2013 Houston Spring Football Analysis
Houston Cougars 2013 ...
Head Coach: Tony Levine
Why To Get Excited … there are enough returning starters, particularly on offense, to spur a rebound from last year’s 5-7 disappointment. The Cougars lose just a couple of regulars on offense, while the supporting cast for QB David Piland is both versatile and explosive. When healthy, RB Charles Sims is a playmaker as a runner and receiver. And young wideouts Deontay Greenberry, Larry McDuffey and Daniel Spencer are preparing for liftoff.
9/7 at Temple
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/21 at Rice
9/28 at UTSA
10/5 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Rutgers
11/9 at UCF
11/16 at Louisville
Why To Be Grouchy … the defense will have a hard time improving without the services of its two best players, LB Phillip Steward and CB D.J. Hayden. The Cougars were toothless in 2012, giving up 483 yards and 36 points per game. With holes to be filled at each level of the D, it’s tough to imagine the unit being much more resilient than a year ago. The offense better be up to the challenge, because Houston will need to win shootouts this fall.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … third-down defense. The Houston D was on the field for far too long last season, the result of an inability to make key stops. The Cougars ranked 107th nationally in third-down defense, which had two debilitating effects; it not only wore out the Houston defenders, but it also kept the team’s best offensive weapons idle on the sidelines.
Team Concerns For 2013: Consistency, consistency, consistency. The defense was miserable giving up a Conference USA-worst 483 yards per game, bottoming out in a 72-42 loss to SMU. Even with a tremendous pass rush, the secondary was awful allowing 290 yards per game, but all four starters are back. The run defense wasn't a prize, either, needing to be far stronger against the power running teams. The offense will be terrific with ten starters returning, but the special teams play has to be better after coming up with a Conference USA-worst 3.88 yards per punt return and under 20 yards per kickoff return.
Non-Conference Games: Southern, at Rice, at UTSA, BYU
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 5-7
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Southern, at Rice, at UTSA, Memphis, SMU
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Temple, BYU, at Rutgers, USF, at UCF, at Louisville, Cincinnati
Schedule Analysis: The team should be better but the schedule is tougher. While going to Rice isn’t like a normal road trip, and going to UTSA won’t be that bad, three straight away games after starting out the year against Southern might be a bit rough. Memphis shouldn’t be a bad Big East date before a rough non-conference game against BYU, and then it’s back on the road for three road games in four with trips to Rutgers, UCF and Louisville wrapped around a home date against USF and followed up with a home date against Cincinnati – uh oh. After facing the Bearcats, the regular season ends six days later against SMU.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Quarterback. Who wants to be the next Case Keenum or Kevin Kolb? John O'Korn out of the Miami area has the size and the look of a high-octane playmaker,
while D'Juan Hines and JUCO transfer Billy Cosh will provide some nice depth in the near future. Running back Joseph Glenn is the second best
recruit for the offense behind O'Korn, while receiver Demarcus Ayers is a speedster with good upside. tight ends Deondre Skinner and Chauntez Jackson are good recruits for a team that always uses its offensive options. The team's best recruit is Ty Cummings, considered the nation's top kicker prospect, while linebacker Caleb Tucker and corner Greg Ward are decent players to eventually give the D some help.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 64. That Class Was Heavy On ... Can new head man Tony Levine keep the fun going? Quarterback isn’t a big priority - even with Case Keenum and Cotton Turner gone – thanks to the 2010 class. Receiver isn’t a concern after bringing in a slew of talents last year. The defensive front seven will get the most attention with Levine working hardest for the line while also looking at linebacker for a few key prospects.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
67. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The 2010 class brought in several strong quarterback prospects, and they’re going to need someone to throw to. The Cougars are looking to stop someone from throwing, and now, with JUCO corners Chevy Bennett and D.J. Hayden, but the offense got the bulk with several nice receivers. Daniel Spencer and C.J. McElroy are short, quick targets, while 6-3, Mark Roberts has the potential to be a No. 1 in time. RB Kenny Farrow and QB Bram Kohlhausen will fight for starting jobs in the near future.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 54. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. The
miserable run defense got a big piece to the puzzle
with 285-pound JUCO transfer Matangi Tonga an almost
certain instant starter in the defensive interior,
and linebacker Sammy Brown will get a job from Day
One at one of the spots. The secondary was also
addressed with three excellent corners in Dominique
Sanders, Alton Demby, and Zach McMillen. The
highlight of the class, though, was at quarterback
where four prospects were brought in to develop in a
hurry with Case Keenum leaving next year. Terrance
Broadway came in from Baton Rouge, after getting
offers from Alabama, Nebraska, and Oregon, and could
be the most interesting of the candidates, Aaron
Johnson is a great athlete who got offers to switch
positions from several big-name schools, and David
Piland comes in from Carroll High in Southlake,
famous for Chase Daniel, among others.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 58. That Class Was
Heavy On ... offensive linemen. The loss of three starting linemen to graduation prompted Kevin Sumlin to spend extra time cultivating the next generation of Cougar blockers. Three new tackles and three new guards provide a nice foundation for the future and the present. At tackle, for instance, Ralph Oragwu is a three-star high-schooler with enormous upside and Roy Watts is a ready-made JUCO transfer, who turned away offers from SEC and Big 12 suitors.