Cougars begin next season’s work in spring practices
The spring football season is the first official way that coaches, fans and players can officially bid farewell to the previous season.
For some players, it’s the beginning of the end of their college careers. For others, it is their first opportunity to make an impact on the team.
The season is divided between 12 practices, two scrimmages and finishes with the spring game. It gives redshirted freshmen and transfers their first chance to bond with new teammates while adjusting to different philosophies and surroundings.
For the 23 seniors, it is their final go-round of spring football at UH.
“It’s an up-and-down feeling,” linebacker Marcus McGraw said. “You’re kind of excited it’s your last season, but you’re kind of bitter about it because you’re going to miss the college days.
“It reminds me of high school all over again, the senior season just rolls around so quick and before you know it, it’s here.”
The spring season began Saturday. Yesterday’s third practice was the first day of contact with full pads.
Among some of the new faces, the defense is welcoming two transfers from Navarro Junior College, defensive backs Chevy Bennett and D.J. Hayden. Early on, the pair has performed well in practices.
“If they give up a play they get mad,” McGraw said. “That’s the kind of mentality we want on our defense — to not give up anything and try to take everything”
The offensive line, nicknamed “The Brick Squad,” lost three of its founding members last season in Jordan Shoemaker, Isaiah Thompson and Roy Watts. The coaches will have plenty of young talent to choose from as the replacements.
“Ty Cloud, Blake Sargent, Ralph (Oragwu) and Rowdy (Harper) have done a good job so far,” running back Bryce Beall said. “They’re young, this is the chance to get their feet wet and learn this offense while growing up a little bit too. I’m excited to see how they grow.”
The Cougars will practice again Thursday. The first scrimmage is March 6 at Robertson Stadium, and the second will be at 10 a.m. April 2 at Carl Lewis Field.
The annual Red and White game is at 2 p.m. April 9 at Robertson Stadium.
Plenty of work lies ahead of the team, and it will have to endure five more months of preseason hype. But the overall goal is the same as every season before.
“It’s about starting and finishing,” Beall said. “Our goal is to win a conference championship. I truly believe we have the team to do it and we’re going to work hard to accomplish that.”