College Football Preview: The 2014 Houston Cougars
Houston looks to make another run at the AAC title.
2014 College Football Preview
An experienced Houston Cougars squad has their eye on the AAC championship in 2014.
Overview: In 2013 a young Houston team received just about every favorable bounce and nearly won the conference. With virtually the entire team back will their experience be enough to push them over the top.
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Offense: John O'Korn took over the starting job early in 2013 and was never challenged with over 3,100 yards with 28 scores and ten picks on 58%. He'll undoubtably keep the job but he also has to avoid fading late in the season where he struggled to connect witth receivers. He will have almost his entire receiving corps back with Deontay Greenberry (82-1203) and Daniel Spencer (52-768) leading the group. Both Ryan Jackson and Kenneth Farrow return in the backfield after combining for 1,175 yards on 242 carries. The O-Line returns three starters but will miss All AAC LT DeAnthony Sims.
Defense: The defensive line is ridiculously deep which also means they have loads of experience with the top eight back while several three star recruits are waiting in the wings. The line did a good job of getting in to the backfield and if they didn't they occupied blockers and the linebackers made plays. The top three back in this unit combined for 35.5 TFL with Derrick Mathews accounting for 12 TFL and seven sacks. Safeties Trevon Stewart and Adrian McDonald combined for ten picks and ten passes defensed but two starting corners have graduated. This defense is built to stop the run and avoid the numerous shootouts we've seen through the years.
Special Teams: The Cougars need a punter and Kyle Bullard received enough experience in 2013 to take over placekicking duties. Demarcus Ayers averaged over 27 yards on 37 KR with a score while Damian Payne can step in and handle both return duties.
Outlook: I don't think Houston can be overlooked in the AAC race but I also don't see them winning it although the talent from a season ago is the same. Duplicating last year's record seems like a doable goal however.