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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Football

Houston coaching staff excited to see how Clayton Tune grows throughout 2020 season after solid start


UH junior quarterback begins his slide after a rush against BYU during last Friday's game at TDECU Stadium. Houston lost 43-26 after BYU took complete control of the contest in the final period. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH junior quarterback begins his slide after a rush against BYU during last Friday’s game at TDECU Stadium. Houston lost 43-26 after BYU took complete control of the contest in the final period. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Entering year two of a Dana Holgorsen offense means that the quarterbacks in the system are supposed to take a big leap. That was talk for junior quarterback Clayton Tune as Houston entered its second season under the ex-West Virginia head coach.

But for the 6-foot-3-inch Carrollton native, his 2020 season has been filled with strong offensive numbers that have made the Houston coaching staff excited to see how he can improve throughout the course of the entire campaign.

“I thought he was more poised,” Holgorsen told reporters on Monday morning via Zoom. “I thought his accuracy was off the charts good. His decision making was good.”

After struggling in the opening quarter against Tulane, in which he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and also fumbled the ball that was scooped up by another Green Wave defender that led to another score, Tune’s numbers have been strong. 

He has thrown over 300 yards in both of Houston’s games this season. He has six total touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) and he has only thrown two interceptions, both of which came in the first half against Tulane and one that came on a hail mary chunk before halftime.

While the sample size is small, Houston is fourth in the American Athletic Conference in total offense behind Central Florida, SMU and Memphis, with the latter two being ranked in the AP Poll.

Houston’s offense also more than held its own against BYU’s defense, who entered its game fourth in the nation in fewest yards allowed to its opponents.

“I credit that to the receivers and o-line,” Tune said postgame on Friday night. 

However, despite the strong offense output, Tune still sees plenty of room for improvement for the Cougars and it mainly has to do with consistency.

“We need to learn how to finish down the stretch,” Tune said. “It starts with me. I just need to trust the guys and trust that they are going to do their job when it counts.”

Houston has struggled to string together a completely dominant performance for an entire game. Against Tulane, the offense was solid for three quarters. Against BYU it was magnificent during the second and third quarters, but it has also had its rough stretches.

“I’m excited to continue to seem to progress,” said Holgorsen, who also agrees that there is room for improvement. “He is running too much (at times).”

While some of Tune’s struggles have been caused by a few breakdowns on the offensive line, Holgorsen said there have also been times when he has scrambled too early, which could cause Houston to potentially miss a bigger play.

Overall, Holgorsen has seen Tune make improvements in his reads and progressions while being able to make the throws all over the field. 

“Once we settled in and started rolling as an offense, I felt that I could make every throw and make every play that I needed to,” Tune said after the game against Tulane.

While Houston has shown its potential in flashes, the key is consistency, and Tune believes it starts with the Cougars’ aggressiveness.

“I feel like we’re kind of dipping our toes in the water and feeling out first and not just jumping right into it,” Houston’s quarterback said. “I think we need to have our mindset on just attacking from the jump.”

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