A fast start important to Cougar success

Head coach Tony Levine said it is imperative that the Cougars get off to a good start. Levine said scoring early gives the team confidence.

“It’s something we think about, talk about and we’ve changed practice up to work on. We look at a number of things in addressing this,” Levine said. “3-0 may not be considered starting fast, but it does something for our demeanor and our confidence. It’s something we need to do, and there are different ways of trying to achieve it.”

The Cougars had sluggish starts the past three games. Against ECU, Tulsa and Marshall, UH has trailed by 17 in the first half of each contest. Levine said getting off to a good start puts the team in a position to win, and seeing positive results early is best for both young and veteran teams.

“With success comes success; I’ve heard this said before that success breeds success. We’ve got to come out strong early and look to our other guys to become leaders. Regardless of age, positive and experience, we have to have guys who will step up.”

Injuries may have disrupted what UH has been able to do offensively early in the game. Against Marshall, redshirt sophomore quarterback David Piland didn’t play due to a leg injury. Redshirt senior quarterback Crawford Jones started in Piland’s absence. Jones threw for more than 300 yards and had five touchdowns.

Jones said Marshall is to be credited for UH’s slow start Saturday.

“We came out in the first half, and had a tough time getting it going,” Jones said. “Marshall played great defense, especially in the first half.”

Redshirt junior leading rusher Charles Sims was slowed by an ankle injury. Sims had only three carries in the contest. Redshirt freshman running back Kenneth Farrow led the team in all-purpose and rushing yards with 78 yards.

On the offensive line, senior Jacolby Ashworth was also injured and did not play. Junior offensive lineman DeAnthony Sims started in his place.

Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Rowdy Harper said the injuries have created depth.

“This year we’ve had a lot of injuries, but we have had guys step up. That’s what we’ve worked on all season: having guys step up in key roles,” Harper said. “I can only speak for the offensive line, but every guy that has come in has done a great job. I have complete faith in them to get the job done when called on.”

Piland said responsibility falls on the shoulders of the quarterback.

“Ownership wise, I’ll put the whole thing on me,” Piland said. “It’s a reflection of what I’m doing, but at the same time everybody has to perform.”


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