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Five questions for the Houston Cougars spring practice

We survived an absence of college football, and it’s time to look at the questions we have for the Cougars

Navy v Houston Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

What does the quarterback position look like?

Speculation surrounding D’Eriq King’s transfer ended when he announced his intentions for the Miami Hurricanes. A team that was expecting a a dynamic threat at quarterback suddenly found themselves in the same position they were four games into the season last year, so they should be prepared. Clayton Tune returns as the starter, but the job should be wide open given the inconsistency surrounding the position last year. Sophomore Logan Holgorsen returns as the top competition for Tune, but Sofian Massoud and Ike Ogbogu should be given chances as well. Bryson Smith saw reps at quarterback too, but more as a Wildcat option. Houston’s offense wasn’t exactly explosive last year, and the quarterback position didn’t help much. The winner has to show they can elevate the offense, one that has some playmakers at receiver, but also big concerns up front.

Who steps up in the place of Josh Jones?

Jarrid Williams’ return provides some stability to a group that desperately needs it. While the quarterbacks weren’t the best, the struggles up front were more to blame than anything. Williams was hurt most of the year, and Houston rotated in too many guys to produce any chemistry. Jack Freeman secured the starting spot at center, but the other three spots are up for grabs. Both guard spots will be wide open, and Josh Jones’ replacement figures to be Williams. Patrick Paul showed potential, but needs to work on his technique including how to utilize his long arms better.

Will the transfers contribute?

At this point, Houston’s running out of options for players transferring to the program. Eyabi Anoma was kicked off the team for a violation of team rules, Bryson Jackson left the program, and there weren’t many players that contributed last year. Damarion Williams was the best transfer for the team, followed by Kyle Porter and Gio Pancotti. After that, there are still many question marks with everyone else. Kelvin Clemmons, Colin Samuel, Thabo Mwaniki, and JoVanni Stewart should all help a struggling secondary, but we shouldn’t get too excited until we see what they can do. Dana Holgorsen has a number of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but he’s running out of options that can stick around.

Does returning experience mean improvement?

According to ESPN’s Bill Connelly, Houston returns the third most experience in all of college football. The question is what that actually means. Offensively, 73% of the production returns, including a talented group of receivers. Marquez Stevenson, Jeremy Singleton, and Tre’Von Bradley all took steps in their development last year, and they get back Keith Corbin. Defensively, nearly every starter returns but, like the rest of the team, that doesn’t guarantee improvement. A number of inexperienced players saw starting reps last year, and a few transfers enter the picture on that side of the ball.

Can anyone help Damarion Williams?

It’s safe to say that Damarion Williams quickly became one of the most reliable players on the defensive side of the ball. In a group that struggled to find consistency, Williams gave them one less player to worry about, but the same can’t be said about the opposite side. Opposing teams picked on guys like Shaun Lewis and D.J. Small frequently last year, and they didn’t get much help from the safeties on their side. Grant Stuard figures to be the starter at nickel, but there will be more competition with the transfers mentioned above.