March 5, 2011
The University of Houston football team saw unseasonably cool weather when they took to the practice fields for the first day of spring practice sessions. The team worked out for just under two hours in front of nearly 200 fans who wanted to get a first glimpse of the Cougar squad.
NEW COACHES BROKEN IN: Two new faces, or should we say voices, were noticeable at practice on Saturday. The defense welcomes new defensive line coach, Carlton Hall and new linebacker coach, Jamie Bryant. When asked what he thought of the coaches' first day, University of Houston head football coach Kevin Sumlin said, "Well you can definitely tell there is some coaching going on!"
WALK-ONS: With just three full classes of players out in any spring ball, the influx of walk-ons is vital for depth. There are 32 walk-ons listed on the 2011 spring roster, including 13 new players this semester.
"I am very happy with our walk-on program," said Sumlin. "There are a lot of guys on our team who came as walk-ons and we have given them scholarships. We've had some recruited and some that just showed up, but all them are so important to our program."
VETERAN QUARTERBACK GROUP: The Houston football team went from being one of the least experienced quarterback corps in the country with true-freshman David Piland playing eight games in 2010. Now as the team begins spring ball, three signal callers have game experience including sixth-year senior and Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum. Keenum won't be participating fully in workouts, which gives Piland and senior Cotton Turner the extra reps needed to improve. Sumlin remarked on Piland's bigger frame.
"I won't tell you what he weighed last year," said Sumlin. "But lets just say at 194 pounds, he gained a good 15 in the offseason."
INJURED PLAYERS: Six players will have limited availability for the Cougars this spring -- QB Case Keenum (knee), LB John McIntyre (knee), DB Zach McMillian (shoulder), DL Zeke Riser (knee), DB Nick Saenz (shoulder) and DL Radermon Scypion (leg).