From the other side: SMU vs. Houston

Pony Stampede talked with Rob Sellers of Cougar Digest to get the low down on the Mustangs' in-state rival Houston ahead of the showdown on Saturday.

Billy Embody: Houston is coming off back-to-back games where the Cougars looked human including a loss to Navy. What was it been the last couple weeks that has slowed this team down?

Rob Sellers: "Inconsistency has been the biggest key. Everyone expects Navy to create a problem for defenses but the issues of inconsistency carried over as the Cougars twice had Tulsa on the ropes only to let them back in the game, ultimately earning a narrow last second home win. Some of the injuries haven’t helped but even starters have been a little off on both sides of the ball."

BE: Greg Ward, Jr. is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country. How has he looked this year and is he back to being healthy again?

RS: "I noted after the Tulsa game that it appeared he was at least close to fully healthy for the first time since he injured his shoulder in the season opening Oklahoma win. He seems to have shown more development in the offseason, and now dealing with some adversity of a loss and his injury, in terms of his leadership. In terms of specifically his play, I think he has done a better job this year of being a passer first and it has helped him some in the effectiveness of his feet once he gets on the run."

BE: How has Ed Oliver developed in his time on campus and how big of a piece to that defense is he?

RS: "It really does seem to grow each week. It became clear right away that he was going to play and play early. He has however forced them into playing him more as he continues to not only just develop as a collegiate player who is 7 games into a young career but also in his confidence both on and off the field. He has gotten better in terms of production as well during the season but I think it is more from him just settling in and getting comfortable. He is a very key piece for the Cougars now on the defensive side of the ball."

Robert Sellers

BE: If there's an area where you could see SMU attacking the Cougars, what is it? What's their strengths/weaknesses right now? 

RS: "I would say the pass defense in the middle of the field has been a little more suspect over the last couple of games. Navy doesn’t throw the ball much but was able to some as the game wore on two weeks ago. Tulsa also attacked the middle of the field successfully in the passing game as well last week."

BE: How do you see this game playing out? Got a prediction for us?

RS: "I must say I am at least a bit reserved in my confidence in Houston heading into the game. I think they are the better team and should win Saturday, but must shake the funk they have had over the last two weeks. I think Houston continues to right the ship against SMU and wins 54-17. If halftime rolls around and SMU is hanging around though, it could turn into a dog fight in the second half."

Robert Sellers

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