Five things we learned about the Cougars

Head coach Tony Levine has some serious work to do with the Cougars before they face of with Grambling State this Saturday. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Head coach Tony Levine has some serious work to do with the Cougars before they face of with Grambling State this Saturday. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

In the opening of TDECU Stadium, UH struggled in a 27-7 loss to UTSA on Friday. Here are five truths we learned after watching the 2014 Cougars for the first time.

1: The offensive line is an issue.

The Roadrunners sacked sophomore quarterback John O’Korn four times. Many other times during the game, O’Korn was forced to scramble before the play fully developed. The running game struggled, too.

Juniors Kenneth Farrow and Ryan Jackson, the top two running backs on the depth chart, combined for 35 rushing yards against the stout UTSA defense. After the game, head coach Tony Levine didn’t rule out changes to the starting line up.

“If we feel like there need to be any personnel changes, we’ll watch the film, talk as a staff and implement any changes this weekend,” Levine said.

2: UH’s two new starters at corner back look legit.

Juniors Lee Hightower and William Jackson both did a good job of tackling and in coverage. They both helped hold UTSA’s solid senior receiver Kam Jones to 17 yards and both made big tackles in space. The duo replaced last year’s starters Zach McMillian and Thomas Bates.

3: Sloppy offense put defense in bad spot.

The Cougars turned the ball over six times, including four interceptions and two fumbles. UH also had two turnovers on downs. It’s tough to win a football game after surrendering the ball to your opponent that many times.

After 2012, which included a nine-turnover game against SMU, head coach Tony Levine made winning the turnover battle a point of emphasis in 2013. It worked—the Cougars led the nation in turnover margin, which aided the team in reaching a bowl appearance.

If the Cougars continue to lose the turnover battle to this degree, the team could see another 5-7 season.

4: Junior receiver Deontay Greenberry is really good.

Greenberry seemingly won every one-on-one match up. He caught six passes for 96 yards, including a one-handed grab along the sideline in tight coverage.

5: QB O’Korn struggled, but he didn’t get much help.

O’Korn tossed four interceptions and lost one fumble, but the offensive struggles weren’t all his fault. I counted three drops by senior receiver Daniel Spencer. One was an anticipation throw that should have been a touchdown to tie the game. On the ensuing play, O’Korn forced a pass to Greenberry that was tipped then intercepted.

And the aforementioned offensive line allowed four sacks and didn’t open holes for the running game.

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  • When we have a multiple interception game, like we did with SMU and UTSA, shouldn’t there be a Plan B to fall back on. Or is our Plan B to try a new quarterback, if the 1st quarterback has 5 interceptions or the 4th quarter arrives, whichever comes first.

  • We also learned that we can’t manage the parking of more than about 3000 people either. Game day parking logistics was a nightmare and will scare off more than will ever come back.

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