2008 CFN Houston Preview
2008 CFN Houston
2008 Houston Depth
2007 CFN Houston Preview
2006 CFN Houston Preview
Head coach: Kevin Sumlin
Off. 19, Def. 26, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 26
Best Cougar Players
1. DE Phillip Hunt, Sr.
2. FS Kenneth Fontenette, Sr.
3. QB Case Keenum, Soph.
4. WR Mark Hafner, Sr.
5. DT Ell Ash, Sr.
6. NT Cody Pree, Sr.
7. SS Ernest Miller, Sr.
8. LT Sebastian Vollmer, Sr.
9. RT SirVincent Rogers, Sr.
10. RB Terrance Ganaway, Soph.
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2008 Results: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Oklahoma State
Sept. 13 Air Force
Sept. 20 at Colorado State
Sept. 27 at East Carolina
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 UAB
Oct. 18 at SMU
Oct. 28 at Marshall
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 8 Tulane
Nov. 15 Tulsa
Nov. 22 UTEP
Nov. 29 at Rice
CFN Prediction: 7-5
Sept. 1 at Oregon L 48-27
Sept. 22 Colorado St W 35-24
East Carolina L 37-35
6 at Alabama L 30-24
27 at UTEP W 34-31
10 at Tulsa L 56-7
Nov. 24 Texas South.
Dec. 28 TCU L 20-13
Although Art Briles
is now coaching Baylor, and the dynamic duo of RB Anthony Alridge
and WR Donnie Avery are preparing for NFL careers, the Cougars
remain a team with an offensive identity.
2007 Fun Stats:
New head coach Kevin Sumlin was previously the co-offensive
coordinator at Oklahoma. His first offensive coordinator, Dana
Holgorsen, plans to remake the Houston attack in the image of the
one he just left at Texas Tech, spreading the field and airing it
out. Both of last year’s starting quarterbacks, Case Keenum and
Blake Joseph, are back on campus. In other words, the Cougar offense
won’t slip as much as conventional wisdom is suggesting.
In two years, the Houston program has lost franchise QB Kevin Kolb
and architect Briles, but it’s still planning on maintaining the
success of the past couple of seasons. In fact, Sumlin expects to
build on it. In a wide open West Division, the offense will birth
new stats hounds in the passing game, and the defense has enough
talent up front to make a seamless switch to a 4-3 base alignment.
What to watch for on offense:
Passes. Lots of them. New coordinator Dana Holgorsen is a disciple
of Texas Tech’s Mike Leach, the architect of one of the most
successful passing games in college football history. While there’ll
be differences between the two offenses, the goal will essentially
be the same—spread the field with four receivers and quickly
distribute the ball with safe passes that move the chains. Unless
the new pass catchers are slow getting up to speed, Holgorsen’s
system is going to make a statistical star out of Case Keenum or
What to watch for on defense: Development of the secondary. The
fact that Houston led Conference USA in pass defense is a giant
tease. Sure, no one allowed fewer yards per game, but the Cougars
also yielded twice as many touchdown passes as their number of
interceptions. With four starters returning, including all-star FS
Kenneth Fontenette, there’s no good reason why Houston shouldn’t
begin turning the corner and limiting the number of big plays
This team will be far better if …it drastically improves in
turnover margin. When the Cougars were losing games in 2007, they
were on the wrong side of the turnover battle. Finishing 99th
nationally and No. 10 in Conference USA in
turnover margin is a recipe for another runner-up finish in
The Schedule: The Sumlin era has a chance to get off to a big start with a
couple of early road wins. If the Cougars can hold serve at home and
pull off a win at Colorado State or East Carolina before going into an
off-week, the record should be tremendous. There are back to back
October road dates at SMU and Marshall, but they're winnable, they come
after the UAB game and before a week off. Getting Tulsa and UTEP at home
will help, and closing out at Rice, which is like a home game, is yet
another huge break.
Best Offensive Player: Sophomore QB Case Keenum. Although he
hasn’t even locked up the starting job, there’s no question Keenum
is a rising star in Houston. He was in a dogfight with Blake Joseph
last year as well, but wound up standing out, parlaying 23 total
touchdowns, 2,671 total yards, and a Cougar record for passing
accuracy into being named the consensus Conference USA Freshman of
Best Defensive Player: Senior DE Phillip Hunt. The reigning
sack leader in Conference USA, he plays hard and fast on every down,
creating headaches for overmatched tackles. Hunt’s speed and
insatiable appetite for quarterbacks are his calling cards,
parlaying those traits into 55 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and
10.5 sacks in a statement junior year.
Key player to a successful season: Senior RT SirVincent
Rogers. One of the league’s premier offensive linemen before getting
injured, he’s missed most of the last two seasons with a
slow-to-heal knee injury. If he’s finally whole again, he’ll
solidify the right side of a line that’s looking to replace two
standouts and needing to pick it up in pass protection.
The season will be a success if ... Houston wins Conference
USA. The Cougars were in the hunt until late last season, and return
enough talent on both sides of the ball to be back in the same
position in a league with no clear front-runner. If Kevin Sumlin can
get the new spread humming without a hitch, Houston could slice
through league defenses much the way Tulsa did a season ago.
Key game: Nov. 15 vs. Tulsa. The Cougars got swamped
by the Hurricane, 56-7, last November in a game that decided the
West Division champion. This fall’s game should have similar
implications, with the winner likely to represent Conference USA in
the league title game a few weeks later.
- Penalties: Houston 101 for 880 yards – Opponents 76 for 674 yards
- Average yards per game: Houston 501.9 – Opponents 365.6
- Punt return average: Opponents 14.6 yards – Houston 8.8 yards