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Monday, February 6, 2023

Football

Five things we learned about UH against UCF


The Cougars fell about six inches short of a signature win. When the ball slipped out of sophomore Greg Ward’s fingers with 24 seconds left in the game, so did UH’s hopes of defeating UCF.

The Knights earned a 17-12 win against the Cougars at TDECU Stadium on Thursday.

Here are five things we learned in the game:

1. The Cougars aren’t who we thought they were.

Before the season began, there were dreams of a BCS bowl and double digit wins. Now, it seems like becoming bowl-eligible could become a chore for the Cougars (2-3,0-1).

With road contests against Memphis and Cincinnati and an improving Temple coming to TDECU Stadium, UH has a tough path to competing in the American Athletic Conference.

Obviously, teams can improve, but the Cougars have a long list of issues to tackle, including turnovers, penalties and … the entire offense.

While many problems may be corrected in a sports context, UH has too many to fix midseason.

2. There’s no offensive identity.

Sometimes the Cougars want to be a power run offense, while in other spots the team wants to pick up the tempo for a finesse short-passing attack. While it’s good to strive for balance, the Cougars are in a weird middle ground where neither gets into a consistent rhythm.

The coaching staff is a big proponent of taking what the defense gives it, and that’s a fine strategy, but I would like to see the Cougars choose an identity and stick with it.

3. The quarterback position is up for grabs.

UH head coach Tony Levine announced that sophomore quarterback Greg Ward will replace John O’Korn as starting quarterback on Monday.

He said Ward earned the position through his play on Thursday. Ward brings more speed and elusiveness to the position, but Levine didn’t commit to Ward for the rest of the season.

“If you’re asking me who’s going to be the starting quarterback going to be three games from now, I can’t answer who the starting guard is going to be three games from now,” Levine said.

4. It wasn’t all John O’Korn’s fault.

The Cougars’ offensive ineptitude was a group effort. The high profile receivers dropped passes, offensive linemen missed assignments and the entire group was penalty-prone, especially in the red zone.

After you add some turnovers into the mix, the Cougars had little chance to win with that offensive effort. The entire unit needs to head back to drawing board.

5. If you’re going to talk trash you need to back it up.

I’m all for hubris.

Junior receiver Deontay Greenberry displayed it last week when he said UCF wasn’t that good last season.

But when you speak up, you need to do better than three catches for 26 yards. I think Greenberry is a great player who can play on Sundays, but he needs to have a bigger impact on the game.

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