#61 Houston Football 2012 Preview

Houston Cougars

2012 Overall Rank #61
#4 Conference USA
Houston College Football 2012 Team Preview
Houston Team Page


Houston had a wildly successful season, compiling an impressive 13-1 record. Their only blemish was a beating at the hands of Southern Mississippi at home. The loss cost them any hope at a BCS bowl and sent them packing their bags to the Ticket City Bowl, where they proved they can play with the big boys, pounding Penn State 30-14. This year Houston is out to prove they can still compete in Conference USA and with the rest of the nation.

2011 Record: (13-1, 8-1)  
2011 Bowl: Ticket City Bowl VS Penn State (W 30-14)  
Coach: Tony Levine (1-0 at Houston, 1-0 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Nesbitt
Defensive Coordinator:  Jamie Bryant

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Charles Sims, RB, 834 yards
Passing: Crawford Jones, QB, 18 yards
Receiving:  Charles Sims, RB, 575 yards
Tackles:  Derrick Matthews, LB, 55
Sacks: Lloyd Allen, LB, 3.5
Interceptions: Phillip Steward, LB, 6

Other Key Returnees: LB Kent Brooks, DL Eric Braswell

Key Losses: QB Case Keenum, WR Patrick Edwards, WR Justin Johnson, WR Tyron Carrier, DL Sammy Brown,

The Cougars run an innovative spread offense that gained national exposure with the record setting performances of now graduated Case Keenum. However, with Keenum out of the picture and Cotton Turner graduated as well, the Cougars offense will have a new look and face a major challenge in 2012. They also lose their top three wide receivers so they will need many of their skill position players to step up. This season will be one that will prove if Houston can continue to perform at a national level or if they will fade into the distance like most mid-major teams. The offense will still be the catalyst to success and will rely heavily on red shirt junior running back Charles Sims, who is their returning leader in both receiving yards and rushing yards. This do-everything back looks poised to have a big year and will be a major contributor to this offense, especially as he will need to shoulder the running game to take pressure off their new quarterback.

Houston’s defense surrendered a lot of points a season ago. Complicating the situation is the loss of a few key defensive players, including sack artist Sammy Brown. Even with Brown, the Cougars still struggled to apply pressure on opponents, ranking 40th in the nation in sacks per game. An ineffective pass rush leads to quarterbacks being comfortable in the pocket, which in turn leads to a pass defense that gets shredded.  Houston’s defense will need to be better this season because it is unfair to expect their offense to score 40 or more points again this season.

The Bottom Line:
The Cougars have a lot of retooling to do in order to stay competitive as they lost many key players. If they continue to protect the football as well as they have in the past, they will have a chance against everyone that they play, making for an exciting year. This year they will almost certainly take a step backwards.  But if they continue to develop players as they have been, they will be in the thick of things in Conference USA play and begin to rebuild as they become poised to be a national player in the future.

Projected Bowl: New Orleans Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 149.00 (68th in the nation, 6th in conference)  
Passing Offense: 450.77 (1, 1)   
Total Offense: 599.07 (1, 1)   
Scoring Offense: 49.29 (1, 1)  
Rushing Defense: 171.57 (80, 7)   
Pass Defense: 208.71 (40, 3)
Total Defense: 380.29 (62, 5)  
Scoring Defense: 22.43 (35, 3)   
Turnover Margin: 1.14 (4, 1)    
Sacks: 2.21 (40, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.36 (32, 2)  

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#47 Deontay Greenberry