Hi 92 / Lo 76
|Volume 68, Issue 1, Monday,
August 26, 2002
Dubious season silences Cougar roar
By Christian Schmidt
He doesn't want to talk about it. Neither does Joffrey Reynolds. Or
Nick Eddy, or Hanik Milligan. Or any of the coaches.
Senior running back Joffrey Reynolds had the best year of his UH career in 2001, gaining 818 yards. The
Cougars will look for a similar performance coming back from an 0-11 year.
They don't want to talk about it. They are uniformly polite, gently steering the conversation towards a
different topic or calmly explaining that what happened is in the past, that it doesn't matter anymore. They
say it's in the past, that they've moved on and that the coming season is all that matters now.
They say it, but when you look in their eyes, you see the pain, the
humiliation and the regret. These men have
Sadly, the season that wouldn't end still lives in the hearts and minds
of those close to Cougar football, a
Head coach Dana Dimel describes it as "a bad dream," the kind you keep
hoping you will wake up from and won't
Dimel is building for the long term, redshirting nearly all players
from the strong recruiting classes of the past
An 0-11 season can make alarm bells go off, even if the program seems to be making progress.
If Dimel has winning seasons the next few years, fans will forgive his
winless effort. But they won't ever
Lies, damn lies and statistics
Sometimes, statistics don't lie. The offense was ranked 111th in the
nation in rushing offense. The team was 86th in total offense and 110th
What happens when you give up an average of 39.3 points a game to your
opponent and you score just 17.7 points a game, your special teams
You lose 11 games.
Having said that, it wasn't a lack of effort that was to blame. The
team played its hardest, even in blowouts. This team wanted to win; they
"We're not going to talk a whole lot about last season," Dimel said.
"Last season, to me, seemed like a bad dream. We're not really going to
The year began in simple enough fashion — the Cougars hosted Rice and lost.
By midseason, UH fans had given up hope. Fans, students and probably
even coaches and players were looking for just one win, hoping the
Three teams finished last season without a win: Houston, Duke, and Navy.
Who's the worst? It's hard to say, but it's a not a contest you want to
As is often the case in such seasons, injuries hit hard. Most notably, starting quarterback Kelly Robertson missed part or all of five games.
In all, 21 Cougars missed 85 games because of illness and injury, ranging
from shoulder surgery to sprained necks to broken wrists and
It all started innocently enough. An opening game against Rice was a
tough loss, as a veteran Owl team beat the Cougars by a touchdown.
Surprisingly, one of the best games the team played was against its
toughest opponent, in-state rival Texas. In the second quarter, UH took
"I thought in last year's game against the University of Texas, our
football team played for whatever minutes it was of that ballgame all throughout
The most heartbreaking game was a 29-28 loss to Cincinnati.
The Cougars had a chance to win the game as time wound down, but a poor
call by an official and two subsequent penalties on Dimel ended
Athletics Director Dave Maggard and Dimel say the same thing: the team must believe they can win every time they step on the field.
The 2001 Cougars didn't. Instead, they tried not to lose, tried merely to delay the inevitable defeat.
That attitude doesn't win games, as evidenced by 11 losses last season and 15 consecutive losses dating back to the 2000 season.
"One of the things we understand is that we have to have great leadership," said Dimel.
Does that mean that last year's team didn't have leadership? Well, Dimel wouldn't say that.
He said last year's team lacked cohesion, that the team never came together in the way it needed to.
Dimel hopes his team has woken from its "bad dream." It's time to move
forward, to put the past in the past and work on establishing a winning
The Cougars will suit up for the first time this year when they face Rice on Saturday.
The Cougars have a chance to erase bad memories and start a new winning tradition.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the
To contact other members