 against UCF, that has only lost only once – last season’s Fiesta Bowl – in the past two years. They have respect for how UCF has represented the conference.
“I think UCF has been doing a very good job over the past couple of years, so we’re really excited to be able to get the chance to go after them, step on the field and have a great competition.
“We’re extremely proud of them and everything they do for the conference. Just showing that we’re a real contender no matter who we play, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, that we’re ready to go out there and compete,” Taylor said.