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Saturday, December 9, 2023


Multiple Houston players day-to-day for matchup vs. SMU

Houston head coach scans the field during the 2020 season opener against Tulane at TDECU Stadium. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Houston head coach scans the field during the 2020 season opener against Tulane at TDECU Stadium. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Against USF, Houston was without a multitude of key players all across the roster, and while it was able to cruise to a win, it will be much tougher for the Cougars to repeat the same success against SMU if they cannot get some of those players back on Saturday.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen spoke with reporters via a Zoom conference call on Monday morning and he gave an update on where Houston’s roster is ahead of Saturday’s game.

“We had a couple of guys back last night that didn’t play (against USF),” he said. “Hopefully that trend continues and we get to play the people that are here on scholarship and that have played for years.”

Holgorsen did not go into detail into who those players are, but he did mention that the reasons they missed the contest against the Bulls had to do with both injuries and COVID-19 issues.

If the Cougars can get back just a few student-athletes back, it will be a welcome sight for UH.

Houston was forced to roll with many players that, under normal circumstances, would have likely not been relied upon as much as they were. Houston was one or two players away from having to postpone Saturday’s game, Holgorsen said.

Just how depleted was UH at the receiver position?  Holgorsen said Houston was down to only four scholarship players at wideout.

“We need to get some of those guys back,” Holgorsen said. “I’ve never dealt with that. You can’t be good in the passing game by putting people that the quarterback has never thrown to.”

When it comes to big names, senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson is on top of the list of key inactives. The 6-foot wideout has been sidelined with a leg injury since the game against UCF and he has missed the past two games.

While Holgorsen did not give a specific update, he said that Stevenson is day-to-day. The head coach also said that he hopes that senior running back Kyle Porter can return to the lineup against SMU.

Holgorsen did not provide an update on senior defensive lineman Payton Turner, junior linebacker Donavan Mutin or any other key players that missed the game against USF.

If Houston is short-handed again, it will be in a familiar position. Holgorsen reiterated on Monday that the Cougars need to embrace the “next man up” mentality.

Holgorsen said that he has been happy with how adaptive UH has been this season, especially in the last game against the Bulls.

Other positions that have been affected the most for UH are at linebacker and running back. In addition to missing Mutin, senior strongside linebacker Jovanni Stewart and Porter were also out, and Car, who was the starter for Saturday’s game at running back, reaggravated a lower-body injury.

Against USF, players like senior running back Chandler Smith, who had 75 yards on the ground, and senior safety Deontay Anderson, who had to move to strongside linebacker against the Bulls, showed how versatile Houston has had to be.

You just got to deal with it,” Holgorsen said. “Whether you have to put new guys in there or having guys change positions.”

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