Football Begins to Prepare for Cincinnati

HOUSTON -- The University of Houston football team returned to practice on Tuesday (Oct. 3), the team's first day back in action since defeating SMU last Saturday at O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. Cougar Head Coach Dana Dimel was pleased the team had an upbeat practice Tuesday, but said that was what he expected after a '7-'5 home win. Dimel stated his goal is to channel the positive attitude into a better week of preparation for a conference road game this Saturday.

"It was as good a first day as it has been in weeks," Dimel said. "Practice is always better right after you win and this was one of the best times it could have come for us. We have a crucial conference game at Cincinnati so everything about practice this week will have to be right.

"We're undefeated in C-USA and a road win is always a big step when playing a league-game," Dimel added. "Even a non-conference win last week could get us back on track. Today was another positive step."

Houston will be without junior tight end Tommie Baldwin this week after he pulled a tendon in his lower leg. Baldwin, who caught three passes against SMU, will be replaced on the depth chart by junior Grover Thompson and sophomore reserve Stephen Cucci. Cucci appeared to have his first career touchdown reception against the Mustangs, but the play was called back by a penalty. Dimel said Cucci's non-touchdown reception was "a good call, unfortunate for us and Stephen, but a good call." True freshman Choni Francis, a local standout from Westbury High School in Houston, will serve as the Cougars' new returner on punts.

The only other significant change was in the preparation itself. This week Dimel has been getting his Cougar players woken up early in the morning so the team will be more accustomed to the early start needed for the '':00 a.m. (central time) kickoff on Saturday.

The game is early in order to accommodate a live broadcast of the game by local television in Cincinnati. The game will not be televised in Houston.



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