Sept. 4, 2007
The University of Houston football team began its bye week with a solid two-hour workout Tuesday afternoon inside the Yeoman Fieldhouse.
After heavy rain saturated the practice fields over the weekend and on Monday, the Cougars practiced in full pads inside. Following the practice, head coach Art Briles said he and his team were disappointed about last weekend's season-opening 48-27 loss at Oregon but had already put that setback behind them.
"We understand that our focus must be forward. Our demeanor and our intensity has to be positive and tough," Briles said. "We're preparing right now for us. Tulane hasn't played yet, so we really don't know what they're going to do or who they're going to do it with. We're just going to make sure that we work on the little things that we needed to improve from Oregon. We will jump in and start the game plan next week."
Despite the loss to the Ducks, the Cougars enjoyed several highlights in the game. Senior running back Anthony Alridge rushed for 205 yards and became only the fifth player in school history to top the 200-yard mark at least two times during their careers.
Making his first collegiate appearance, redshirt freshman quarterback Case Keenum threw for a game-high 179 yards on 14-of-27 passing, including an 86-yard pass to Alridge, the seventh-longest play in school history.
"We're definitely disappointed for not getting the win because we certainly felt like we could go up there and win the game," Briles said. "Our guys stayed very focused through a long flight in another part of the world. Their focus was good, and they performed at a high level. We have to cut out the mistakes and don't give up the big plays."
The team will work out Wednesday and Thursday, lift weights in the Elmer Redd Strength & Conditioning Center Friday morning and return to their regular schedule Sunday afternoon.
With the bye weekend coming in the second week of the season, the Cougars will close out the regular season with 11 straight games. While the Cougars played 12 straight weekends in 2006, Briles admitted that he wished the bye weekend came closer to the middle of the season.
"We know what we need to do right now, so we need to get on the field and do it. When we go to Tulane, it's going to be almost like starting over. We would like to get some continuity from week to week," Briles said. "But that's not the way that the cards were dealt. We will play the ones we got and make it work."
The Cougars continue their season at 6 p.m., Sept. 15, when they open Conference USA play against Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome. Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, Ted Pardee providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sideline. The pregame show is slated to begin one hour before kickoff.
Fans also can follow live stats over the Internet by clicking the "Gametracker" link at UHCougars.com.