Houston Cougars Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Houston season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Houston Cougars Preview
Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen, 4th year at Houston, 19-15
12th year overall, 80-56, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 12-2, Conference: 8-0
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Houston Top 10 Players | Houston Schedule
Houston Cougars Preview 2022
It took a while to get here, but it finally happened.
Yeah, it would’ve been nice – and right – if Houston was included in the Big 12 fun along with Oklahoma and Texas. And yeah, it’s going to be one more year before the program can finally get a seat at the Power Five table. In the meantime …
Maybe Houston can be this year’s Cincinnati.
Houston positioned itself for the Big 12. It paid to get a Big 12 head coach in Dana Holgorsen, it went along with the redshirt year of 2019 when the team went young after a rough start – proving that it was about the bigger picture on not simply going to a bowl game – and then came the breakthrough needed in 2021.
This year’s team is loaded with talent, the coaching staff appears to have everything in place, and the schedule works out nicely. So yeah, while everyone will be jacked about what’s coming, the right now might work out very, very well.
Houston Cougars Preview 2022: Offense
It wasn’t always smooth, and let’s be honest here – there was a LOT of production happening against a LOT of bad teams – but the offense did its job.
It only finished sixth in the American Athletic Conference, and the running game didn’t always work, but there weren’t a log of mistakes, the chains kept moving, the team was sixth in the nation in time of possession, and it’s all just getting started.
The offense has the quarterback in Clayton Tune. The 6-3, 215-pound senior threw 39 touchdowns with ten picks, was in total command at times, hit 68% of his passes, and and he ran well when needed.
Okay, so he needs to cut down on the interceptions, but he’s in his fifth season in the mix and should be ready to take his game up a few notches with an even better receiving corps.
Nathaniel Dell is the 90-catch, 12 touchdown star who busted out, but he’s not alone. Former Texas Tech Red Raider KeSean Carter should do a whole lot more in his second year with the Cougars. Cody Jackson was a big get from Oklahoma, and excellent recruit Mathew Golden should be a factor right out of the gate.
The running backs are about to be fantastic, too, even with a huge loss. Alton McCaskill ran for 961 yards and 16 scores, but he suffered a torn ACL this offseason. There are other options, though – former Texas Tech back Ta’Zhawn Henry was second on the team last year with 513 yards and seven scores for the Cougars, and USC transfer Brandon Campbell should fit right into the rotation.
The line wasn’t all that great at keeping defenses out of the backfield, but at least it returns experienced. Three starters are expected back around First Team All-AAC left tackle Patrick Paul, but the real star might be Tyler Johnson, a big-time get from Texas through the transfer portal.
Houston Cougars Preview 2022: Defense
Defensive coordinator Doug Belk has a little work to do, but he’s got a great group to work around from the nation’s sixth-best defense – and No. 1 in the AAC – that lead college football in third down stops, was amazing against the run, and lived in the backfield. It all starts with …
The pass rush loses interior star Logan Hall, but All-AAC end Derek Parish and senior D’Anthony Jones know how to get behind the line. It’ll take a rotation at tackle – there isn’t another Hall – but it’ll be more than fine.
The secondary should be among the best in the AAC. Gervarrius Owens was a First Team All-AAC performer – he’s all over the field and a big play veteran – along with rising star Hasaan Hypolite. The corners, though, lose Marcus Jones and Damarion Williams. Former transfers will help in a decent rotation.
The two in the 4-2-5 get back 230-pound man in the middle Donavan Mutin – he led the team with 77 stops – and Malik Robinson is ready for a bigger role.