Offense pushes tempo, seeks consistency
For the past three games, UH’s offense has not been where David Piland wants it to be.
Piland, the team’s starting quarterback, said the the Cougars must build a new norm to attain their goals.
“If you’re day started at 9 a.m., now you need to be up at 5 a.m. and be up here by 6 a.m. In that three hours you can (be) doing stuff up here to get better for the game,” Piland said. “If you have time for lunch you should lunch up here and watch film. If you have extra time after practice, where you would just go home and watch TV, do it up here. Do homework and watch film at the same time.”
This year UH’s offense has had its ups and downs, inconsistently bursting through the opponents’ defenses. Against Louisiana Tech, the Cougars scored 49 points, with 22 in the fourth quarter. In two other games, UH scored 19 points combined.
In all three losses, Piland orchestrated explosive scoring plays to different weapons. In the opening game against Texas State, it was a 64-yard touchdown pass to receiver Larry McDuffey. Amid Piland’s four touchdown passes versus Louisiana Tech was a 74-yard completion to receiver Daniel Spencer. Piland scrambled 86 yards for UH’s lone score in its most recent tussle with UCLA.
UH has not been able to supplement big plays with an offense that consistently has rhythm and threatens a defense.
Head coach Tony Levine said the recovery of the team’s injured players should help.
“We got healthy, which is big for us,” said head coach Tony Levine. “It’s great to see Charles Sims back as well as Kevin Forsch, Ralph Oragwu and Kent Brooks. Having guys back helps with energy, execution, tempo and most importantly, confidence.”
There are no limitations on running back Sims, while his backup, Ryan Jackson, is probable. Freshman receiver Andrew Rodriguez is also expected to play. Receiver Ronnie Williams is questionable, Levine said.
Levine said freshman receiver Deontay Greenberry, defensive backs Trevon Stewart and Colton Valencia will continue to start even with the roster restored to optimum health.
The running game could improve on 139-yards rushing against UCLA, 86 of which came on Piland’s touchdown run when the game was decided after returning their top two running backs and two starting offensive lineman.
Forsch said the offense will benefit from the bye week.
“We definitely took advantage of the open week. We got a lot better and got everybody healthy,” he said. “It worked out alright for us. We can come off the open week with a good push.”
Piland said the open week allowed for greater self-awareness along with an overall improvement in health.
“We got the bye week, evaluated ourselves and said, ‘this isn’t cutting it,’” Piland said. “And great teams go above and beyond the call. We’re excited to start moving in that direction.”