Spring Ball Set To Commence With Coaches Clinic and First Workout

    Two offensive returning starters, wide receiver James Cleveland and offensive guard Chris Thompson, will hit the field on Saturday for the first workout of the spring.
    Two offensive returning starters, wide receiver James Cleveland and offensive guard Chris Thompson, will hit the field on Saturday for the first workout of the spring.
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    March 24, 2010

    Houston, Texas - Spring football officially begins this Friday, March 26, when the University of Houston coaching staff conducts its annual two-day Coaches' Clinic, to be immediately followed by the first spring practice on Saturday morning.

    "We are excited about the opening of football in conjunction with our high school coaches' clinic which starts off Friday," UH head football coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We start with our clinic on Friday with several high school coaches, and then we have Frank Bush, the defensive coordinator with the (Houston) Texans and our staff speaking Friday night. Then, Saturday morning we get going with Larry Jackson doing a strength and conditioning demonstration for the coaches, then we have meetings and then we are on the field.

    The Cougars are slated to hit the field around 11:45 am on Saturday morning, with a two-hour workout in shorts penciled in. Houston is slated to practice several times a week leading up to its annual Red-White game on Saturday, April 24 at Robertson Stadium. The Cougars also have two scrimmages planned on Saturday, April 10 and Saturday, April 17. Practices are closed to the general public but scrimmages are open.

    "We pushed spring football back a while because we thought it was important to utilize our strength and conditioning program to gain some weight and strength," the 2009 Conference USA Coach of the Year added. "Also, we have a new scheme on defense, so we need to take this time to evaluate personnel with this new scheme, and continue to execute on offense and develop depth across the board on offense.

    "I think we have a solid core of guys on offense, but we have to find some guys who are ready play, not necessarily starting, but playing significantly during the year."

    The Cougars finished 10-4 last season, captured the West Division title of Conference USA and played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl while sporting the nation's most prolific offense in terms of total offense (563.4 yards per game), passing offense (433.7 ypg.) and points scored (42.2 points per game.) Houston ascended in the national polls in 2009, reaching as high as No. 12 during the season while knocking off three BCS Automatic Qualifying schools (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State) along the way.



    Houston returns 16 starters from last year's squad, highlighted by senior quarterback Case Keenum who was the 2009 Conference USA Most Valuable Player and Sammy Baugh Quarterback Award winner, as well as a finalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, Manning Award and the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year. Keenum finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy balloting while becoming only the second quarterback in NCAA history to post two seasons of 5,000-yard passing when he threw for 5,671 yards and 44 touchdowns last fall.

    The Cougars also have wide receivers Tyron Carrier, James Cleveland and Patrick Edwards returning-a trio that recorded only the fourth set of 1,000-yard receivers in NCAA history-as well as sophomore running back Charles Sims, who was the 2009 Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

    The defense returns seven starters, including junior linebacker Marcus McGraw who racked up 156 tackles last season. Junior safety Nick Saenz also is back, one year removed from his 114-tackle performance in 2009.

    The Cougars begin the 2010 season by hosting Texas State on Saturday, Sept. 4, on John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium.


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