Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen said he did not have his team prepared to play against Kansas during his news conference on Monday morning. (Courtesy Houston Athletics)
The Houston Cougars could not keep up with an explosive Kansas offense on Saturday as UH suffered its second straight loss of the season and left head coach Dana Holgorsen taking responsibility for the loss.
UH, now 1-2, allowed Kansas to do anything it wanted to on offense. The Cougars’ offense was once again inconsistent; and penalties and undisciplined mistakes continued to plague Houston, which Holgorsen said was his fault.
“I take the blame for last week,” Holgorsen said. “I didn’t have our guys ready to go. We wanted to play. We wanted to win. We played with great effort. Our guys are disappointed. I think we wanted to win probably a little bit too bad. That’s me, that’s on me.”
Houston’s undisciplined mistakes have been a common theme early in the season. Holgorsen has referred to it as the team committing too many stupid mistakes. The errors once again reared their head against Kansas in the form of three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, one on receiver Samuel Brown, another on linebacker Jamal Morris and another on defensive tackle Chidozie Nwankwo.
The Cougars committed 11 penalties overall against Kansas on Saturday.
Holgorsen said the undisciplined mistakes in the form of penalties eventually trickle down to other areas of the game, such as missing assignments, wrong alignments and players running the wrong route. All of that starts with behavior, the head coach said.
For the second straight week, the Houston Cougars will be looking to clean up its mistakes and attempt to put together a clean game. The coaching staff spent all day Sunday reiterating that, Holgorsen said.
“It’s all we talked about yesterday, and it is being undisciplined in how we look,” Holgorsen said. “It’s being undisciplined in how we act. It’s losing our mind, and it is hurting the team.”
Houston’s issues go beyond any one player, Holgorsen said. The penalty issues have come from different people in different situations, which has become to make the Cougars a target both for opposing teams and even the officials, he added.
Teams are beginning to see that and trying to bait them, which happened against Kansas, Holgorsen said. Houston has also gained a reputation, which could be why they have not gotten the benefit of the doubt on 50-50 calls, Holgorsen alluded to on Monday.
Against Rice, a team that Houston has beat in six straight meetings going back to 2011, the Cougars will once again look to drastically reduce the self-inflicting wounds that have hurt them through the first three games.
“If we want to win then that stuff can’t happen,” Holgorsen said.