Coronavirus Football Sports

‘We want a game’: UH football itching to return to action

Houston huddles up in the tunnel as it prepares to take the field against Tulane | Courtesy of UH athletics

The UH football team huddles up in the tunnel as it prepares to take the field against Tulane. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The Houston football team is scheduled to travel to Memphis, Tennessee, to take on the Tigers this Saturday at 11 a.m., at least as of now.

The team has faced three straight weeks of cancellations to its games. The Cougars’ last contest was on Nov. 14 against USF. Since then, matchups against SMU (twice) and Tulsa have been axed from their scheduled dates.

“Are you sure we’re playing Saturday?” UH head coach Dana Holgorsen jokingly asked in a Zoom call with reporters on Monday morning.

The Cougars have been one of the hardest-hit programs in the country with COVID-19, whether it was virus issues within UH’s program or its opponents’ program, leading to eight cancellations or postponements this season.

Coming off what Holgorsen called UH’s best win of the season against the Bulls, the Cougars have struggled just to get on the practice field.

While all the cancellations and postponements are frustrating for UH, Holgorsen understands that this has become the new norm with all the chaos that 2020 has presented.

“It’s just reality of where we’re at,” Holgorsen said. “I guess about 50 percent of the time this ends up working out, and we game-plan all week and then practice and then play. 50 percent of the time, at some point throughout the course of the week, we get the plug pulled on us.”

Holgorsen commended his players and coaches for how they have handled dealing with the ever changing situations regarding all of the Cougars’ schedule changes.

However, he also knows that time is running out to get games in and is working hard to ensure that not only his team’s game against Memphis gets played, but also is looking into to possibilities about adding one or two more games to UH’s schedule to make up for all the lost games from earlier in the year.

“I’d like to play Saturday (against Memphis),” Holgorsen said. “I’d like to play Saturday, (Dec. 19). Hopefully, we’ll maybe get one more in after that. At some point, this is going to stop and we’re going to run out of these opportunities. So let’s give it every effort that we can in order to get ready to play.”

Holgorsen said he has been working alongside athletic director Chris Pezman to try to schedule a game for Dec. 19 with any team that is willing to play.

“We want a game and we’ll play anybody,” Holgorsen said. “Whether that’s another conference opponent. If SMU’s ready to go, I’d do that … I hear Baylor’s still looking for a game, so I’d do that.”

But no matter how many games the Cougars end up playing to finish up the 2020 season, Holgorsen has emphasized one goal to his team — finish the year on the right foot. Something that UH has failed to do in its previous few seasons.

“We’ve talked a lot about finishing 2020 better than we did in 2019. Better than the University of Houston did in ’17 and ’18,” Holgorsen said. “So hopefully we have an opportunity to be able to do that. We will take any opportunity that we can to be able to play and finish the right way.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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