Slow starts continue to plague the UH program


Game #50 of the Dana Holgorsen era was the school’s first conference game in the Big 12 and the ugliest of the 50. A quarter of the way through the season, we know this team is not being prepared the right way, they are not executing the right way, and there’s no sense of urgency from the team and the staff.

the daily #48 | 9/17/2023 | Archives

Dana has stressed starting fast for years. He talks about it almost every week postgame and on Mondays. But when it comes down to it, this program starts slowly.

Here are the starts for his team:

OppDrive 1: Plays-YardsResultDrive 2: Plays - YardsResult
Total14-603 points10-150 points

That’s 24 plays for 75 yards and three points in the first two drives of the three games. But remember: 53 of those yards came on a third-down pass to Sam Brown on the opening drive Saturday night. Otherwise, it’s 23 plays for 22 yards in the opening drives. Unimaginative. Unacceptable.

Houston is starting behind in every game, and there needs to be a sense of urgency to catch up.

So is the ‘start fast’ problem just execution? Is it focus? Is it the play calls that are on the opening script? Is the pregame routine too relaxed? Is it the sense of urgency? Is it tuning out their coach?

Last week, the explanation for the brutal loss was the team was looking ahead to TCU. This week, they faced TCU, and it was even worse. They weren’t looking ahead to Sam Houston, were they?

A tough night for Matthew Golden // Photo by Mario Puente

Challenged. On Monday, Dana told us that he challenged everyone inside the program following the Rice game. I asked who had challenged him, and he said, “Myself.” Later in the week, Dana said he personally challenged Matthew Golden and Joseph Manjack IV. According to PFF, Golden had three drops in the TCU game and now has six on the year. That leads the country. It’s obviously not a talent issue and it’s not an issue with the throws. As Dana Holgorsen said in the postgame, it’s pressing

Th challenge did not produce the results Holgorsen hoped for.

It was also leaked out that there was a Tuesday afternoon players-only meeting, and then the team captains and others went to Dana’s radio show in solidarity. The point they were trying to make was clear: we got this.

But more clearly, they don’t have this. The entire exercise looks contrived, an attempt at managing the narrative. They should try to control the narrative, but there has to be something behind it. You can’t tell the world that the team rallied together, then they take the field, and were even worse than before. If you challenge your team and they don’t respond, are they hearing the message?

Because little has changed from Tulsa last year to Louisiana to UTSA to Rice to TCU. This program is 2-3 against four G5 schools and a new conference mate in that span. It’s poor offense and defense, lousy execution, and no team identity.

I have never thought that UH could go 0-9 in the Big 12. But without significant improvement from the first three games, 0-fer is entirely possible. Cincinnati and Oklahoma State showed serious flaws on Saturday, and UH gets both late in the season at home. Those are potential wins. But everyone’s sure win – WVU – beat Pitt in an ugly game Saturday They don’t seem to be an auto-win anymore. On the flip side, opposing fans who thought UH was a win must feel better after the last two weeks, right?

I think UH will win game(s) in the conference somehow. But my outlook has dimmed after seven of the last nine quarters have produced a combined 20 points (and one offensive TD).

Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is proud to be a corporate sponsor as the Official Personal Injury Law Firm for the University of Houston Athletics.

“As a University of Houston alum, I am honored that the University of Houston Athletics chose our firm to be their official and exclusive personal injury law firm,” says Stewart J. Guss, the firm’s founder.