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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Football

Cougars need patience, King to catch Houston magic


King

Sophomore D’Eriq King celebrates a touchdown with Duke Catalon at TDECU Stadium against SMU this season. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

The professional sports franchises in Houston are enjoying a resurgence after what must have felt like a curse on the city over the last few years.

If it wasn’t the “Based God’s Curse” on James Harden for stealing his sign, then it was Texans head coach Bill O’Brien flip-flopping between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. It has not gone well for Houston over the years.

But things have turned around this year for the Bayou City. It couldn’t have come at a better time for southeast Texas after Hurricane Harvey left a path of destruction that left homes ravaged and lives destroyed.

Rookie sensation Deshaun Watson is bringing hope to a Texans franchise that has been stuck in quarterback hell since the franchise’s conception in 2002 when David Carr was the first overall draft pick.

Veteran guard Chris Paul has brought hope to the Rockets after years of relying on one superstar who has not been able to carry the team to a championship. Year after year of playoff appearances that end in the first or second round is now a thing of the past with the hope of a new star to help Harden take the team to new heights.

The Houston Astros are currently in the World Series and hope to win their first title in franchise history. They have been resurgent with veteran second baseman Jose Altuve and recently acquired pitcher Justin Verlander.

Professional sports are at an all-time high. The college level is another story at the University of Houston. Heading into Week 9 nursing a 4-3 record wouldn’t be so bad if the Cougars’ next game on the road wasn’t against the No. 17 South Florida Bulls on Saturday.

Expecting an upset would likely be a longshot after the team couldn’t corral Tulsa who have struggled all year and have only two victories this season.

The inaugural season in the Major Applewhite era has turned out to be a dud so far. Although it may seem bad now, realize that the Astros, Rockets and Texans have all seen their fair share of heartache over the years to get to were they are now.

What Houston fans need is patience for the team to grow and learn under the tutelage of Applewhite. They also need a star player or two to take charge and put the team on their shoulders to make them competitive and dynamic.

It hasn’t been that long since Greg Ward Jr. made every play exciting for the Cougars. Either on the ground or through the air, having a dynamic player like Ward meant the game would be interesting no matter who the opponent was.

The worst part about losing Ward for the Cougars will be losing his dynamic playmaking ability. The best part is that they already have someone on the roster who can replace him.

D’ Eriq King may not be the starter yet, but he will be primed to take over the position once Applewhite comes to his senses and realizes that the only way they  can be competitive is if we have him under center.

King is a perfect replacement for Ward and one of those type of players who can make a difference and bring them from a losing team to competing for the American Athletic Conference.

King has appeared in five games this season and already produced 492 receiving yards, 102 rushing yards and a throwing touchdown. This season might not even produce a bowl game, so starting King to see what he can do will only help Applewhite decide what he will do next season with the quarterback position.

Although everything seems lost this year, time will tell if the Cougars can catch the same magic as the Astros, Texans and Rockets.

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