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August 9, 2012
It is no secret how big of a task the receivers coaches at the University of Houston were faced with heading into their spring workouts and now as they get into the fall preparations for the quickly approaching season?replace everybody.
With the departure of four senior receivers from last season that all managed to write their names into record books in one form or another the staff of two first year Cougar coaches in Brandon Middleton and Jamie Christian need to find the next crop of playmakers in an offense known for throwing a lot, and they need to do it pretty quickly.
As big of a task as it seems like that would be, the two coaches have a wealth of talent to choose from, just not much experience. Middleton is pretty clear what has to happen for the one of the receivers in camp to lay claim to one of the vacated spots for the upcoming season.
"The biggest thing we are always looking for is consistency," said Middleton. "We want to see who is going to go out there and consistently make plays for us. All of these guys have talent so we want to see who is going to be consistent and know where they need to be. Since the offense is based on speed we want to see who is going to compete at a high level on a consistent basis and who is going to get it done out there."
"We are looking for them to take what we tell them in the meeting rooms and bring it out to the field with them and show that they are coachable," said Christian. "We obviously want playmakers at the receiver position."
The four starters that were named heading into camp are senior Isaiah Sweeney, senior Ronnie Williams, sophomore Daniel Spencer and junior Dewayne Peace, but there are several new arrivals that will be pressing the issue to try and replace at least a couple of those names. A gaggle of young very talented freshmen in Deontay Greenberry, Andrew Rodriguez, Larry McDuffey and Devin Parks join junior college transfer Xavier Maxwell, sophomores Aaron Johnson and Mark Roberts as well as several more holdovers that will try and stake their claim to reps in the fall. For Middleton it is no different for the new guys either, consistency is key to who plays.
"With the young guys it is pretty much the same as the older guys that are out there competing for a spot," he said. "If they are out there and competing at their highest level and out performing everybody with consistency and effort then they will play, if not then they won't."
"Our thing right now with the young guys, is just to throw them in the fire," said Christian. "They can only learn by being out there and learn from their mistakes. Whoever shows us that they can learn from their mistakes will show us they are ready to play."
For now the large group of prospects searching for their chance to be the next guys in the record books are pouring themselves into knowing the offense and pushing themselves to perform well with each repetition. The Cougars are four practices into camp and the race is likely to stay neck and neck all the way up until their season opener against Texas State on September 1 at Robertson Stadium.