RB Bryce Beall
2009 Schedule
9-12-09 at Oklahoma State
9-26-09 TEXAS TECH
10-3-09 at UTEP
10-10-09 at Mississippi State
10-17-09 at Tulane
10-24-09 SMU
11-7-09 at Tulsa
11-14-09 at UCF
11-21-09 MEMPHIS
11-28-09 RICE
Coach: Kevin Sumlin
8-5, 1 year
2008 Results: 8-5
at Oklahoma State LOST 37-56
vs. AIR FORCE LOST 28-31
at Colorado State LOST 25-28
at East Carolina WON 41-24
UAB WON 45-20
at SMU WON 44-38
at Marshall LOST 23-37
UTEP WON 42-37
at Rice LOST 42-56
Air Force WON 34-28

2008 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-40, BCS-UR


2009 Outlook

Entering his second year as the head football coach, Kevin Sumlin has already put his stamp on the program. The Cougars just wrapped up a successful season, which culminated in the program’s first bowl victory in 28 years. Sumlin’s best move to date has been the hiring of offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen away from Texas Tech, where he served as offensive coordinator for three seasons while under the tutelage of legendary offensive coach Mike Leach. His eight-year stint in Lubbock has now translated at Houston, and boy, howdy, has the offense taken off. The Cougars posted 25 scoring drives of five plays or less in ’08. In the process, QB Case Keenum has emerged onto the national stage. The numbers are now becoming just as mind boggling here as the ones being posted at Texas Tech, which, by the way, also has sent former QB legend Kliff Kingsbury over to the Houston coaching staff to be in charge of offensive quality control.

The word synonymous with Houston football is offense. The running back and receiver positions are deeper than just about at any program across the country. Throw in CUSA Player of the Year Case Keenum spreading the ball around and stadium scoreboards may have to find a way to implement a triple digit scoring category to keep track of the points. Keenum, Beall, Carrier and Edwards are names capable of leading the NCAA in every major offensive statistic, including passing, rushing and receiving, given the efficient system from which they operate. What really makes these statements even more remarkable is that the latter three all established themselves in their stellar freshman seasons of a year ago. Not one single offensive skill position boasts a senior starter. So expect some mistakes to still play a part of the process as the assault continues to evolve.

So what is holding Houston back? An offense this good can only be stalemated by its own team’s lacking defensive efforts, and that is exactly what is still taking place. If you are a fan of high scoring affairs, tune into a Cougar game in 2009. The numbers don't lie; Houston has a problem stopping both the run and the pass. Making future prognostications worse is a defensive line that is undersized, unproductive and undetermined. New faces enter the fold and will have to work without the nation's second leading sack master, Phillip Hunt.

Without a proven pass rush, the secondary has to be concerned. No unit could perform any worse than it did a year ago defending the pass. Maybe the good news is that the jest of the secondary will be retooled. The problem is this - those capable of topping the depth chart won’t be in town until summer camp arrives. Quality JUCO transfers and incoming freshman will be counted on to plug many of the leaks, so there are no guarantees, good or bad.

What really hampers any early hopes of top 25 love is that both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State dot the September schedule...not exactly the types of offenses Coach Sumlin wants to see right off as he reassembles a defense struggling to find identity. Fortunately this offense is good enough to bail them out when it comes to CUSA competition. It's also good enough to put them on our Top 50 preseason map. If Case Keenum stays healthy all season, he will push the records set by former Houston QBs Andre Ware, David Klingler and Kevin Kolb. Do not be surprised if this youngster makes his way to the Heisman ceremony before his career is over.

Projected 2009 record: 8-4
QB - 4.5 DL - 1
RB - 4 LB - 2.5
WR - 4 DB - 1.5
OL - 3 ..
2008 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Case Keenum, 397-589-11, 5010 yds., 44 TD

Rushing: Bryce Beall, 198 att., 1247 yds., 13 TD

Receiving: Tyron Carrier, 80 rec., 1026 yds., 9 TD

Scoring: Bryce Beall, 17 TD, 102 pts.

Punting: Chase Turner, 41 punts, 45.5 avg.

Ben Bell, 10-15 FG, 48-50 PAT, 78 pts.

Tackles: Marcus McGraw, 103 tot., 48 solo

Sacks: Tyrell Graham, 1.5 sacks

Interceptions: Loyce Means, 4 for 160 yds., 1 TD; Brandon Brinkley, 4 for 32 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns:
Tyron Carrier, 27 ret., 22.3 avg., 1 TD

Punt Returns: Tyron Carrier, 8 ret., 9.6 avg., 0 TD


WR Tyron Carrier
OT Roy Watts - At 6-6 and 300 pounds, the Houston native did not allow a sack in 2008 at Navarro (Texas) College. He originally signed with Texas.
FS Jacky Candy - The Most Valuable Defensive Player at Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College.
WR A.J. Dugat - A Parade All-American that piled up 1,755 receiving yards, 642 rushing yards and 28 TDs at Dayton High School in Texas.
2009 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Mark Hafner-WR, Sebastian Vollmer-OT, Michael Bloesch-OG, SirVincent Rogers-OT
DEFENSE: Tate Stewart-DE, Cody Pree-NT, Jake Ebner-DT, Phillip Hunt-DE, Cody Lubojasky-MLB, Quinte Williams-CB, Ernest Miller-SS, Kenneth Fontenette-FS

The past two decades have produced a handful of high-flying QBs. Andre Ware, David Klingler and Kevin Kolb...but now there's a new Cougar in town with similar credentials, and his name is junior-to-be Case Keenum. He finished the 2008 season as the nation's leader in total offense at 403.2 yards per game. He has remarkable instincts in terms of decision-making. His errorless string of 219 attempts without throwing an interception was broken back in September, only two games into his sophomore year. He needs only 5,685 yards to become the school's all-time leading passer. What Keenum brings to the table does not end with his passing skills. In this wide-open, one-back offense, he has provided a major boost with his feet. His 633 combined yards rushing over the past two seasons is not going to get Keenum labeled as one of the best rushing QBs in college football, but his opportunistic gainers do much more than just keep defenses honest. Keenum was a semi-finalist for the NationalChamps.net Underdog Award in 2008, which goes to the nation's best mid-major player, and he has the talent/ability/numbers to possibly push for Heisman consideration. The only question is who will be his backup. Blake Joseph has departed, leaving Cotton Turner, walk-on Austin Elrod and/or Crawford Jones to assume the role. Turner is the frontrunner and was the Houston area prep passing leader before spending a growth year at Blinn Junior College.

The offensive backfield continues to be a major strength for the team. All three players listed on the depth chart earned at least four starts a year ago. Bryce "Brick" Beall is an All-CUSA back who started his true freshman season ('08) as the backup to Andre Kohn. After an injury to Kohn forced him out of the lineup in early September, Beall took over and wound up setting a Houston record for freshman rushing with his 6.3 yards per carry rate. He is also a top receiving threat with a nose for the end zone (17 total TDs). If the roles reversed again (with Kohn carrying the load), the offense would still be in very capable hands. However, with incoming frosh Charlie Sims entering the picture, Kohn's future may include other (receiver) duty. Justin Johnson returns as the best Cougar blocking back. Few other mid-major programs can boast as much backfield firepower from top to bottom as Houston can.

When a passing attack like this puts up its superior numbers, a list of awards usually are getting handed out to the men catching the pigskin. Ultimately, this means that Houston is loaded at receiver. Ten quality snarlers that lettered a year ago are back. The depth chart does not have enough room to list them all. It still remains to be seen if a ‘go-to’ guy can step up to take the place of the departed Mark Hafner. Fortunately, Tyron Carrier is a game-breaker with elusive skills that looks to fit the bill. He demonstrates the same ability to be a possession receiver after racking up 80 grabs last fall, his first year on the collegiate field. He also placed third in the 200-meter dash at the Conference USA Indoor Track Championships. Hopes are that Patrick Edwards will return hungry from his infamous cart accident of a year ago, when his season was ended after running into a cart parked out of bounds (at Marshall) that broke his leg. Edwards was another frosh that started to show signs of being a big time contributor (prime kick return specialist). Other major contributions will come from upper classmen Chaz Rodriguez and Kierrie Johnson. Cougar fans still await the breakthrough of super talent L.J. Castile. The future is still not clear; will coaches continue to use the ‘big slot’ position (as a glorified H-back)? This is the position that Hafner embraced. A true four-receiver set could be the new order. If the big slot continues to be a part of the process, Wesley Scourten’s large body and great leaping ability shoe him in. Keep an eye on JUCO transfer James Cleveland, who was a former Freshman All-Big Ten selection two years ago while playing at Iowa. Parade All-American A.J. Dugat was the gem of a solid recruiting class and is way too talented to ride the pine. Whew, this is truly one of the deepest receiving corps found anywhere and will only bolster what has become a prolific offense.

The raw talent to shape is already here. A good place to find a leader is at center; senior three-year starter Carl Barnett will be handling the snaps. However, this unit is extremely short in terms of full-time experience. To demonstrate the line’s youth, at one of the guard spots is Chris Thompson who earned the second most amounts of starts a year ago behind Barnett. The learning curve has to kick in for the (now) sophomore. The health of guard Jordan Shoemaker, who started to close out his 2008 campaign, leaves lingering questions as he is sitting out the spring with an injury. His return will likely force a few more changes such as what happens to big 325-pound Jarve Dean, a more formidable tackle who currently is working in his place. Locating a fulltime tackle has to be the priority. Fifth year senior Josh Bell, a former prep Top 100 player out of Texas, fits the description and has the athletic ability to make quite a difference. A former tight end, he’s got the skills to be fine tackle. But his health, too, has become an issue, leaving concern as to who will protect on the outside. The answer will have to come from a new face, which makes the job of first year line coach B.J. Anderson a work in progress. Look for Roy Watts, one of the top JUCO transfers, to see plenty of time on the field. Getting a group that can find cohesiveness will prove difficult if the health of a few key players is shaky. Anderson is dealing with trying to mix in newcomers while not being sure who is going to be healthy and ready to go.


QB Case Keenum


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Case Keenum-Jr (6-2, 210) Cotton Turner-So (6-0, 190)
RB Bryce Beall-So (5-11, 205) Andre Kohn-Jr (5-11, 195)
Justin Joseph-So (6-1, 220)
WR Patrick Edwards-So (5-9, 175) L.J. Castile-Jr (6-3, 210)
WR Tyron Carrier-So (5-8, 162) James Cleveland-Jr (6-1, 205) (incoming)
A.J. Dugat-Fr (6-0, 188) (incoming)
WR Kierrie Johnson-Jr (5-10, 175) E.J. Smith-So (6-1, 185)
WR Chaz Rodriguez-Jr (6-2, 185) Tim Monroe-Sr (6-2, 185)
Wesley Scourten-Jr (6-6, 240) (TE/Big Slot)
OT Josh Bell-Sr (6-5, 315) Jacolby Ashworth-Fr (6-3, 275)
OG Jordan Shoemaker-Jr (6-3, 270) Jaryd Anderson-Jr (6-4, 280)
C Carl Barnett-Sr (6-2, 285) Blake Sargent-Fr (6-3, 275)
OG Chris Thompson-So (6-2, 295) Jarve Dean-Jr (6-3, 325)
OT Matt Hart-Sr (6-6, 310) Roy Watts-Jr (6-6, 315)
K Jordan Mannisto-So (6-1, 185) Ben Bell-Sr (6-0, 175)



The biggest questions are obviously on defense and the front line will have as much difficulty making improvements as any group on this side of the ball. No area of the team was hit harder by graduation. Three starters are gone including Phillip Hunt, the NCAA second leading sack producer, which leaves the overall prognosis on the outside somewhat scary. Former Arkansas transfer/linebacker Tyrell Graham has played quite a bit but has only logged one full season at end. He has the speed necessary to apply pressure, though, at only around 230 pounds, he’ll get pushed around by bigger blockers. The other DE spot is up for grabs and could possibly be filled by a true freshman. UH needs at least one of the players battling for this spot to step up in a big way, or such could spell titanic problems. Starting tackle Isaiah Thompson has a frame worthy of holding ground, yet does not excel at getting penetration (0.5 tackles for loss). David Hunter has a bright future, yet he, too, has a long way to go before being considered a reliable cog. This defensive line is undersized, especially the ends, and depth is paper-thin. This bunch will have to hang their hat on quickness. Expect opponents to test this unit immediately via runs up the gut. Their run stopping efforts were ranked at the bottom of the conference list and nothing on paper suggests the results will be much different.

The linebackers, while needing to address a few issues, more than likely will boast the best talent/experience on the defensive side. The bad news is that promising veteran Matt Nicholson suffered a torn ACL knee injury in the ninth game of the year against Tulane and will likely have to take a redshirt season in 2009. During his ’08 absence, walk-on C.J. Cavness filled the role admirably, finishing fourth on the team in tackles. Cavness will continue to man the strong side while former JUCO signee Nicholas Thurston attempts to secure the spot in the middle vacated by prominent four-year starter Cody Lubojasky. Either Thurston or another JUCO signee in A.J. Johnson will have to make their presence known before this group can start to take up some of the slack left by an undersized DL in front of them. A few incoming freshmen will be given the opportunity to play in the middle immediately; redshirt frosh Anthony Lewis has shown some ability in terms of earning a starting role. On the weakside coaches will hope that Marcus McGraw can improve on his spectacular freshman campaign, where he rarely ever came off the field. In the process, McGraw led the team in tackles while going over the century mark (103 total tackles).

A major overhaul is in store for the secondary, and after all may not be such a bad thing considering how the group’s performances of the recent past have crippled exploding offensive efforts. If there’s one dimension that could not look any worse at this early juncture, this is it. Making matters more complicated, the starting lineup will not likely be set until well into August camp, if ever. Two JUCO transfers are expected to make a big push here - safety Jacky Candy, a former Florida athlete who also doubled as a basketball MVP, and Devin Mays who has recorded a 4.4 40-yard dash. Mays will not report until August. Other newcomers will include redshirt frosh Jackie Hinton (maintains solid athletic skills) and sophomore Nick Saenz. How these names fit into the scheme will take some time. There is a wide range for this group’s results. The lone returning starter is Brandon Brinkley, a question mark a couple of years ago that has now become the closest thing to a lockdown corner through his three years of trials and tribulations. Who lines up on the other corner is anyone's guess. Veterans Loyce Means and Carson Blackmon both saw a fair amount of action, but neither has been consistent enough to win the starting job. None of these jobs are secure outside of Brinkley’s.


CB Brandon Brinkley


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Mohammed Usman-So (6-1, 235) Doran Guillory-Fr (6-3, 245)
NT Isaiah Thompson-Jr (6-4, 295) Doug Winfield-So (6-1, 260)
DT David Hunter-So (6-2, 285) Demarcus Lattier-So (6-2, 265)
DE Tyrell Graham-Sr (6-3, 235) Michael Ray-So (6-3, 250)
SLB C.J. Cavness-Sr (6-1, 220) John McIntyre-So (6-0, 230)
Matt Nicholson-Sr (6-3, 255) (inj.)
MLB Nicholas Thurston-Sr (6-1, 255) A.J. Johnson-Sr (6-2, 240)
WLB Marcus McGraw-So (5-11, 220) Britton Maxwell-Jr (6-0, 235)
CB Brandon Brinkley-Sr (6-0, 180) Loyce Means-Jr (5-10, 175)
Devin Mays-Jr (5-11, 170) (incoming)
CB Carson Blackmon-Sr (5-11, 185) Jamal Robinson-Jr (5-10, 185)
SS Nick Saenz-So (5-11, 185) Roisean Haynes-So (5-11, 185)
FS Jacky Candy-Jr (5-11, 205) Jackie Hinton-Jr (5-11, 187)
P Chase Turner-Sr (6-4, 229) Jordan Mannisto-So (6-1, 185)




Not too many questions exist here. Chase Turner is one of the best punters to wear a Houston uniform in quite some time after stumbling through an inconsistent '07 campaign. Turner managed a monstrous 45.5 yards per punt and had several boots go beyond 60 yards. PK Jordan Mannisto came on strong at the end of the season to wrestle the starting job from Ben Bell. Mannisto will need to work more on his accuracy and consistency, but his leg started to show its power with booming kickoffs that culminated his campaign last fall. The return men look more like a qualified 440 relay track team. Tyron Carrier has predominately handled both the punts and kicks, but Kierrie Johnson brings just as much speed to the table. If Patrick Edwards can return healthy from the Marshall cart mishap injury, he has potential to be one of the league's most electric return men.