We saw the good, the bad, and the ugly on Sunday against Oklahoma. A 49-31 loss to the fourth ranked Sooners provided plenty of feedback for the Houston coaching staff. Today, we grade out each position group, and talk about the positives and negatives of every position.
D’Eriq King didn’t have his best game, but he settled down as the game continued. He still had 103 yards rushing and three total touchdowns against the Sooners. His mechanics weren’t the best early and his deep ball was off, but he did his best with the little time he had to throw. Not his best game, but also not his worst.
Running back: B
Mulbah Car stood out with his 76 yards rushing on just nine carries, but Kyle Porter didn’t play poorly either. His state indicate a tough performance, but Porter showed he can be a threat in both the run and pass games. Patrick Carr didn’t make the trip due to an injury, but he’ll add to the competition when he’s healthy. Overall, this is a position with good depth going forward.
Wide Receiver: A-
They did everything they could when given the opportunity. Cougars receivers only had 14 receptions for 167 yards, but the numbers don’t tell you everything. There were multiple plays where the receivers ran great routes, but were overthrown. As expected in any Week 1, they made a handful of mistakes that cost the Cougars extra yards.
Tight End: C-
Chrisitan Trahan took a majority of the reps Sunday, and showed both good and bad. He caught a few passes with good separation, but his blocking needs work. Too many times he whiffed on his blocks that blew up the play and prevented the offense from getting any more yards.
Offensive Line: C-
Overall frustrating performance for this group. King found life difficult because the line couldn’t protect him. Josh Jones and Jarrid Williams were decent, but Oklahoma found room to run up the middle. It was a first game, so this group was still learning how to work with one another. However, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Defensive Line: D+
Oklahoma running backs found little resistance at the line of scrimmage, and Jalen Hurts had a ton of time to throw. This group is in a tough position right now. They have guys who are fast and guys who are big. No combination of the two. The Sooners offensive line turned Houston’s line whenever and wherever they wanted, and it created big problems for the linebackers and secondary.
Along with the defensive line, the linebackers struggled to make an impact. Terrance Edgeston showed some potential by making a couple of nice plays, but not enough to influence the game. Shedding blocks became an issue for everyone in the front seven, and tackling wasn’t consistent either.
Defensive Back: C
Jalen Hurts did pass for 332 yards, but some of those throws could have gone for less. Houston let a five yard slant go for a 56 yard touchdown on one play, which is something they can work on going forward. Damarion Williams did well in coverage against a good group of receivers, and the rest of the secondary was actually decent too. Like the first two groups, tackling needs work.
It’s tough to complain when your punter averages 45.6 yards per punt. Dane Roy picked up where he left off last year, and looks to be headed for his best season yet. Houston also did a decent job of covering his punts too. They let one punt return go for 27 yards, but the other two went for a combined negative one.
Dalton Witherspoon made all of his kicks. He made a 34 yard field goal and all four of his extra points, giving the Cougars less stress at the other important special teams position. It was a good start overall for both Witherspoon and Roy, which we expected.