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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Keenum uncertain about future plans

His presence is missed on the field, but injured quarterback Case Keenum will still play an important role for the team this year. In Saturday’s game against Tulane, Keenum helped Terrance Broadway get adjusted to life as the starter. | Jairo Razo/The Daily Cougar

UH quarterback Case Keenum said Tuesday that he is unsure if he will apply to the NCAA for a medical redshirt to play next season, or if he will take his chances in the NFL draft.

Keenum is scheduled to have reconstructive surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament at 9 a.m. today, and he will mull his decisions afterward.

“The fact is I don’t know,” Keenum said. “There’s a lot of unknowns now. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t know about.”

Dr. Walt Lowe will perform the surgery. Lowe is the preferred orthopedic surgeon for the Texans and Rockets and is one of the most respected doctors in the country in his field.

As a signal caller, Keenum was used to having most things in his control, including the pace of the offense and the plays called on the field. Now he submits control to doctors and hopes the healing process is timely.

“It’s not a fun experience,” he said. “I don’t wish this on anybody.

“A lot of it isn’t in my control. It’s not the senior year I wanted to have, but it’s the one I have right now, and I’ll make the best of it.”

Keenum did not say what his preference was for next season, but that he has the itch to play now.

“Right now, I want to be on the field. I want to be out there playing, and I can’t,” Keenum said.

“Right now, I want to play for the Cougars. As far as in the future there’s no telling.”

Because of concussion symptoms stemming from the previous game against UTEP, Keenum was wary when he threw an interception to UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers in the Cougars’ 31-13 loss on Sept. 18. He said he wouldn’t have done anything different if he threw another.

“When I was chasing him down, I was actually thinking about my head,” he said. “I was thinking ‘don’t dive’ because I didn’t want to get kicked in the head or anything. I thought I would arm-tackle him, but it all happened pretty quickly.”

Keenum said he has received a flurry of calls from friends and family. Among well-wishers for Keenum was Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, who suffered a similar injury last season.

“He gave me a heads up on what’s coming, how to rehab and how to come back stronger,” Keenum said.

Despite being clearly disappointed, Keenum remains optimistic.

He said he expects the timetable for recovery to be the average time for most ACL injuries, which is approximately six months.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m going to get through it stronger,” he said.

“It’s going to be as quick as I can. I’m going to push the things I can push, and be careful with what I can be careful with.”

Head coach Kevin Sumlin said in this situation it is acceptable for Keenum to focus solely on himself, something he is not accustomed to.

“At this point he needs to make a decision based on Case Keenum, what’s best for him, which is a lot different way than he ever thinks.,” Sumlin said. “He’s always thinking about the good of everything else and other people.

“He’s done so much for this program and for UH. I told him ‘You don’t owe us anything. You have done a tremendous amount for this community on and off the field.’ You can’t put into words, dollars or the amount of publicity and pride he’s brought to the University.”

Keenum is one of two offensive team captains, as voted on by his teammates. Even though he won’t be on the field anymore this year, Sumlin said another player will not take Keenum’s spot as captain.

“He’s still a part of this team,” Sumlin said. “What he thinks, how he feels, how he’s able to talk is still important. He’s not done with us, and we’re not done with him.”

Keenum has expressed a desire to coach with the conclusion of his playing career. He received his first hands-on experience in Saturday’s game against Tulane. Along with his crutches, he could be seen on the sideline with a headset while assisting true freshman Terrance Broadway in his first start.

Keenum said he has confidence in both Broadway and freshman David Piland, and that they are more advanced as passers than he was as a freshman.

“It was definitely a different experience,” he said. “It was fun coaching those guys up. It’s good seeing those guys succeed. I think Terrance is a heck of a football player. He’s got a long way to get a whole lot better. David is a heck of a player too.”

“I know for a fact they’re a lot better along than I was at their age.”

Regardless of the result of Keenum’s situation, Sumlin said he thinks he will be a great coach when the time comes.

“He’s going to be successful no matter what happens,” he said.

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