Cougar Football Practice Notes
HOUSTON (Sept. 19) - The University of Houston football team practiced behind "closed doors" on the fields behind the Athletics Alumni Center Tuesday (Sept. 19) afternoon in preparation for their road game Saturday against Big 12 rival Texas.
In the longest practice this year (two hours, forty minutes), head coach Dana Dimel and his staff focused on halting the Texas running game and their action pass game. "We think our team has learned so much from the last few games and now it's time to put it all together," said Dimel. "We're spending a lot of time trying to stop Texas' running game and putting a lot of emphasis on that because we know that after their performance last week (at Stanford) that they're going to come back and emphasis the running game. So it's going to be important for us to be successful on first downs against them and try to keep them away from those situations."
Offensively for the Cougars, the focal point will be balancing the passing and running games. The running game received a boost against Army last Saturday following sophomore running back Joffrey Reynolds' 201-yard rushing effort, and senior quarterback Jason McKinley, who is currently ranked as the number one passer in the country, passed for over 300 yards for the third straight game. Yet, while both the running and passing games have had success at times all year, getting them to work consistently together from week-to-week is the key.
"We have to be able to run the game against Texas, so we really focused on trying to gain momentum from what we accomplished last week in rushing," said Dimel. "We want to get that consistency back in the offense and the balance between the run and pass mix, that's what we're going for." While the most popular questions asked to Dimel and his players this week so far has been what they expect going into Austin and playing at Memorial Stadium this coming weekend, Dimel is quick to answer. "They're going to be ready play, but we're going to be ready to play. A lot of people say that they're (Texas) going to be fired up coming off that loss, well, our team is going to be fired up, too. This is a big ball game for us."
This Saturday may see the return of junior tight end Jonathan Pritchett, out with a stress fracture, and senior wide receiver Kendall Williams, out with an ankle sprain, back in the line-up for the Coogs. Both have been practicing this week and are listed as day-to-day.
And finally, Reynolds was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week.