For Houston Cougars offense, the struggles are in the details

For Houston Cougars offense, the struggles are in the details

The Houston Cougars offense has had its woes early on in the 2022 season, particularly in the first half of games.

Against UTSA, the Cougars had only seven points at halftime. Against Texas Tech, UH had only three points at the intermission. Both games have seen Houston face a two-touchdown deficit it has had to claw its way out of. For quarterback Clayton Tune, the key to turning the offense around is in the basics.

“It can definitely be corrected,” Tune said. “I think it is just little details. Little things matter and we are not doing the little things right. That is something we have talked about over the last few days; something we will continue to talk about.”

Tune said the Cougars have struggled with items such as getting lined up properly early on in the season.
Despite the struggles, Houston has shown success in flashes. Against UTSA, the Cougars managed to put up 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.

In the game against the Red Raiders, Houston’s struggles persisted. The Cougars scored 20 points total in regulation, seven of which came off a pick six from defensive back Jayce Rogers; three more were set up by an interception from Gervarrius Owens late in the fourth quarter, and the lone first-half field goal was set up by a 35-yard punt return from receiver Nathaniel Dell that put UH at Texas Tech’s 19-yard line to start the drive.

Even amid the struggles against Texas Tech, UH’s offense showed hints of being explosive, such as the four-play drive at the start of the second half that ended in a rushing score by running back Brandon Campbell, and in the overtime period when Tune found freshman receiver Matthew Golden for a 15-yard score in the end zone.

Dell said Houston’s big play to start the third quarter, a 63-yard connection between “Tank” and his quarterback that led to Campbell’s score, was a look pointed out by the coaches in the scout box. The UH coaching staff dialed up the play to exploit Texas Tech at halftime.

The challenge for the offense is to be consistent. Houston’s next opportunity will be against Kansas, who brings a lot of speed and size on the defensive side of the ball, head coach Dana Holgorsen said.

“Offensively, we got to get better,” Holgorsen said. “These guys got good team speed in the secondary. They are big up front and they play their tail off.”

From Houston’s perspective, Dell’s message to his fellow receiving corp in the midst of the offensive struggles is to remain level-headed and be prepared.

“When your number gets called, just go out there and make the play,” Dell said. “Don’t think too high of yourself; don’t think too low of yourself. Just be ready.”

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