Friday, November 9, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 57



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 Cardinals.

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 victory Saturday.

Dimel accepted full responsibility for the Cougars' failure to produce a single victory this season at his weekly press conference.

"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.

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