KENNEDALE, Texas There's no questioning Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne's ability to adapt to different situations.
The senior signal caller, who is playing his last collegiate game in Friday's Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl against BYU, has taken a winding route to becoming one of the best quarterbacks to play for the Golden Hurricane.
The native Texan played for two different high schools before signing with Texas. He left Texas after his freshman season for Tulsa, where he took over as the starting quarterback in 2009. He'll wrap up his career Friday playing for his third college head coach in Bill Blankenship.
Through all the changes, the 6-2 Kinne has continued to perform at a high level.
"I think I'm a better quarterback this year," Kinne said. "The things I've done at the line of scrimmage are different. I've improved at the mental part of the game. We have a new offense and a totally new set of skill players. I take a lot of pride in what we've been able to accomplish here."
In three years with Tulsa, Kinne has accounted for 10,617 yards of total offense. He's thrown 78 touchdown passes, leaving him second all time in school history and just five behind Paul Smith, who played in 11 more games than Kinne.
While Kinne hasn't matched his eye-popping passing totals from a junior season that saw him earn Conference USA offensive player of the year honors, he's been remarkably efficient. He'll likely pass the 3,000-yard mark in Friday's game at SMU's Ford Stadium and has thrown 25 touchdown passes with just 12 interceptions.
He's put up those numbers despite not having his top receiving threat in Damaris Johnson, who was suspended before the season started. The schedule did Tulsa (8-4) no favors either. All four losses this year came to teams ranked in the top 10 at the time. A 1-3 start forced a shift in the offense, getting away from the passing game and playing more of a ball-control offense.
That switch didn't hurt Kinne though, as Tulsa reeled off seven-consecutive wins to earn its seventh bowl trip in nine seasons.
"Our offense has really evolved," said Kinne, who earned second team all-CUSA honors and has also rushed for 405 yards. "When we lost Damaris at the beginning of the season, it put a wrench in our offense because a lot of it was based on what he did so well. We had to change our offense completely. After we played in those big games (losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State), we had to switch something. We went under center more, starting running the ball more. We tried to be efficient."
Kinne is trying to keep his final game in perspective. He's hopeful that he'll have a chance to play in the NFL, but is hoping to have a career if college coaching if that doesn't happen. Coaching is in his blood. His father Gary Joe, who critically injured in a 2005 shooting while G.J. was playing for him at Canton, is the head coach at Sherman.
But G.J. Kinne has one more game to play before having to worry about his future. He's looking forward to it.
"When we found out we were playing here it was a big deal to me because all my friends and family from my previous stops can come see us," he said. "There will be a lot of my supporters in the stands. This is my last guaranteed game. I just want to start it, play and make the most of it."