Wednesday Football Practice Report
Nov. 1, 2006
HOUSTON - The University of Houston football team continued preparations for its Conference USA West Division showdown Wednesday with a spirited two-hour workout under breezy and crisp conditions at the UH Athletics Complex.
"The cool weather really helps us get ready," head coach Art Briles said. "It was a pleasant afternoon to workout in."
Saturday's game with the Golden Hurricane concludes a three-game homestand as the Houston football program will honor its 17 seniors. Kickoff is on tap for 2:30 p.m., Saturday at John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. The game can be heard live on 790 AM the Sports Animal. The pregame show begins one hour before kickoff. Tom Franklin will handle the play-by-play duties, while former record-setting UH quarterback David Klingler will provide color analysis. Former All-Southwest Conference center Chuck Brown serves as the sideline reporter. All Cougar Football games can be heard live on the Internet by logging onto www.UHCougars.com.
Saturday's game also will be televised live on CSTV (DirecTV Ch. 610) with Carter Blackburn calling the play-by-play action and Brian Jones as the color analyst.
Houston (6-3, 4-1 C-USA) picked up its second consecutive home victory with a 51-31 whitewashing of UCF, while Tulsa (7-1, 4-0 C-USA) notched a 30-20 come-from-behind win over UTEP. The Golden Hurricane scored the final 24 points over the last 19:06 against the Miners.
"We realize that this Saturday is a big game where we need to have a lot of energy and excitement inside the stadium," Briles said.
Paul Smith spearheads a balanced Tulsa attack that averages 230.6 passing and 165.1 rushing yards per contest. Smith has thrown for 1,680 yards with 12 touchdowns against six interceptions this season.
"He's a smart player on the field," Briles said. "He also does a good job of making plays not only with his arm but his feet. Without a doubt in my mind, he's the key to their offense, and he does a good job of making it flow."
Courtney Tennial has churned out 510 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 4.8 yards per carry, while Idris Moss leads the receiving corps, hauling in 33 receptions for 543 yards. However, it has been Ryan Bugg, who has caught four of Smith's six touchdowns.
"Tulsa sprinkles in some more option and cutback runs into its scheme," Briles said. "It's going to be a great challenge for our defense to offset what their doing."
Linebacker Nelson Coleman anchors the TU defense, recording 61 tackles which include 25 solo stops. In the secondary, free safety Bobby Blackshire has a nose for the football with three of the unit's seven interceptions.
"Tulsa is solid in all three phases of the game," Briles said. "That's why they are a 7-1 football team and defending conference champions. "We're going to have our hands full, but we have a lot of confidence in our players."
Saturday's game marks the 33rd time that Houston and Tulsa will meet on the gridiron. The Cougars held off Tulsa for a 30-23 victory in the team's first meeting as C-USA rivals. Both schools were members of the Missouri Valley Conference from 1951-59 with the Cougars winning five of the nine meetings.