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Thursday, September 28, 2023


New game plan in store for Cougars

UH head coach Kevin Sumlin, senior tight end Mark Hafner and senior defensive end Phillip Hunt dressed in polos and khakis, instead of pads and helmets, as they traveled to Memphis, Tenn. to represent the University of Houston at the Conference USA Football Media Blitz on Sunday.

The Cougars are excited about the offensive scheme that former Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator and new head coach Sumlin is bringing to Houston.

"I believe that with this new offense that we’re about to bring, it opens a lot more game up," Hafner said. "There’s so many different options that different people can come open on different routes, and I just think it’s going to be a chance for everybody to makes plays out there."

Some concerns from last year, however, remain in the air. Houston ranked fourth nationally last season in offense, but its defense has often been unable to stop opponents from scoring.

Hunt said that although the defense was put into tough situations by the offense in 2007, things will be "different" this year.

"We have seniors like myself and (defensive tackle) Tate Stewart at the front. At the back end you’ve got (safeties) Kenny Fontenette and Ernest Miller, and we’re just all mature and we know what to expect out of every play and every situation," Hunt said.

Also undecided is whether sophomore Case Keenum or junior Blake Joseph will lead the Cougar offense as the starting quarterback.

"Coming into spring football, obviously we had a situation where both of them played last year. One guy had really kind of surfaced and become one of the better players in the league towards the end of the year," Sumlin said.

"(During) spring ball…Blake (Joseph) has really come on. We’re going to let it go into two-a-days and let them battle it out for a little more. Both guys have really competed in a good way, and I think it’s really made them both better."

However, Sumlin promised that issue will not remain undecided for long.

"Before we get to that first game we’re going to have a starter," he said.

No matter who ends up with the starting job, the Cougars will get a chance to showcase their new offensive scheme in front of a TV audience four times in 2008.

CBS College Sports will broadcast the Cougars hosting Air Force on Sept. 13 and Alabama-Birmingham on Oct. 9, as well as Houston at East Carolina on Sept. 27. ESPN2 will broadcast the game as Houston travels to face Marshall on Oct. 28.

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