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Volume 70, Issue 5, Friday, August 27, 2004


UH offense, defense keep C-USA coaches worrying

Cougar Beat

Ken Stocks

Somewhere on the beautiful tree-lined Rice campus, in one of the luxurious ivy-covered athletic buildings that houses the Rice football coaches, you can almost visualize the Owls defensive coordinator hiding in a dark closet, drooling, crying and pulling out his hair at the prospect of defending the Cougar's spread offense.

Rumors have long circulated of a mad scientist that haunts the offices of the Athletic/Alumni Center late at night and research has revealed that it is actually Coach Briles burning the midnight oil, designing new ways to torture the defensive coordinators of Conference USA.

The season opener against the Rice Owls is getting ever closer, and the Cougars are on the practice field every afternoon in the sweltering heat putting together the pieces of the Cougar game plan.

The basic features of Briles' spread offense are no secret. The team can line up in various formations with as many as five receivers spread across the field, forcing the defense to cover them man-to-man.

Once they spread the defense vertically, quarterback Kevin Kolb can then utilize his speedy athletic receivers to hit quick slants or stretch the defense horizontally with the long pass.

If the defense sits back in pass coverage, the spread can utilize the running back or the legs of Kevin Kolb to grind the ball out on the ground. Then the Cougar coaches make the proper adjustments in the press box, and the high-powered offense is ready to roll up the yards.

As the offense is putting together the pieces of Briles' game plan on one practice field, defensive coordinator Ron Harris and his coaches are working on improving the Cougar defense on the other.

Each day the defensive team works on the fundamentals of concentration, hard work and hard hitting, and that work is paying off as the players are looking more like a cohesive unit, anxious to improve on last year's performance.

With a tough schedule and more than half of their games on the road this season, the Cougar defense is going to be the key to this team's success, and each practice they look more like a unit ready to step up and do the job.

The 2004 Houston Cougar football team is going to put an exciting brand of football on the field, so bring your friends and family and experience the Cougar pride.

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