April 18, 2009
HOUSTON, Texas - Looking to wrap up spring drills with the annual Red-White Game, the University of Houston football program instead had to head to the locker-room just 10 minutes into the game, when heavy rains, thunder and lightning scuttled the intra-squad scrimmage at Robertson Stadium. The heavy downpour brought an end to not only the scrimmage, but also spring practice.
Despite losing out on his final workout of the spring season, UH head coach Kevin Sumlin emphasized that he and his staff are pleased with the progression and to push for completion of the spring game could have backfired.
"In talking with our coaches yesterday and today," said Sumlin, "we know where we are as a football team. We've had 14 practices. We've had a bunch of live situations, (including) two scrimmages and one contact practice. So, we've come through spring football with minimal injuries.
"Then, to look at where we are right now with our progression today, we were really looking at (the scrimmage) as a developmental opportunity for the backup players anyhow. So, with Case (Keenum) he was only going to play a half, so we know where we are and we have a great idea of where we are right now as a team, and for us to push the injury envelope right now would not be very smart for us."
Houston had just two drives before the rains came. Keenum directed the first drive and completed four-of-five passes for 41 yards in reaching the White's 32-yard line before the drive stalled. Jordan Mannisto's 49-yard field goal was just wide right.
Then, with Cotton Turner directing the offense, the Cougars moved over midfield before Turner's pass was intercepted by Tim Mercer, who returned the pick 30 yards to the White's 45-yard line. Then, the skies opened up and the scrimmage was suspended for almost an hour-and-a-half. It was finally called when water began puddling up on the John O'Quinn Field turf, while lightning still cracked in the sky.
The Cougars open the 2009 season on September 5, hosting Northwestern State at 4 pm at Robertson Stadium. It is the first-ever encounter with the Demons, a Football Championship Subdivision team from the Southland Conference.