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Volume 70, Issue 161, Thursday, August 4, 2005


'We're excited to get rolling'

Training camp begins as UH wants to right wrongs of seasons past

By Sam Khan Jr.
The Daily Cougar

Everybody's undefeated again.

That means no matter what happened last season (or the last few seasons for that matter), or what people predict will happen in 2005, teams control their own destiny and can surpass or fail to reach expectations, whether they are set by prognosticators or themselves.

The Cougars began planting the seeds for what they hope is a season that bears many fruits when they opened training camp Wednesday with their first practice for the 2005 season.

"We're excited to get rolling," head coach Art Briles said. "Our guys have had a great spring and summer. They've (done) really well in the classroom, in the weight room and with conditioning so we're really pleased where they're at both physically and mentally, and now we have to carry that over to the field."

The Cougar offense was hard at work on a warm, sunny Wednesday afternoon. UH began its steps towards redemption in 2005 when it opened training camp with its first practice.
Victoria Hoover/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars will workout once a day into next week, then start two-a-days soon after. There are 105 total players that have reported for camp, and players are ready to get after it, feeling like they have something to prove.

"There's a drive to this team this year," junior quarterback Kevin Kolb said. "There's been a bad taste in our mouth for so long now, so everybody's excited to be out here. All summer we've been thinking about last year and now we're ready to get rid of (that feeling)."

UH is looking to bounce back from the down season it had last year in football when the Cougars went 3-8, a far cry from the 7-6 record that saw them go to a bowl just the year before.

"We didn't meet our expectations whatsoever," Kolb said of 2004. "A lot of bad things came our way, but that's no excuse. We just can't let that stuff start us off this year."

While players know that games are decided on Saturdays, there's no question that much work has to put in well before those Saturdays if they expect to win.

"We've got the drive that we had in my freshman year here," Kolb said. "I can really sense that. We're going to need that going into the start. If we can get on a roll early, I think we can do really well this year."

In a vote by Conference USA coaches earlier this week, the Cougars were picked to finish second in the C-USA West division behind Texas El-Paso. They were picked fourth overall in C-USA behind UTEP, Southern Mississippi (picked first in C-USA East) and Alabama-Birmingham (picked second in C-USA East). Briles made it clear that he's not thinking about those things and is worried more about where UH ends up.

"It's not how you drive, it's where you arrive," Briles said. "We understand that people are showing us some respect, but we have to go out and fully earn it on the field.

"We're going to play hard, we're going to be intelligent and we're going to represent the University of Houston in great fashion."

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