“No, honestly the outcome didn’t surprise us at all. We prepared really well,” said senior free safety Craig Bills. “We knew they were not physical. In watching the North Texas game we saw how North Texas was hitting them around, so for us to come in we knew that we needed to be physical and that they would clam up if we were and that’s what happened.”
While Houston lost 27-7 in their season opener against UT-San Antonio, BYU isn’t going to take them lightly. Last year on the road BYU squeaked out a 47-46 comeback win in Reliant Stadium and doesn’t see anything different from last year to this year’s Houston team.
“Not a lot honestly,” Bills said. “I mean they have a lot of the same guys coming back and they can still make plays. They’re still capable of hurting you down field if you’re not on your A-game.”
Houston has many playmakers on both sides of the ball including sophomore quarterback John O’Korn, who passed for 200 yards in Houston’s last game against Grambling. Also still on the Houston roster is wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, who is leading UH in receiving this year, and junior running back Kenneth Farrow. BYU can’t take this game lightly after having such a big win against Texas.
“We don’t really talk much about all that other stuff,” said Bills. “We’ll take Houston just as serious as we’ve taken Texas and UConn, and so it’s going to be a really good game. They’re very capable and have a lot of good athletes. We have to come out ready and we’ve prepared really hard yesterday and today. We have another day of preparation tomorrow and we’re going to be ready.”
With John O’Korn at the helm, Houston will test BYU’s defense downfield more than Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes did. Against Texas, the Cougar defense kept everything in front of them, but that was easy to do knowing that quarterback Tyrone Swoopes was a young and inexperienced passer. With O’Korn the Cougar secondary will be tested.
“He’s a quarterback that can keep the play alive, keeps his eyes down field, and really capable of making plays,” said Bills. “I mean, it’s just on us in the secondary specifically. We need to be disciplined and keep our eyes on our keys. Then, [hopefully] we can take advantage when he makes some mistakes so we can get some turnovers.”
Junior wide out Deontay Greenberry (6-3, 200-pounds) is on the 2014 Biletnikoff Award Watch List and was named to The American Athletic Conference’s first team in the preseason.
“They’re good,” Bills said. “I mean, Texas had good receivers and these guys have good recievers that can make plays and do things. It’s exciting.”
“In watching the film, we made a lot of errors last year and they took advantage of it,” said Bills. “That’s the team that we’re playing. If you make errors they’ll take advantage of it. In division one football that’s basically what happens. We just have to be really disciplined, and just based on our preparation as far as this weekend we’re ready and we’re going to have a good game.”
Through the first two weeks on the road, the Cougar defense has only allowed 17 total points. As a team captain, Bills is proud of the way the defense has played over the past couple of weeks.
“Yeah definitely,” said Bills. “I mean our guys have prepared really hard and we’ve practiced hard. We have a really tough defense and a lot of guys that want to make plays and be physical. It’s been fun so far and I’m looking forward to this.”
Cougar Cam: Craig Bills
Bills talks about the Houston Cougars game last year and why they were so good. He also gives his thoughts on the home opener and about being ranked in the top 25.
Craig Bills Video