Aug. 7, 2007
HOUSTON - The University of Houston football team wrapped up its first week of practice Tuesday afternoon with a solid workout on the UH practice fields.
Working out in full pads for the first time in 2007, the Cougars practiced for about two hours during another day of steamy conditions. Despite the high temperatures and heat index, head coach Art Briles said he was pleased with his team's work through the first week.
"You get what you look for, and I always look for positive things. We found a lot of that today," said Briles, who enters his fifth year at UH in 2007. "We are a team that is growing. Our guys are making positive strides. I feel good about the people we've got and the way they are performing right now."
A year ago, the Cougars were looking to become Conference USA champions. As the team continues preparations for the 2007 campaign, it knows it earned the league crown in 2006, and that mindset has been prevalent in the early days of camp.
"If you believe you can, you can. We're not dealing in vision and hope. We are dealing with reality. They know that there are 12 universities vying to be Conference USA champions and we were it last year," Briles said. "Now, we have to fight like heck and defend it this year. The challenge is in front of us."
After only a week in camp, the race for the starting quarterback nod remains up in the air. Sophomore Blake Joseph, redshirt freshman Case Keenum and senior transfer Al Pena have performed well with the offense, giving Briles and his assistant coaches some early headaches.
"These guys make it real tough on us. They are doing a great job. They are all intelligent, performing on the field with a great attitude," Briles said. "It's a great position for us to be in, but it is a tough situation. We have three guys that could go out and win us football games."
The Cougars will take Wednesday off from the practice field to concentrate on the final days of summer school. However, players will continue to attend position meetings and work out in the weight room.
The Cougars open the 2007 season at 2:30 p.m. (CDT), Sept. 1 when they meet Oregon in Eugene. UH opens its home schedule at 3:30 p.m., Sept. 22 against Colorado State in a game televised live nationally on CSTV.