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July 20, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #22 Houston

#22

2009 Record – 10-4, 6-2 CUSA
Bowl Game – Armed Forces Bowl - Lost to Air Force 20-47
Letterman Returning: 46
Stadium – John O’Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium (32,500)
College Location – Houston, TX
Coach – Kevin Sumlin 18-9 (3rd Year)


OFFENSE: (8)

Key Returnees – QB Case Keenum (below), WR James Cleveland, WR Tyron Carrier, WR Patrick Edwards, RB Charles Sims

Key Losses – T Jarve Dean, C Carl Barnett, WR Chaz Rodriguez

- Just 4,122 yards separate senior quarterback Case Keenum from Hawaii's Timmy Chang for the NCAA record of career passing yards, plus one of course, if Keenum wants to break it. That much yardage in one season may seem to be as similar a feat as scaling the Sears Tower in khakis and snow boots to some quarterbacks, but for Keenum, who surpassed the chasing amount last season by over 1,500 yards, it may be nothing more than a backyard game of catch. The Houston single-caller has passed for back-to-back 5,000 plus yard seasons, as well as two consecutive 44 touchdown seasons. Counting the number of 400 plus yard passing games the last two years for the Cougars is like counting the number of tequila shots passed out at a Cancun bar, its little mind numbing, on both parts. Keenum is supported by a stellar cast of pass catchers led by 3rd team All American, senior James Cleveland, who caught 104 passes with 14 scores last season. All CUSA wideouts, Patrick Edwards and Tyron Carrier, both juniors, also return. The unsung hero of the Cougar offensive attack last season, however, was true freshman running back, Charles Sims. Sims brought in 1,457 total yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to being named the CUSA freshman of the year, with 698 rushing and 759 receiving. Sims has been ruled inelligable for the 2010 season but the Cougars have past CUSA freshman of the year in junior running back, Bryce Beall. Beall rushed for 1,247 his first season and is capable of carrying the rushing load, bringing in 670 yards and seven scores last season. The Cougar offensive line will need to replace two all-conference players, but welcomes back 1st team CUSA performer, in junior, Chris Thompson.

DEFENSE: (6)

Key Returnees – LB Marcus McGraw, CB Jamal Robinson (below), S Nick Saenz, LB Phillips Steward

Key Losses – LB CJ Cavness, DE Tyrell Graham, CB Brandon Brinkley

- Like a lot of high powered offensive teams, the Houston defense struggled with keeping teams at bay last season. Opposing teams drilled an average of 227 yards on the ground into the Cougar defense last season, up from a staggering 175 the year previous. In fact, the inability to stop the run can be credited to the loss in two of their four, at UTEP and in the bowl game against Air Force, giving up 305 and 404 rush yards respectively. The team returns its leading tackler in junior linebacker, Marcus McGraw, who brought in 156 stops last season, to go with four sacks. The Cougars also lose all conference linebacker CJ Cavness, who ranked second on the team with 143 tackles. Junior safety Nick Saenz and senior corner Jamal Robinson return as the only starters back to the secondary, but both are solid contributors. Robinson led the team last season with five interceptions. Senior corner Loyce Means steps in filling the departed corner spot, with nine starts in his up and down career. For the second year in a row the Cougars lose their top sack man. In 2008m it was senior CUSA Defensive Player of the Year in end Phillip Hunt with 14. Last season, end Tyrell Graham led the team with seven. Graham has since moved on, leaving junior end, David Hunter, 4 sacks in 2009, as the player poised to take the next step along the defensive front.

SCHEDULE:

Surprisingly it wasn’t the BCS conference schools who gave the Cougars fits in 2009, instead it was the CUSA. In three games last season against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State, Houston came out 3-0. Although the Cougars should always come out on the top end of the CUSA, there have been at least two or three familiar teams every year who have given them problems. This season, after an easy opener against Texas State, Houston will look for revenge of a 58-41 loss last season in a game against UTEP on Sept. 10. A week later, the Cougars travel to PAC 10 sleeper UCLA. A home visit from Mississippi State brings in October, before a three game conference road stretch against Rice, SMU and Memphis. Central Florida comes scheduled Friday Nov. 5, in primetime. Tulsa Nov. 13 and a trip to Southern Miss Nov. 20 end conference play on the season. An aerial assault game, which saw the likes of 756 total passing yards last season, lies in the last game of the year in a trip to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech, Nov. 27.

Schedule rating: C

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Terrance Broadway, *#54 QB, 6-1 200, Baton Rouge, LA

A talented passer who also had offers from Alabama, Oregon and Nebraska, among others.

2.) Jordan Jolly (left), #59 WR, 6-1 170, Missouri City, TX

A project at wideout, Jolly has great ability to slit defenders after the catch.

3.) DeAndre Perry, #31 TE, 6-3 210, Austin, TX

A tight end in high school, Perry will most likely be split outside at Houston, in a an offense that rarely, if ever features a tight end.

4.) Aaron Johnson, #73 QB, 6-1 180, Longview, TX

One of four quarterbacks signed in the 2010 class, Johnson may be the best athlete of the four.

5.) Alton Demby, 113 CB, 5-10 175, Galena Park, TX

Demby also serves as a dangerous return man, to go along with solid coverage skills.


*Rankings according to scout.com

Robinson Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

1 comment:

westex2470 said...

I thought you would like to know that Houston RB Charles Sims was ruled ineligible for the upcoming season. It happened right after the spring game. He is supposed to be back on the roster next season, but he will lose his sophomore year of eligibility. Tough set back for the Coogs, but they still have 2008 C-USA freshman of the year Bryce Beall, who rushed for 1,200 (some-odd) yards as a freshman but was hampered by injury problems last year and split time with Sims. Keep up the good work.

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