Wednsday, August 29, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 6


 
 









 
Cougars sharpen claws for Saturday's slaughter

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

The scrimmages are over and it's finally time to prepare for Saturday's opener against Rice.

UH head coach Dana Dimel looks to have his players ready to avenge an opening game overtime loss last
season.

"We have a great month of September coming up for our football team," Dimel said. "It's really increased the
excitement around the program, it's increased the fans' level of attention but our main focus is on the Rice
game."

Dimel and his coaching staff held four scrimmages in an attempt to cut down on the number of unforced errors and
turnovers -- a problem during the 2001 season. It was such a huge problem that Conference USA officials were
brought in to officiate one of the mock contests.


Walter Coreas/The Daily Cougar


Cougar head football coach Dana Dimel addresses the media at his weekly press conference Tuesday. The Cougars play Rice Saturday in the season opener for both teams.


"They thought it was very much a well-executed scrimmage," Dimel said. "We didn't have any holding penalties
inside, we had very few procedure penalties -- and those are the big things."

But keeping turnovers and penalties wasn't the only project staring at the Cougars.

Kelly Robertson quickly emerged as the top quarterback, impressing Dimel and his staff with his quick grasp of the
offensive scheme. Knowing who the starter's going to be is especially important to the team as it begins the
post-Jason McKinley era.

And this season, Dimel will make sure to put his mark on the program -- especially on the offensive side of the ball.
One of the changes he made was making the offensive scheme simpler.

"The biggest mistake we made last year in the system is that I stayed completely out of the offensive play calling
and completely out of any input that went on offensively," Dimel said. "This program right now can't afford for more
to do that. We came in and put in a new system."

Junior Joffrey Reynolds will regain his position as the starting rusher, but senior Leif Penn will probably get just as
many touches. Reynolds returns to the team after going through an injury-plagued 2000 season.

Reynolds' determination during practices to keep running hit after hit will serve the Cougars well as they try to
establish a solid ground attack. It may not be a smash-mouth team, but UH will use the running game to open up
the pass.

"We're going to have a good mixture of run and pass," Dimel said. "We're not going to be heavily skewed one way
or the other, but we are going to have to run the football with more success."

But just like last season, the first few games are crucial to the overall success of the Cougars.

The loss to Rice last season was followed by a wrenching 28-13 defeat at Louisiana State -- a loss that exemplified
the 2000 season. A series of miscues put UH in an 0-2 hole. UH squeaked past Army the following week, but a
48-0 drubbing at Texas paved the way to a 3-8 season.

"The biggest thing is to gain some early confidence and to really start believing in each other," Dimel said. "I think
they all look around and they know the talent's there."
 
 
 
 
 

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