Wishbone offense presents challenge to Helton, Cougars

UH/C-USA Notebook

Mark Mayorga

For the Cougars this week, controlling the flow of the game as they did in their victory over the Memphis Tigers may not be as easy with Army marching into town.

In their first five games of the season, the Cougars were able to rely on their pro-style defense, which put pressure on the opposing teams' quarterbacks.

With this weekend's matchup against Army, the Houston style will have to be modified in order to deal with the wishbone.

"We have not seen or played against the wishbone, so sacking the quarterback and playing a professional style of defense will not work against Army," said head coach Kim Helton. "We'll need to go and do things differently and become a more disciplined team."

A team like UCLA and Army are on different sides of the spectrum in terms of the way they score, but they both have the ability to be just as explosive.

"When the wishbone is executed properly, there is no way to stop it," Helton said. "What you hope to do is contain it. So if the defense can come out of the game and only allow 14 points, then they will have had a great day."

As the wishbone makes its way to Houston, the Cougars are going to realize how the Cadets offense will affect the Cougars on both sides of the ball, as the Cougar offensive attack will likely see their number of possessions cut in half and have the defense left feeling the sting of constantly having to deal with the run.

"They've got four running backs in the backfield, basically one in which can throw. They call him a quarterback, but he is nothing but a running back," Helton said.

At this point in the season, a team that plays as physical as the Cadets may not be what the injury filled Cougars need.

"They're tough and physical, there is a lot of chopping and cutting going playing against them," Helton said.

The injury list shrinks/grows

As the Cougars' injury list has grown in the past weeks, it may be getting shorter, as linebacker Micah Malone may return to action this week. However, fellow linebacker Sam Hairston may miss this week's game due to a sprained right ankle.

Other possible returnees include Truett Novasad, Kenny Hill and tackle Charles Johnson.

Definitely out for the Army game are gaurd Greg Brown (left MCL tear), defensive end Mike Knepper (hamstring), wideout Kendall Williams (wrist fracture) and running back Vaughn Inniss (broken ribs).

Game of the Week

In the biggest game of this year's C-USA action, the Tulane Green Wave gained its second conference victory as it downed Southern Miss 21-7 in the Louisiana Superdome.

Though usually known for its high-powered offense, it was the Green Wave's defense that stole the show, forcing six turnovers and recording four interceptions.

Senior cornerback Alphonso Roundtree put the first points on the boards, as he collected the first interception and took it back for a 59-yard touchdown.

The win enabled Tulane to be ranked (25) in both of the national polls for the first time since 1979.

Upcoming in Week 6

Already with one loss to its credit in C-USA, Southern Miss has got its collective back against the wall in a must-win situation against Louisville.

The Cardinals are entering this game on a roll, as they have won their last three games including last week's 62-19 win over Cincinnati.

The Golden Eagles cannot afford to lose, as they will be faced with the reality of being out of the conference race with losses in the first two games.

C-USA Players of the Week

Leading Louisville to its third straight victory, quarterback Chris Redman broke his own Cardinal record and C-USA record for passing yardage in a single game when he completed 25 of 32 for 431 yards and four touchdowns.

He also rushed six times for 40 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run, as he totaled 471 yards of total offense.

Tulane grabs the defensive honor this week, as defensive back Alphonso Roundtree's six tackles, including five solos and an interception, are enough for him to get this accolade.

Bonehead Player of the Week

After fumbling a snap and trying to run the ball out of his own endzone, only to get tackled at the 1-yard line, Memphis' Ben Graves was up to no good once again. This time, in the Houston game, after he received the snap from center, he proceeded to down the ball instead of punting the ball away. For his antics the past two weeks, Graves gets the honor of being the first named to the Bonehead of the Week Club.

On the tube

Saturday: No. 19 Arkansas at Memphis, fX, 2:30 p.m.; Cincinnati at No. 24 Syracuse, ESPN2, 4:30 p.m.

Heltonism of the Week

Kim Helton on the United States Military Academy coming into Robertson this weekend:

"You have your worst nightmare coming to town with the United States Army and all that stuff they bring in: cannons, tanks, wishbones, wing bones, chicken bones and all kind of other bones."

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