Quarterback battle highlights summer practice

Everyone was focused on the quarterback position on Saturday when UH fans got the chance to watch their Cougars take the practice field for the first time since the annual spring game in April.

Freshmen quarterbacks John O’Korn and Greg Ward and junior transfer Billy Cosh took the practice field for the first time. O’Korn, Cosh, Ward and sophomore Bram Kohlhausen are challenging junior David Piland, last year’s starter, for the job.

Even though they were in shorts and helmets, there were a handful of occasions that drew attention for the quarterbacks during drills in terms of mechanics, technique and footwork.

When the quarterbacks eventually took the field for team drills, each showed what they brought to the table.



Piland, the most experienced candidate, was accurate on the majority of his throws. He continued his strong offseason — Piland passed for four touchdowns during the spring game.

“There’s a guy or two that has an advantage because he’s been here, and knows the system. The new guys are going to make mental mistakes because of the speed and how we do things offensively,” said offensive coordinator Doug Meacham. “We have to judge their ability, and see what they can do long term. For the first week to 10 days these guys will be evaluated individually.”

Cosh had some nice throws and made the right decision on the majority of plays during the scrimmage. Whenever Cosh saw the defensive backs in the right position, he often checked the ball down to his running back in the flats.

As for O’Korn, he may have impressed the most, as he stood tall in the pocket with his 6’3” frame and had zip on the ball as he threw accurate balls down the middle, including one to a receiver on a drag route between two defenders. It was a tight window and one of his more impressive balls thrown throughout the evening.

While Piland, Cosh and O’Korn draw the most attention, Ward flashed the ability that made him the No. 3 quarterback in the state, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. His 4.5 second 40-yard dash speed showed when defenders closed in on him. He quickly turned up field to escape them.

Head coach Tony Levine said he will make a decision on the starter within two weeks.

“We’ve talked to those guys and they know that they’re being evaluated on everything. We certainly will chart their completions, their interceptions, their percentages at practice, their decision making at practice, but they are being evaluated in their leadership, in how they stretch when they get out on the field, in everything they do over the next few weeks,” said Levine at UH’s media day press conference on Saturday.

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