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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Cougars have successful first scrimmage

Names like Darian Lazard, DeAndre Perry and E.J. Smith may not mean much to UH football fans now, but they gave their coaches plenty of reason to take note of them at Saturday’s first scrimmage of the spring season at Robertson Stadium.

The Cougars ran approximately 100 snaps. There were no injuries or scuffles, and some of the more inexperienced players received valuable playing experience.

“Our goal was to put our receivers and secondary people in some competitive positions to win,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said.

Quarterbacks David Piland and Cotton Turner split reps, while Chris Wilson received the most playing time at running back. When Piland was in the offense he tended to go deep, and with Turner in the offense steered toward short passes and running plays.

“We went from the most inexperienced quarterback team in the country to maybe the most experienced quarterback team in the country,” Sumlin said. “We have a lot of quarterbacks who know what they’re doing.

“They understand based on what happened last year that they’re a play away from playing. Our approach is the best player’s going to be played. Obviously we’re looking forward to getting Case back, but those two guys have to prepare themselves as if they’re the starter.”

The scrimmage simulated different situations. Some situations had the offense starting in the redzone, others forced the offense to drive the length of the field.

Receivers Lazard, Perry and Smith were targeted often on passing play, as Perry brought in two touchdowns, receptions and Smith had one.

“They’re learning, it’s a process,” Turner said. “We move fast on offense, so two weeks in I know their heads were spinning at first.”

After starting eight games as a true freshman, Piland said a focus in the weight room has led to a better presence in the pocket.

“The game has slowed down quite a bit,” Piland said. “I’m getting more comfortable back there so it’s a lot more fun.

“I’ve been trying to work a lot on some weight. Everyone always jokes with me about that, but with timing and the more you work the better it gets.”

The Cougars will practice three times this week before the second scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday at Carl Lewis Field.

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