2020 Houston Offensive Preview

By Maria Lysaker

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The Cougars are set at quarterback.

Then again, Dana Holgorsen thought he was set last year before an unexpected midseason announcement that saw D’Eriq King take an unexpected redshirt year and then transfer after the season to Miami.

This year, Clayton Tune is the unquestioned man behind center after starting the final seven games of 2019, completing 59.2 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns.

“Clayton is in a really, really good place,” Holgorsen said. “He understands what to do, he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder and he is completely at ease with what’s happening.”

Holgorsen’s son, Logan, played in six games last year and will join Ike Ogbogu, who redshirted last season, and January arrival Sofian Massoud from Houston Cypress Lakes.

Holgorsen also redshirted running back Mulbah Car after he reached the four-game limit in late October, and Car returns as the ground game’s primary option ahead of Kyle Porter.

“(Car) was our best back last year in the four games he played, and we have to keep him healthy,” Holgorsen said. “Kyle Porter is steady, smart, physical and knows what to do. Both those guys are impressive.

Terrell Brown, who redshirted after playing three games, and incoming freshman Stacy Sneed are backup options, but Holgorsen will spend the summer looking for a JUCO or graduate transfer at a position where he would like to have more depth.  

Tune will benefit from the return of UH’s top six receivers, led by all-conference senior Marquez Stevenson, who Holgorsen said has few peers nationwide as a kick returner.

“Speedy is a different guy physically,” he said. “He is ready to take that next step. He can take over games.”

Keith Corbin, who took a four-game redshirt, is a fundamentally sound option, and Jeremy Singleton started 11 games last year. JUCO transfer Nathaniel Dell, Holgorsen said, has game-changing speed. 

Tight end Christian Trahan emerged last year as a solid option — “pretty good as a sophomore and will be outstanding as a junior,” Holgorsen said.  Dekalen Goodson moved from linebacker this spring to provide depth.

For all the attention focused on the King-Tune shuffle, offensive line was at the root of UH’s problems in 2019. Twelve players lined up in eight starting configurations, “and we ended the year with five guys who began on the scout team,” Holgorsen said.

Tackle Josh Jones is off to the NFL, but Braylon Jones, another four-game redshirt after an early-season injury, has started 34 games at center and guard and also has pro potential. Patrick Paul became the second true freshman to start for Holgorsen, and he also redshirted after playing three games. Sixth-year lineman Jarrid Williams announced in late April he would be a graduate transfer, which likely will create an opening for an incoming grad transfer.

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