Aug. 14, 2001
Going head-to-head for well over two hours this morning, the University of Houston Cougars conducted their first intra-squad scrimmage during fall preseason camp, and UH head coach Dana Dimel was impressed with the early performance of his squad.
Dimel was able to work not only his first and second teams, but he also grabbed a glimpse of the future of the Cougar program as the freshmen and walk-ons put in a hard day's work at Robertson Stadium. More importantly, the Cougars ran the ball extremely well, something Dimel has been stressing during the spring and this fall camp.
"The running backs did a nice job," said Dimel, "and it was good to see (true freshman) Anthony Evans playing well. Joffrey (Reynolds) is running great. C-Rob (Chris Robertson) is showing some versatility to what he is doing, and we are really pleased with Anthony.
"We are really pleased with our running backs. Offensively, it is now about polishing things up over the next 17 days."
Reynolds led all rushers with 108 yards and one touchdown on just 10 carries, while Chris Robertson finished with one score and 43 yards on nine totes. Evans added 37 yards on 10 carries, and backup quarterback Alvin Lee chipped in 24 yards on four rushes.
The Cougar defense held its own on the hot, muggy morning, registering a half dozen sacks and two interceptions to thwart the offensive drives. Sophomore Justin Davis led the way for the defense with several tackles and a big hit on Evans which resulted in a loss of four yards. Redshirt freshman cornerback Bobby Tillman came up with the big hit of the day, rolling back on a wide receiver screen to nail senior All-America candidate Orlando Iglesias.
Speaking of passing, six quarterbacks took snaps during the 120-plus play scrimmage. Junior Kelly Robertson directed the first team, and the Port Arthur native completed 11 of 21 passes for 104 yards and one score. He led the Cougars to a score on the opening drive of the scrimmage, completing the seven-play drive with a 27-yard touchdown toss to junior wide out KeyKowa Bell.
Junior college transfer Nick Eddy was eight of 18 passing for 114 yards, while true freshman Barrick Nealy accounted for the other scoring pass of the morning, hooking up with junior Nolan Strange for a 48-yard touchdown. Nealy completed two of seven passes for 54 yards, while the other true freshman, Blade Bassler, connected on one of five attempts for seven yards.
Receiving-wise, Strange led all receivers with 103 yards receiving and one score on just two catches, while Iglesias was tops in catches with four for 31 yards. Sophomore Brandon Middleton showed he is fully recovered from his broken arm a season ago, hauling in two highlight reel catches for 45 yards. Bell registered three receptions for 44 yards, while Chris Robertson and Evans both recorded two catches out of the backfield for 16 and 9 total yards, respectively.
The Cougars' other All-America candidate, junior wide receiver Brian Robinson, did not register a reception, however, he did account for an UH rushing touchdown when he took an end-around for a 19-yard scamper.
"We got a 120 snaps in, which is really good for this early in camp," added Dimel. "This is only our fifth day of practice. We were really pleased with the amount of reps we got.
"Obviously we wanted to look at our kicking game, and our kicking game was solid for us. This is extremely crucial for us.
"We got six quarterbacks some reps, which is good for us. This gives us an opportunity to evaluate and see where they are. And we were able to get some of our three some reps, to see what some of the younger players could do."
After a light workout this afternoon, the Cougars return to the grueling two-a-day schedule tomorrow with a 9:30 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. workouts tomorrow. Houston will hold scrimmage number two this Saturday, August 18, beginning at 11 a.m. at Robertson Stadium.