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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Football

Meacham coordinates wave of change for fast-paced offense


A new quarterback has been just one change offensive coordinator Doug Meacham has managed. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

A new quarterback has been just one change offensive coordinator Doug Meacham has managed. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

The UH offense is going backward in the best way possible, and it’s all because of a new coach.

With just seven games under his belt, new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham is striking up memories of former highly successful offensive coordinators.

However, while others are looking at the past, Meacham has his eyes set forward, focused on one thing: a championship.

“I want to win a college championship. That’s the first thing. And in college football, every week is a playoff,” Meacham said. “To me, in order to win a college championship, it’s imperative that you are 1-0 each week. In terms of taking steps to a championship, my overall goal each year is to be conference champion. That’s really where it all starts.”

His winning mindset is what triggers some players’ memories of former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who spent three seasons with the Cougars and served as offensive coordinator for two. In his final season with UH, Kingsbury enjoyed an offense that led the NCAA in virtually every offensive category.

He was recognized as the 2011 Offensive Coordinator of the Year before making the move with former head coach Kevin Sumlin to Texas A&M. Currently, Kingsbury serves as head coach at Texas Tech.

Junior offensive lineman Bryce Redman said Meacham is following in Kingsbury’s footsteps by instilling a certain mindset and high standards.

“(Meacham) is like a little bit more crazy version of (Kingsbury). He just gets a lot of energy going, and he’s a lot of fun to play for,” Redman said. “Mindset is the number one thing Coach Meacham has brought back — a mindset to go out and dominate. So I think the offense now has actually gone back to where it was when Coach Kliff was here. We just expect to score every time we have the ball.”

One key difference does exist between Meacham and Kingsbury, though.

During Kingsbury’s time as coordinator, his offense was led by veteran quarterback Case Keenum. Meacham has two true freshmen under center.

Kingsbury had Tyron Carrier and Patrick Edwards, both upperclassmen receivers. Meacham has Deontay Greenberry, Ryan Jackson and Kenneth Farrow as starters at skill positions — all sophomores.

But in Meacham’s eyes, the youth he has on the field is not a challenge or a setback. It’s an opportunity.

“It’s definitely good (that we have a lot of young talent) because it makes you go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. You can’t assume anything. It helps me stay abreast of what works, because you have go through everything piece by piece, since the players are so young,” Meacham said.

“It’s definitely been good for me to take a step back and look from the very beginning at how we have worked our way to where we are now.”

Meacham’s attention to detail is what sophomore running back Ryan Jackson said has made the difference for the offense.

“He is not the type of coordinator to just let us to do something the wrong way. He is always going to fix us on the little things. If we are messing up, we reload and get it right,” Jackson said.

“I think that’s what’s really helping us. It’s the little things he puts in our heads that are helping us do the big things.”

Before he was focusing on the little things for the Cougars, Meacham was focusing on Oklahoma State’s passing game and coaching the Cowboys’ inside receivers and tight ends. The offense averaged more than 40 points a game and consistently ranked seventh or better nationally in total offense.

Now at UH, with a young team and a hunger to win, Meacham allows himself to look past the next game for a second, past the desired championship and deeper into the future where he hopes that it is not himself, but the players who are conjuring up memories of the past greats.

“(The fans are going to see) our players develop and grow before their eyes. Maybe we’ll have some guys develop themselves to the point where you start thinking of the names of the past — Edwards, Carrier, Keenum,” Meacham said. “Maybe we will start a new legacy with these guys now.”

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