The bandwagon may be empty,
but Dimel is confident
By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff
The bad news: Today finds the Cougars winging
their way to Louisville, Ky., to face the high-flying Cardinals in Saturday's
showdown at Papa John's
The good news: Junior quarterback Kelly
Robertson returns to the starting lineup against the No. 25-ranked Cardinals.
"Kelly's wrist has improved a lot and we
feel that he can play this weekend," Houston head coach Dana Dimel said.
"He was the nation's seventh-best
passer in terms of passing yards when
he went down and I want to give him a chance to play down the stretch."
Robertson remains in the Top 10 in passing
yards, sitting at the No. 9 spot, averaging 298.8 yards per game.
The junior bombardier ranks ninth in total
offense with 290.5 yards per game after sitting out the last four games
with a broken bone in his right wrist.
Sophomore Nick Eddy did an admirable job
filling in for the injured Robertson. Eddy started four games and threw
five touchdowns while connecting on
83-155 passes for 908 yards.
Eddy's best game was against Memphis, when
he tossed two touchdown passes while throwing for 331 yards, connecting
on 28 of 42 passing attempts.
Before his injury, Robertson completed
89 of 160 passes for 1,195 yards and seven touchdowns. He threw for a season-high
367 yards at West Point
against the Army Black Knights and 364
yards and three touchdowns against Texas.
Dimel is hopeful Robertson will lead the
Cougars to their first victory of the rapidly dwindling season against
The only role left for the Cougars at this
point in the season is that of a spoiler.
The Cougars could gain a modicum of respect
and throw a monkey wrench into Louisville's postseason plans with an upset
Dimel accepted full responsibility for
the Cougars' failure to produce a single victory this season at his weekly
"We're 0-8, so I don't think I'm doing
a good job. I'm the head coach and I'm not pointing fingers at anybody
but me," Dimel said. "I like my role with the
offense; that's not a major issue. We
just have to get better on offense, defense and special teams and there
are no shortcuts."
Dimel remains confident that the Cougar
football program is headed in the right direction, regardless of a winless
season so far.
"We're taking hits now that hopefully we
won't have to take again. We're not pushing the panic button," Dimel said.
"I was brought in here to recruit Texas
and to recruit high school players. You
can't bring in a coach and tell him to recruit high school players and
not be realistic. There has to be realistic
expectations as to what it takes to turn
a program around."
Nobody expected Dimel to run the table
with victories, but no one expected to get up from the Cougar table with
an empty plate either.
"When you're 0-8 I expect people to not
be happy," Dimel said. "If guys want to jump off the bandwagon, I can't
help that. They'll hang on or not."
On a lighter note, sweet temptation cost
the nation's third leading rusher and Heisman Trophy candidate a one-game
suspension for accepting an "extra
benefit," a violation of NCAA rules.
UCLA running back DeShaun Foster, who ran
for a school record 301 yards in a victory over Washington last month,
will miss Saturday's game against No.
7 Oregon at the Rose Bowl.
The Los Angeles Daily News cited two unnamed
UCLA sources who said the senior tailback's suspension revolves around
his use of a Ford Expedition.
The paper said Foster drove a sports utility
vehicle belonging to someone associated with the UCLA program.
Foster was declared ineligible for competition
after he met with UCLA athletics director Peter Dalis and a member of the
NCAA enforcement staff. His
one-game suspension was standard procedure
in "extra benefits" disciplinary action.