Houston’s offense struggled mightily with consistency at every position except one: wide receiver. Though they lost one of their top targets, Cougars receivers still thrived against opposing secondaries. We saw improvement at the tight end position as well, and that experience could lead to more success in 2020.
As if there was any doubt, Marquez Stevenson proved to be the best player on the offense. We were treated to a great display of his speed all year, but especially against SMU where he broke off two huge touchdowns on his way to 211 yards. After him, we saw some players emerge thanks to one senior sitting out to redshirt for next year.
Keith Corbin joined D’Eriq King by sitting out after four games to preserve his redshirt, and he’ll add more depth to next year’s lineup. Though it was only one third of the season, Corbin was off to the best start of his career. His absence allowed younger and inexperienced players to grow and get valuable reps.
Jeremy Singleton won one of the starting spots, but stepped up to the No. 2 receiver spot when Corbin sat out. We saw improvements in his route running and production as the season continued. He proved that he can create separation from a defender with his routes, and showed the ability to make tough catches with strong hands. Even when Corbin returns, Singleton will compete for more reps now that he has a full season as a starter under his belt. While Singleton thrived in his new role, we also saw another players emerge as a deep threat. Tre’Von Bradley impressed the coaching staff enough to get reps right off the bat against Oklahoma. He showed he can burn a secondary (20.4 yards per catch) despite only 16 catches.
Courtney Lark and Bryson Smith weren’t utilized as much as fans thought this year. We don’t know what Dana Holgorsen saw in practice, but Lark’s lack of production was disappointing. Smith produced as a receiver, runner and a passer this year, showing off his versatility. The coaching staff was still learning how to effectively use him in the offense when the season ended, but another year with him in the offense should clear things up. Holgorsen’s offense will hopefully feature a tight end in the passing game, but their involvement in the blocking scheme must get better.
Christian Trahan showed a few flashes of his potential as a pass catcher this year, including a couple of tough catches in traffic. What he’ll need to work on is his blocking. While he’s a solid option as a downfield threat, he struggled mightily with his physicality. If Houston wants to become more balanced, Trahan must become a better blocker.
Season Grade: A-
Questions Going Forward
- Can this group take another step with key pieces returning?
- Stevenson and Corbin are reliable, but can more depth emerge as legitimate threats?
- Will any tight end become balance in blocking and pass catching?
Next year should......emphasis on SHOULD be better all around. Corbin’s return gives them an athletic deep threat they didn’t have this year. Stevenson’s speed will get a complement with that return, but the question becomes who will be the third receiver. Singleton took a step in his development, but can he do it again next year? This group was the most consistent this year, and they might need to do it again in 2020.