March 22, 2011
HOUSTON -- The University of Houston football team returned to the practice fields on Tuesday after a 12-day spring break layoff. In full pads, the squad worked out for over two hours.
"You can do spring a number of ways," said head coach Kevin Sumlin. "But for us we wanted to get started and having a 12-day break could give players a chance to healed up if we had any tweaks in that first week. We are very healthy going into these final 11 practices.
"I would like to firm up all 22 starting positions soon, so we can really concentrate on getting better in the last three weeks. In the past we have been going into fall with 14 or 15 starters, but we aren't in that situation anymore. We have players in place."
Each day UHCougars.com will take a look at a specific position group and give fans an outlook for the 2011 season. Today we highlight the inside receivers.
SPOTLIGHTING THE OUTSIDE RECEIVERS: Despite losing All-Conference USA performer James Cleveland to graduation, the Cougars still have two very experienced players returning to hold down the inside receiver positions. Seniors Tyron Carrier and Justin Johnson provide not only game-tested experience, but leadership as well.
Carrier begins his third season as a starter and has caught passes in all 39 games of his collegiate career. With 2,535 yards receiving and 224 receptions he ranks in the school record books in both career categories. He averages 11 yards a reception and is responsible for 17 offensive touchdowns. Both Carrier and Patrick Edwards have a chance to do something no Cougar receiver before them has accomplished, putting together three seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving.
Johnson became a key player in 2010 after moving permanently to receiver from his previous role as the H back. While only catching 15 passes on the year, his late-season surge saw him score three touchdowns in the last five games. He averaged 15.0 yards a catch.
Backing up the pair of seniors is junior Ronnie Williams, sophomores Darian Lazard, Kenneth Bibbins, Aaron Johnson, defensive back-transfer Shane Ros and redshirt-freshmen Langston Williams and DeAndre Perry.
R. Williams, Lazard, Bibbins and A. Johnson all saw action in 2010, however primarily on special teams. Williams had two catches for six yards and Bibbins hauled in a 12-yard reception. Ros hopes to add to the depth on the field after moving over to the offensive side from safety.
SPRING BREAK NOTES: Senior defensive back Roisean Haynes has decided to forgo his fifth-year of eligibility and graduate in May with a degree in political science ... He was No. 2 on the depth chart at strong safety and with his departure, Chris Cermin moves into the spot behind D.J. Jones ... Junior offensive tackle Jacolby Ashworth lost five pounds -- of hair ... After three years of growing out his mane of dreads, he has trimmed the locks for the upcoming warm weather.
UP NEXT: The Cougars will practice for the second time of the week on Thurs., March 24 in the final tune up before a Saturday scrimmage at Robertson Stadium. The scrimmage will begin at 11 a.m. and is open to the general public. The annual Frontier Fiesta will be taking place on the West side of the stadium, so parking is encouraged on the East side.