Dana Holgorsen’s UH team likely to be shorthanded vs. USF
Despite UH losing its last two games, head coach Dana Holgorsen remains optimistic about the rest of the season but will have to overcome another obstacle on Saturday.
“We’ve lost to a couple of really good teams,” Holgorsen said during his weekly radio show on Thursday. “But I think our guys are going to be ready to rebound.”
One thing the program is not used to dealing with is the ever-changing roster with players going in and out due to injuries and other things as it tries to navigate through a season during the coronavirus pandemic.
“2020 has just been such a different field when it comes to going in there not expecting who’s going to be available,” Holgorsen said. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
Whether players were out due to an injury, the hiccups or COVID-19 guidelines, the Cougars have learned to adjust each week and is something that the team will need to do again when it faces USF as Holgorsen said that multiple of his players will likely be unable to play on Saturday, which will open up a lot more playing time for the true freshmen on the roster.
“We deal with it,” Holgorsen said. “Our program is dealing with it the right way and we coach who’s there.”
While the team is constantly fluctuating, Holgorsen feels this is no excuse for the players to perform at a lower level.
“The bottom line is that we have to get out there and we have to play a little better,” he said.
This mindset was showcased recently with senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson sitting out due to an ankle injury during the matchup against UCF.
“We just expect [junior wide receiver] Bryson Smith to go in there and play up to what his potential is,” Holgorsen said.
Holgorsen does not expect the game plan to ever change, as the team is solid and heading into its game against USF.
“We don’t really change … who you are is who you are,” he said.
One of the aspects that Houston has committed to this season is in getting the running game going, and as a result, Holgorsen has had to rely more on the offensive line, which has been scrutinized plenty this season and has been affected by constant movement.
After the loss against Cincinnati, Holgorsen took a closer look at the line.
“We’ve got to do a better job blocking … it’s a work in progress,” the head coach said.
With a younger group at the position, the program has had to hone in on increasing the players’ progress.
“At UH, we’ve got some young and inexperienced guys that we’ve got to count on,” Holgorsen said. “We’re going to develop them the right way.”
Part of the reason behind increasing the run was to protect junior quarterback Clayton Tune in some instances, like against the Bearcats defense.
“That’s a guy that can sit back there and do just about anything you want him to,” Holgorsen said.
Looking ahead to USF, Holgorsen wants his team to jump out to a quick start, which is something that it has not been able to do all season long.
The Cougars have not had the lead after the first quarter in any game this season.
For the head coach, he wants to see improvement from week-to-week, and that has been his message heading into the game against the Bulls.
“It’s about us being able to get a little bit better this week,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of things to work on.”