Five questions: Houston

Cougar Digest publisher Rob Sellers returns with five questions heading into Saturday's showdown with OU.

We checked in with Cougar Digest publisher Rob Sellers during the summer to see how things were going in Houston.

Well, we’re going to do it again with the showdown between Oklahoma and Houston just days away. Five more questions with Sellers.

Heard a lot in the last month about the physicality of Houston’s practices. Was it too much? Or did Tom Herman find the right balance?

I don’t think it was anything that would be deemed too much. For Houston to beat Oklahoma they are going to have to be at their best. Herman’s philosophy on hitting in practice has been the same since his arrival, they go full speed. Towards the end of camp, Herman noted that he was interested himself in how other teams that practice similarly were doing in terms of concussions in camp. He said they were in the four to six range and Houston had six.

Asked this before, but we’re a month later and camp is in the books. How is Houston viewing this showdown? Statement game?

After interacting with Herman and a few of the players this morning at the Cougars’ weekly media availability I still feel about the same with it. There is no doubt these guys know what a win this week means. Herman continues to pound the stance that this game has no bearing on their goals of a conference championship, and that is true. Outwardly at least, the team is sharing Herman’s message.

Who was the biggest surprise of camp? Maybe a name you didn’t expect to make a huge difference but did in the last month?

I’m going to say Mac Long a fifth year senior offensive lineman. Long’s career has been uneventful on the field thus far, mostly running scout team. He has really emerged over the last year and took the right guard job in camp. He is also the offensive line unit’s vocal leader.

Is Greg Ward expected to do too much? Can he duplicate what he did in 2015? Will he have to do just that for Cougars to make a serious run in 2016?

I don’t feel they ask him to do too much by design. He is the number one guy in the offense as the quarterback and playmaker. I definitely feel he could duplicate last year’s season but I think Herman and Major Applewhite would much rather the running backs get a bigger chunk of the offensive pie. For the Cougars to make another impressive run in 2016, they have to have the same offensive output from a year ago. If the running backs aren’t getting it done, Ward could easily become a stat machine again.

The biggest question going into Saturday for the Cougars is _____________________?

The biggest question going into Saturday for the Cougars is can they keep pace in the trenches. On defense their front seven must be able to slow down Oklahoma’s run game and that will start up front. On offense, they must be able to run the ball some to even out the offense. The offensive line will have to be a major part of that.



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