Houston Cougars defense hopes to turn UTSA struggles into lessons going forward

Derek Parish, lineman on the Houston Cougars defense, wraps UTSA QB Frank Harris during UH’s week one win at the Alamodome. (Courtesy Houston Athletics)

Houston Cougars defense hopes to turn UTSA struggles into lessons going forward

The Houston Cougars defense sacked UTSA quarterback Frank Harris three times and hit him 12 times in Saturday’s week one game against the Roadrunners, defensive coordinator Doug Belk said.

No. 25 UH also came away with one interception and forced two turnovers on downs, and yet, the defense believes it left a lot to be desired against the Roadrunners, and it is aiming to clean up against Texas Tech in week two.

“We gave up too many points, that is not our standard,” senior linebacker Donavan Mutin said.

Mutin said he was glad the Roadrunners were able to rough up the Cougars’ defense at times. UTSA built a 14-point cushion with chunk play touchdowns, such as from UTSA receiver Joshua Cephus, who had a 51-yard touchdown that was aided by missed tackles from UH and a 38-yard rush from Harris right up the middle against the Cougars. Houston’s defense also allowed UTSA to drive down the field in 23 seconds to tie the game and force overtime.

For Mutin, while UTSA’s offense proved it can be explosive, he believes a lot of Houston’s problems against the Roadrunners were caused by self-inflicted wounds.

“They are really, really, really good. I am not taking anything away from them,” Mutin said. “They are good enough to where we are not being who we need to be. They could beat us and it almost happened. But just the confidence in our unit and who we are every day, they weren’t good enough to go to overtime with us if we did not shoot ourselves in the foot as a team.”

Houston had too many missed assignments, missed tackles, missed alignments and at times were not hustling as they needed to, Mutin said. The linebacker praised UTSA for pushing Houston to the limit, and he believes it will only help UH in the long run.

Going forward, UH will look to be better, which is the message moving forward, Belk said. The Cougars will aim to be more detailed and continue to focus in doing the individual jobs to the best of their abilities, he added.

“For us, it is just trying to continue to build that identity and as I referenced, our defense we are at the foundation level of building something great,” Belk said. “So we got to do things to continue to build the foundation and play smart football and be great in situation football going forward.”

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