The Monday After: TCU
Nearly 30 years of waiting, hoping and planning came to fruition on Saturday night as the University of Houston played their first conference game as a member of the Big 12 against in state foe TCU. After a demoralizing showing against Rice, the Cougars were looking for a bounce back game that did not materialize. For 60 minutes the Coogs were manhandled by the TCU defense leaving an already aggravated fanbase even more exasperated.
This week, there is really only one main talking point: the offense is anemic, nonexistent, MIA, whatever adjective you want to use, its just bad.
The Cougar offense was so shut down they didn't score a single touchdown the entire game.
You read that right.
The Cougar offense was so shut down, they had a total of 41 rushing yards for the entire game.
You read that right.
Maybe last week's debacle against Rice wasn't a debacle after all. Maybe, that's just where this program is. That is a depressing thought. Entering the game and this conference as a whole, it should be widely understood that there will be a step up in competition. You are not playing the Temples of the world anymore. Yet, you are not playing Georgia every week either. Expecting the offense to put together a better showing on Saturday night should not be an extreme request 5 years into Dana Holgorsen's tenure, yet here we are.
In fact, forget year 5. After the previous outing, it should be assumed that the team as a whole would come out guns blazing trying to make everyone, including themselves, forget that miserable night. The defense did their job in the first half. By the second, they wore down, but that is to be expected when you are having no help on the offensive side of the ball and nearly no rest due to three and out followed by three and out followed by three and out. The special teams were excellent, having a kickoff returned for a touchdown by Matthew Golden and only missing one long field goal all game.
The truth of the matter is that if the offense had bothered to show up, this would have been a much tighter game. In the first half, the Coogs had the opportunity to put some serious points on the board following a sack and fumble recovery, an interception and drives that would get deep into TCU territory only to peter out.
Quarterback Donovan Smith did not look sharp. One play that stands out is in the second half, the offense stayed on the field to try and get a 4th down conversion. Donovan was pressured, got out of the pocket and then threw it away. Throwing it away is just about the worst possible thing you can do in that situation besides throwing an interception or fumbling the ball. Decisions like that are concerning to say the least.
Matthew Golden, who as previously mentioned had the most exciting play of the game, continually dropped passes he should have caught. The run game is terrible. Whether that is an offensive line issue, a running back issue or a the defense knows you are going to try and run it up the middle because you do it almost every play issue is hard to tell. If you are going to be a run first offense, you might actually need to gain yardage on those plays. Crazy, I know.
Changes need to be made. Whether that be the coaching staff, starting QB or play calling isn't for us to decide. The responsibility lies solely on Athletic Director Chris Pezman and Coach Holgorsen. Speaking of play calling, there apparently is no problem there.
"It's not the play calls. It's just not," Holgorsen said. "We watch a lot of video, we come up with play calls, we come up with schemes, its the same thing other people are doing, we're just not executing."
Remember Coogs, there's no "I" in denial.