Wednesday, September 19, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 20


Cougars plan to rustle Longhorns

By Tom Carpenter
The Daily Cougar

Men have gone to the moon and back in less time than it's taking the Cougars to play their second game of the season.

Like those daring astronauts, the Cougars hope they'll be hitting on all cylinders or they may find themselves marooned at 0-2 and looking for

"We've had three weeks to practice. It'll be 21 days from the first ball game to the second game," Cougar head coach Dana Dimel said. "Our
football team has become a lot better through the practices. The practices have been very intense, hard-nosed practices, getting ready for the
Georgia game which was postponed as we all know, and now getting ready for the Texas game.

"It's made us a better football team because we know the level of talent we'll be playing. We know it's a really good football team."

Dimel believes if the Cougars can keep errors to a minimum, his gridiron warriors can pull off a cosmic upset and send the Longhorns back to
Austin with their tails between their legs.

"If we go into this ball game, I think our strategy definitely needs to be to eliminate the unforced error and try to limit the opportunities for them to
score points off our mistakes," Dimel said.

That could very well be the only way the Longhorns won't score.

Against North Carolina, the lads from Austin scored on offense, defense and special teams many times.

But enough about the bad boys from Austin, the football preview Thursday will sing their praises -- not.

The Cougars don't seem the least bit intimidated by their country cousins from the cow patch.

"We think our football team will be ready to play a great game. We don't think the first week was indicative of what this football team is all about,"
Dimel said. "We think this football team is going to get better and better as each week of the season goes on. We know that's going to happen
and one of these days this team is going to break through."

In order to break through, the Cougars will have to mount at least a semblance of a running game.

Running back Leif Penn said he's champing at the bit to take the field against the No. 5-ranked team in the nation.

"I'm looking forward to the game," Penn said.

The Longhorns blew out the Cougars 48-0 in Austin last year and mosey into Houston ranked No. 5 in the nation, but Penn didn't seem fazed by
either fact.

"No way will it be a repeat of last year. It's going to be a real good game from start to finish," Penn said.

The senior running back said he relished the "big game" atmosphere and the hostile crowd in Austin.

"Me personally, I love big crowds. It doesn't really affect me," Penn said. "It's more of a motivation. All these people are against you, let's do
something to shut them up. I live for stuff like that."

The Longhorns have many weapons to choose from when they take the field. That's a fact.

The Cougars are looking for that same type of production from their players.

"We're really, really close to breaking through with this football team and we're hoping this week can be a big week for our program to do that,"
Dimel said. "I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that having Texas come on to our campus for this ball game is definitely a big day in the
University of Houston football program. It's the first time they're coming on campus.

"What we want to do is make this a day our players can look back on in 15 or 20 years from now and say that they accomplished a big feat in the
first ball game (Texas) ever played on campus."

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