Aug. 13, 2001
With several key positional battles in full swing the University of Houston football team moved into its second week of preseason practice today, and Cougar head coach Dana Dimel anticipates a competitive week ahead.
Officially the Cougars have been on campus for a week, with the last four days spent entirely on the practice field. Dimel has led his charges through a variety of drills and fundamentals leading up to tomorrow intra-squad scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. at Robertson Stadium-the first of three during fall camp.
Outside of the heated competitions amongst his squad, Dimel also has had to handle the usual bumps and bruises associated with the beginning of the collegiate football season. Dimel knows its just part of the game.
"We're getting through Day Four, and we're having the obvious (injuries) that happen during camp," said Dimel. "The guys are getting the minor nicks and bruises, and right now it has hit our tight end position more than any other position.
"Once one player goes down, we get the domino effect (in which) the other ones get too many reps, and they fatigue out. That's what we're going through right now."
On Friday the Cougars lost starting tight end, junior Jonathon Pritchett from Friendswood, for a week to 10 days with a minor knee strain. His backup, sophomore Kyle Brown, missed the last two days of practice with a mild back strain. Coupled with last year's starter, junior Stephen Cucci, on the sidelines recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, the Cougars have only one healthy tight end, senior Grover Thompson, who have on field experience at the crucial tight end slot.
Both Pritchett and Brown are due back on the field by next week, which is good news to Dimel. Other than the minor depth problem at tight end, Dimel is pleased with his team's progress to this point.
"I'm really pleased with the way the running game is evolving," added Dimel. "We still have to polish up the passing game, but that can be expected this early in camp.
"Defensively, we've doing a great job. Right now the biggest thing on defense is trying to develop our twos. We feel really comfortable with our ones (starters), and we're trying to keep them healthy, obviously, and we're trying to bring our two along."
As for the quarterback situation, Dimel is trying to spread the repetitions around among all six quarterbacks, something Dimel has stressed is "a continuing competition."
As mentioned the Cougars have their first official scrimmage of the fall preseason tomorrow at Robertson Stadium. UH also will scrimmage one another on Saturday, August 18, as well as the final team tune-up before the Rice game on Saturday, August 25.