Volume 6, Issue 1 University of Houston
Briles says Cougars ready for bowl
By Tom Carpenter
While the Bowl Championship Series plays out like a game of chess between Deep Blue and Common Sense, Houston football head coach Art Briles goes about the business of preparing for the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Day.
Both UH football teams, the Cougars and the Hawaii Warriors, became bowl eligible against the hapless Army Black Knights. But both teams will take a bowl berth any way they can get it.
"Football in December is not a bad deal," Briles said. "We like that there is a little chill in the air. The thing I like is that we're just getting better. We're better right now than we were two weeks ago when we played UAB."
Senior wide receiver Brandon Middleton set a Conference USA record with 1,225 receiving yards and caught 14 touchdown passes this season.
Nathan Lindstrom/Breaking News
The 56-28 victory over Alabama-Birmingham on Nov. 29 gave the Cougars a 7-5 overall record, qualifying them for their first bowl since 1996.
"That is what really inspires us as a staff and a team," Briles said. The Cougars haven't had to change their game plan much for Hawaii, Briles said.
"We'll basically stay the same," Briles said. "We pulled off from practice a bit because we've been doing this gig since Aug. 5. If we don't know it by now, we're not a very good team."
The Cougars returned to the practice field Sunday and should have three days to work out in Houston before departing for Honolulu on Friday. Houston will arrive in Honolulu around 4 p.m. Friday and will begin practices at Aloha Stadium the next day.
In the weeks since the end of the regular season, the Cougars have received individual honors to complement their team success. Conference USA selected seven UH players for its all-C-USA teams, including senior wide receiver Brandon Middleton and senior center Rex Hadnot, who were selected to the C-USA First Team.
In addition, five freshmen earned spots on the C-USA All Freshman Team.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb was selected as the C-USA Freshman of the Year,
and was named National Freshman of the Year by College Football News magazine.
Briles said the individual honors were a tribute to the winning attitude of the entire Cougar team.
'"The main thing that helps us more than anything else is that we get this extra time to work with all of our players, young ones included," Briles. "We can grow as a team from that.
"Now what we'll try to do as a team schematically and preparing for the game is just try to polish up on some things. We have to make sure we have a sense of urgency about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done and how it needs to be done."
The game begins at 7 p.m. Dec. 25 and will be televised on ESPN. Breaking News will have full coverage.