2009 Houston Cougars Football Preview
2009 Houston Cougars season preview from Maddux Sports. Below you can find our official Houston Cougars football preview as well as the 2009 Houston Cougars Football Schedule. Get Free football predictions against the sportsbooks college football betting line.
Coach: Kevin Sumlin (2nd year at Houston)
Team Name: Cougars
2008 Overall Record: 8-5
Returning Starters: 12
In 2008, the Houston Cougars (8- 5 overall, 6- 2 Conference USA) finished third in the Conference USA West, earning an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl. Houston met and beat Air Force 34- 28. The bowl game played out much like many of the Cougars’ regular season contests with opponents putting major points on the scoreboard and Houston managing to post more points. Defense was not this team’s strong point last season.
The Cougars’ passing attacked was rated second nationally (401.6 YPG) as was their total offense (562.8 YPG). The team scored an average of 40.6 PPG (10th nationally). Junior QB Case Keenum (589 ATT, 397 COMP, 5,020 YDs, 11 INTs, 44 TDs) has an accurate and powerful arm. Keenum (76 ATT, 221 YDs, 7 TDs) is also a running threat. The primary power on the running unit is sophomore RB Bryce Beall (198 ATT, 1,247 YDs, 13 TDs), who put up record freshmen numbers in 2008. Wideouts Tyron Carrier (80 REC, 1,026 YDs, 9 TDs) and LJ Castile (31 REC, 531 YDs, 8 TDs) are both excellent performers. The offensive line has been improved, which should be a big help.
For the Houston Cougars, the defense was a major liability as it allowed 30.9 PPG (91st nationally). The defensive line was inadequate last season and the same should be true this year. At this point, a sack threat does not exist. Senior MLB Marcus McGraw (103 TKLs, 0.5 SKs, 6 TFL) and sophomore MLB Matt Nicholson (66 TKLS, 1 INT, 3.5 TFL, 1 INT) are returning starters. McGraw has a nose for ball carriers, while Nicholson adapts quickly to changing situations. Corners Brandon Brinkley (74 TKLs, 4 INTs) and Loyce Means (23 TKLs, 4 INTs) are experts at snagging the ball. The safety spots are inexperienced and worrisome.
The return game is the purview of the dynamic and athletic Carrier who averaged 22.3 yards per kick return and 9.6 yards per punt. Senior placekicker Ben Bell (48- 50 Extra Pts, 10- 15 FG), who had knee surgery in the off-season, may still be rehabbing when the season starts. Relatively inexperienced backup Jordan Mannisto (14- 14 Extra Pts, 2- 3 FG), a sophomore, may have to start. Senior punter Chase Turner (41 Punts, 1,864 YDs, 45.5 YPP, 12 In20) is tops at his spot.
As a rookie head coach, Kevin Sumin (8- 5 in one year with Houston) managed to keep the Cougars on the winning track in 2008. Houston hit a low point in 2004 when they won just three games, and they reached a high point in 2006 when they took the league title. Still, they could not manage a bowl win that year. The Cougars bring in the second-best new class in C-USA’s West Division. This season, the September 26 game at home versus Big 12 opponent Texas Tech is a huge contest. That will be the Cougars’ biggest non-conference challenge. This team will battle with Tulsa for the division crown. Look for the Cougars to earn an invite to a low tier bowl contest.
Houston Cougars Football Schedule
For more info on the 2009 Houston Cougars football program, view the Cougars website or read up on the rest of the non BCS ncaa football teams below.