Dimel's Dilemma: Put Houston Back on the Map

The Houston Cougars' spring media guide opens with a quote from Ann Morrow Lindbergh: "Only with winter patience can we bring, the deep-desired, long-awaited spring." Judging from the Coogs' opening 21-14 loss to Rice at home, we can only assume things are still pretty frosty over at U of H.

Coach Dana Dimel is in his second year as head coach at Houston and has notched some impressive recruiting victories. This last February Dimel signed blue-chippers like RBs Cody Thibodeaux and Anthony Evans, DL Sharod McGowan, LB Damien West, OL Roy Swan and WR TJ Jenkins, to name several. But the fruits have yet to be seen. Last season he guided the Coogs to a 3-8 record which included a vicious 48-0 pounding at the hands of Texas. The loss at home to Rice in U of H's opener indicates that things don’t promise to get much better very soon, but if anybody can turn the Cougars around, Dimel is probably the guy.

Only 38 years old, Dimel, before heading to the Lone Star State, led Wyoming to three consecutive winning seasons and during those seasons notched ‘Ws’ against the likes of BYU, TCU, Colorado State, Iowa State and San Diego State. Those aren’t exactly BCS opponents, but Dimel had the Cowboys playing at a competitive level. The guy is an up-and-comer, but he faces a tough road at U of H, at least in the near term.

Houston lost to graduation its leaders on both sides of the ball with the departures of QB Jason McKinley and LB Wayne Rogers. At quarterback against Rice, Dimel went with Kelly Robertson, a 23-year old transfer who spent the last three seasons playing college baseball for Western Kentucky, and the rust went flying. On his first play, Robertson threw a pick to Owl safety Jason Hebert. But after that, he hit a respectable 22 of 47 of his pass attempts, including two that went for TDs, so the 6-4, 210-pounder from West Orange Stark can make some things happen.

Robertson’s go-to guys at receiver are huge and will provide a physical test for the Texas secondary. Orlando Iglesias hales from Miami, FL and goes 6-3, 220, while Brian Robinson, a fellow Floridian, is 6-4, 202. Dallas Kimball’s Keykowa Bell is relatively smurf-like at 5-10, 175. As for a running game, there really is none, as the Coogs managed a total of seven yards of rushing on 21 attempts against Rice. Junior Joffrey Reynolds, 5-10, 215 from Tyler Lee, led the team with 14 carries for 29 yards. Robertson’s six carries for minus-24 yards hurt the totals.

Defensively, the strength of the Cougar stoppers is in their secondary, where four starters return from a defense that employs five DBs in a 4-2-5 scheme. S Hanik Milligan, 6-3, 200, returns after leading the team last season in INTs with five and placing third in total tackles with 86. Senior corner Jason Parker, 5-10, 180, S Heard Robinson, a 6-2, 200 sophomore, and Hanik’s brother S Hamin Milligan, 6-2, 185, are also DBs to watch.

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