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Tuesday, August 9, 2022


For Coogs, preparation is key

The Cougars gang tackle Rice freshman Luke Turner. | Rebekah Stearns/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars gang tackle Rice freshman Luke Turner. | Rebekah Stearns/The Daily Cougar

Head coach Tony Levine said UH helped secure a victory in the Bayou Bucket over the bye week.

“They get so invested in preparation that they refuse to lose the game,” Levine said. “When you go into an exam as a college student, and you feel prepared and you’re confident that you know the answers to the test you are about to take, you perform well. That’s what you saw this (Saturday).”

Their pre-planning resulted in a 35-14 victory over Rice at Reliant Stadium on Saturday and helped the Cougars attain balance offensively. Junior running back Charles Sims rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns while redshirt sophomore quarterback David Piland threw for 361 yards through the air.

Piland said the balanced numbers were a result of the hard work the team put in before the game.

“It again goes to preparation. How we prepared this week and our understanding of what to do, what the look was, where the ball would be and just that kind of understanding really put us over the top this week. You get a confidence when you’ve seen it 50 times,” Piland said.

Levine was impressed that players took on the responsibility to improve in areas where they were struggling.

“What I saw our guys do the last two weeks which they haven’t done is get together,” Levine said. “I’d be up there in the morning at 6:30, and there’s 20 guys watching videos at 7 a.m. on their own. When I pass by our Carl Lewis Auditorium, there’s 20 players on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with no set up by a coach, (and) no coach in there with them.”

The difference in both offense and defense this week compared to the previous 37-6 loss is large. UH scored 29 more points on offense and gave up 23 less on defense against Rice.

The Cougars have particularly struggled in the first and third quarters of their first three contests. UH has been outscored 42-16 in the first and 34-10 in the third. Against Rice, UH won the first and third quarter by 14 points combined.

Throughout the week, Rice’s starting quarterback Taylor McHargue was a gametime decision. It was unclear if McHargue or redshirt freshman Driphus Jackson would start. Jackson was inserted into the line-up after McHargue injured his shoulder against Marshall.

Senior linebacker Phillip Steward said extra preparation allowed the team to play fast and anticipate the challenges that both players bring.

“We were prepared for both of them,” Steward said. “It didn’t make a difference on defense what we were going to do. Either quarterback, we were going to put pressure on them because that’s what we do as a defense. It didn’t matter who started tonight, we were going to come after them. We stuck with the same game plan we had all week.”

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