Football Holds Workout Inside on Wednesday Morning
Dec. 26, 2007
HOUSTON - The University of Houston football team held its final practice Wednesday afternoon in preparations for the 2007 Texas Bowl against TCU on Friday at Reliant Stadium.
Rain moved through the Houston area Thursday morning, forcing the team inside the Yeoman Fieldhouse. Despite the inclement weather, the Cougars worked out in shorts for about an hour before calling it a day. Following practice, interim head coach Chris Thurmond said he was pleased with the team's progress.
"We had a good practice today. Any time you come inside and you have a short kicking game with a scripted practice, you have to stay focused," Thurmond said. "We've talked about what we needed to do and what we wanted to accomplish. They did a good job."
Although the routine practice schedule is altered when the team is forced to move inside, Thurmond said the Cougar players showed no ill effects from the change.
It doesn't hurt you. You just have to adapt to whatever you've got," Thurmond said. "You just have to make whatever situation you are in work, and that's what we did."
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, David Klingler and Ted Pardee providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sidelines. 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.
The game also will be televised live on the NFL Network (DirecTV channel 212/Dish Network channel 154) with Brad Sham calling the play-by-play action, Charles Davis and Mike Mayock providing color analysis and Kimberly Jones on the sidelines. It will be the sixth time this season that the Cougars will play on television.
The game also will be broadcast live on Westwood One Radio with Don Criqui handling play-by-play duties and Allen Pinkett as the color analyst.
The Cougars will be looking for their first bowl victory since a 35-0 win over Navy during the 1980 Garden State Bowl. Thurmond said he and his assistant coaches know what the Cougars must do to be successful against the Horned Frogs, but they are the same things they have been teaching all season.
"It's the same things that always give you a chance to win. It's not a magic thing that you do to win games," Thurmond said. "You have to take care of the football. We have to make plays and not give up big plays. We have to play well on special teams. We have to anticipate sudden changes when the game tempo changes. We have to do a good job defending the option. We've got to do those things and perform at a high level because TCU is a really good football team."
Following practice and a meal inside Cougar Hall, the team will enjoy some down time at the hotel before taking part in their first bowl activity.
Both players and coaches enjoyed police escorts to the George Ranch Historical Park where they joined team members from TCU in a Rodeo Bowl. The teams participated in a variety of playful rodeo events and enjoyed a traditional Texas Bar-B-Q for dinner.
Prior to eating, selected Cougar players joined together to herd calves into a pen, barrel race on wooden horses, toss lassos around horses made of hay and brand a calf with a stencil dipped in chalk.
The Horned Frogs grabbed a narrow victory in the Rodeo Bowl with the Cougars winning the barrel racing and branding competitions.
On Thursday, Thurmond will join TCU head coach Gary Patterson at a coaches' press conference at Morton's The Steakhouse prior to the team's walk-through at Reliant Stadium. From there, the 2007 Cougar seniors will travel to the DePelchin Children's Center - the Bowl's charity beneficiary -- where they will visit families from the adoption program.
At 5 p.m., Cougar fans are invited to join the team at the Hyatt Regency Downtown (1200 Louisiana St.) for a pep rally. The UH Marching Band, cheerleaders and Cougar Dolls will be on hand, and fans can receive Texas Bowl commemorative posters for player autographs. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.