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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Football

The meeting that turned the 2021 UH football season around


Junior linebacker Donavan Mutin was one of a few Cougars who spearheaded a team meeting after week one that the team says turned the 2021 UH football season around. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Junior linebacker Donavan Mutin was one of a few Cougars who spearheaded a team meeting after week one that the team says turned the 2021 UH football season around. | Courtesy of UH athletics

After blowing a 14-point lead to Texas Tech in the season-opener, the Houston football captains, specifically Donavan Mutin, Deontay Anderson and Hasaan Hypolite, gathered the entire team together and spoke to them after the first practice following the loss.

They were tired of losing and refused to let the 2021 season turn out like the first two seasons under Dana Holgorsen had.

“We were tired of losing,” Anderson said when describing that meeting. “Our whole objective was we’re not losing no more. Period. That’s it. We’re not losing no more.”

Quarterback Clayton Tune remembers this meeting vividly, saying he saw new kind of team after that meeting

Mutin called that meeting the “turning point” of the 2021 season for the Cougars.

And its impact has been evident on the field even sense, as the Cougars have shown a new kind of energy and confidence on their way to stringing nine consecutive victories and clinching a spot in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.

Tune has been lights out, showing improved decision making as well as turning busted plays into highlight reels with his legs.

The offensive line has made progress week after week, giving Tune more time to make throws and opening up huge holes for the UH running back duo of Alton McCaskill and Ta’Zhawn, who have torn defenses apart in recent weeks.

The UH defense’s front seven has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

The secondary has continued to come up with interception after interception.

Marcus Jones has dazzled in the return game, forcing teams to avoid kicking to him at all costs.

“From that moment we haven’t skipped a beat,” Mutin said. “There’s been ups and downs, peaks and valleys but we haven’t skipped a beat.”

While bombarded by plenty of outside criticism, the belief that this team could not only be the best in the AAC but nationally relevant has always been within the UH locker room, according to Mutin.

Now it’s paying dividends as the Cougars are proving their doubters wrong, accomplishing what they knew they were capable of each week, no matter the opponent.

And the Cougars believe this is just the tip of the iceberg for what the program will accomplish.

“This is what’s supposed to happen,” Mutin said. “This is what we grinded for, sacrificed for, came together for, built a better bond for.”

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