Monday, October 8, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 33


Mental mistakes cost Cougars dearly in defeat

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

The stats speak for themselves.

Junior quarterback Kelly Robertson has completed 89 of 160 passes for 1,195 yards and seven touchdowns. His targets have racked up some pretty
impressive numbers, too.

Senior Orlando Iglesias has reeled in 16 receptions for 209 yards. Junior Brian Robinson has caught 13 for 176 yards. Junior Joffrey Reynolds has piled
on 13 catches and 175 yards. Sophomore Brandon Middleton has torn up opposing defenses for an impressive 262 yards off nine receptions.

As a team, the Cougars have ravaged the opposition for 1,524 yards. That's good for an average of 381 yards per game. That's not bad for a team with a
quarterback who hasn't played in five years.

In spite of the gaudy numbers, the only stat that matters is wins. The Cougars are a woeful 0-4 in 2001.

That mark may have something to do with some far more important numbers than scores, yardage and personal achievements.

Against Army, UH was penalized 13 times for 102 yards. A second-quarter drive that saw the Cougars take a 14-7 lead was nearly halted by four flags, all
mental lapses and all making the field that much longer for an offense that's found it difficult to score in the red zone.

For the season, the Cougars have been flagged 33 times for 283 yards. That's an average of 8.2 penalties for 70 yards per game. They're on track to be
flagged 90 times for 778 yards.

It follows a 2000 campaign during which, even with senior leadership, UH was penalized 94 times for 923 yards. But much of the blame for those penalties
could be placed on a team learning a new system.

Those are numbers that may speak to a lack of discipline, but they also say something about the youth of this Cougar squad. This is a team that lost its top
defensive star, Wayne Rogers, and starting quarterback, Jason McKinley, to graduation.

Robertson has been able to pile up impressive numbers, and more experienced starters -- junior Hanik Milligan (who leads the team with 57 tackles, 28
solo and two for a loss), senior Jason Parker, senior Arthur Gissendanner, Iglesias and Robinson -- have attempted to steady the ship. But this year's
group includes almost 20 freshmen and sophomores.

It's a team that's continued to shoot itself in the foot. Witness: a possible scoring drive late in the second quarter that would have given the Cougars a 21-14
lead. Its abrupt halt followed a Robertson interception that was returned to the Cougar 11-yard line. That play took the Cougars' momentum away and led
to Army's 21-14 lead at halftime.

This is a team that's been outscored 506 to 279 under head coach Dana Dimel. If the offense is capable of moving the ball and racking up yards, much of
the disparity in scoring can be attributed to penalties and unforced errors. Both cost the Cougars dearly.

Are the Cougars as bad as their record indicates?

Stopping the number of unforced errors was something Dimel preached about throughout the 3-8 2000 season.

He may have to preach a little harder about penalties during this 0-4 start.

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