Football team awaits Texas State
Saturday marks the return of football to the campus, and it couldn’t come any faster for head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Cougars.
After a preseason camp in the scorching Houston heat, the players are ready to make contact with the Texas State Bobcats as opposed to their teammates.
“This time of year we’re all pretty tired of looking at each other and ready to play somebody else,” Sumlin said.
“If your team is not in that position you have to worry.”
Quarterback Case Keenum faced a flurry of national media attention over the summer, but now he is ready to let his play do the talking.
“I’m ready to start playing football and not talk about it anymore,” Keenum said.
Sumlin said the Cougars had a positive preseason camp, but that is not an indicator of where the team stands. The first game will be telling of the team’s progress.
“You really don’t know where you are until you get on the field,” Sumlin said.
Although the Cougars are favored to win, Sumlin said he wants his team to remain humble. He is not taking the Bobcats lightly.
“We have a lot of respect for coach Brad Wright and Texas State,” he said. “They do a great job of recruiting the state of Texas and coaching their players.”
Under defensive coordinator Brian Stewart’s new 3-4 set, the Cougars are expected to put up a more aggressive effort. Cornerback Jamal Robinson said he also respects the Bobcats.
“They’re a good team, and they bring their best out, but hopefully we put on a good show,” Robinson said.
Receiver James Cleveland said he is impressed with how the defense has looked in practice, but that him and his offensive teammates will be watching diligently to see how it performs. Like a coach, Cleveland is holding the defense to a standard.
“The energy and the schemes that they’re bringing is similar to an NFL defense, so it’s exciting for us to watch and see them do well,” Cleveland said. “I want to see great energy and execution from our defense.”
In games against Texas State, UH is 0-3. Those three games were between 1946-1948, but Sumlin said it adds motivation to the game.
“If that’s not enough to get your attention, I don’t know what will,” Sumlin said.
Analysts are pointing to UH as a potential BCS buster, but Sumlin was quick to point out that the Cougars are not ranked in the top 25 in any poll.
“Obviously, we still have some work to do,” he said.
With a win, the Cougars will break a school record for 16 consecutive wins in a home opener.
The game starts at 7 p.m. at Robertson Stadium.