The UH offense is all over the place

The Cougar offense disappears for large chunks of games

With a new QB, new go-to receivers, a freshman RB, and a new offensive coordinator (or new “three-headed monster,” as QB coach Mike Burchett called it), UH fans should expect the offense to be up and down, right? Yes, they should, but not for those reasons. You should expect it because that is how it has been for 4.5 years.

the daily #70 | 10/9/2023 | Archives

The UH offense is all over the place this year. It was stuck in the mud in the opener against UTSA, non-existent in the first half against Rice, but on fire in the 2nd half. Back in the mudhole against TCU, they found a new level against Sam Houston, which carried over into the first half against TT. Then, they were completely shut down in the second half.

Up and down.

UH’s offense under Dana Holgorsen has been up and down since day one. It doesn’t matter if they had a returning QB responsible for 50 TDs the year before or a redshirt freshman getting his feet wet. Or if that same QB was months away from being a 5th-round pick or a transfer QB with 21 previous starts. The only consistency the UH offense has had is inconsistency.

Something has always felt off about this offensive “system.” It has always felt like the offense would disappear at odd times and then for longer, more extended times. I finally sat down to really take a look at it, wanting to see how often UH’s offense had “dead quarters.” I define a dead quarter as one where the offense scores 6 points or fewer.

Since 2019, the number of quarters where UH scored six or fewer points is 75 out of 208 quarters (36.1%). When you adjust for defensive and special teams touchdowns, that number goes up to 83 out of 208 (39.9%). That’s not great, but I’m not overly concerned by it. Scoring 7+ every quarter of every game isn’t going to happen and shouldn’t be expected.

The concern comes when you look at the number of times UH scores fewer than 6 points in a quarter more than once in a game. Since 2019, that has happened in 30 out of 52 games (57.7%). That is a lot, which explains why the offense feels so up and down. Because it is.

Look at last year: Fifth-year senior Clayton Tune at QB, coming off a 4500-yard season with 30 TDs. His #1 target was Tank Dell, himself coming off a 1300-yard season with 90 catches and 12 TDs. UH was the preseason favorite to win the AAC and be the G5 representative in the NY6.

Despite being ranked #15 in scoring at the end of the year with 36.1 points per game, UH scored six points or fewer in two or more quarters in 8 out of 13 games. They started the season with six straight games of two dead quarters.

Compare that to UH’s 2022 AAC rivals: Tulane was #18 in scoring with 36 ppg and only had four dead quarters in 14 games, UCF was #30 in scoring with 32.9 ppg and had 6 in 14 games, SMU was #12 in scoring with 37.1ppg and had 4 in 13 games, and Memphis was #21 in scoring with 35.3 ppg and had 6 in 13 games.

Fast forward to 2023, and the UH offense has scored six or fewer points in 10 of 20 quarters played. They have scored six points or fewer in two or more quarters in 4 out of 5 games. Fans want to feel like this is new, but it is no different from last year.

Last year, UH had two dead quarters against UTSA and one against Rice, then had two dead quarters against each in 2023, so it’s not a talent issue. Sure, the Coogs might not have as many “Big12 bodies” as TCU and Tech, but I think they have recruited as well as former CUSA teams in their first season in the American.

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