QB Kevin Kolb

2003 Statistics

Coach: Art Briles
7-6, 1 year
2003 Record: 7-6
RICE WON 48-14
at Michigan LOST 3-50
at Louis-Lafayette WON 21-14
at East Carolina WON 27-13
at Tulane WON 45-42
TCU LOST 55-62
at Army WON 34-14
at Louisville LOST 45-66
UAB WON 56-28
Hawaii LOST 48-54

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Houston loves coach Art Briles. Not since 1996 had Houston made it to a bowl game and it took Briles one season to get them back to the postseason. Now the bar is set and expectations become higher.

Houston will have one of C-USA's best offenses and an extremely cool customer under center. Everyone assumes the Cougars are all pass and no run, but they possess one of the conference's better running games. They reeled off 390 yards in the spring game against only 240 yards passing. Briles wanted to take more time off the clock in sustaining drives this season. The four backs they have should give them plenty of talent in the mix, but it all depends on how the new offensive line performs together. As long as they remain balanced and keep defenses guessing as to who's going to get the ball, the offense should continue to put up superior stats.

Defensively, it's a call to arms. Who wants to step up and play? Who will take charge of this defense and set the tone on the field? Everson and Koehl seem fit and will be two of the best in the conference, but they will need some help from their friends. Again, it will be up to the secondary to initially prove potent, which will allow the front seven to follow suit and take away opposing threats.

The Cougs get some early tests against the big boys (Oklahoma and Miami), then travel to Memphis, Southern Miss, and TCU in consecutive road games. If the defense can't stop those opposing offenses any more than they did last year, it will be a bleak start for the Cougs and the season will ultimately be doomed.
Realistically a 6-5 season will be reason to smile as this young team gears for an extremely bright future.

Projected 2004 record: 6-5
LB Lance Everson
QB - 3.5 DL - 2.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 2.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Kevin Kolb, 360-220-6, 3131 yds., 25 TD

Rushing: Anthony Evans, 236 att., 1149 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Vincent Marshall, 60 rec., 812 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Dustin Bell, 14-19 FG, 56-56 PAT, 98 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Dustin Bell, 14-19 FG, 56-56 PAT

Tackles: Lance Everson, 126 tot., 87 solo

Sacks: Joe Clay, 7 sacks

Interceptions: Will Gulley, Stanford Routt - 4 each

Kickoff returns: Ricky Wilson, 23 ret., 26.1 avg., 1 TD

Punt returns: Chad McCullar, 28 ret., 10.1 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Harrison Arceneaux-WR, Shang Moore-WR/UB, Brandon Middleton-WR, Rex Hadnot-C, Brandon Evans-OG, Matt Mattox-OT, Jonathan Pritchett-TE, Bobby Tillman-RB
DEFENSE: Farouk Adelekan-DE, Damien West-MLB, Jermain Woodard-SS, Roland Cola-CB, Jimmy McClary-P

Kevin Kolb enters his second season with heightened expectations due to elevated success in 2003. He was the most prolific freshman passer a season ago, now with a notch of experience on his belt. The numbers are hard to scowl at, completing 61 percent of his passes for 3131 yards and 25 TDs. His nimble feet might get even more of a working - three new offensive linemen are now broken in, too. A two-man race for the #2 spot looms heading into fall between Matt Stanley and Kendal Briles. Yes, the latter is the coach's son, and he might have the edge, knowing the system after running it for Pops in high school.

Running Back
If the run game meets its potential, this offense could be one of the nation's most explosive. The Cougars have a plethora of backs likely to rotate unless one eventually proves worthy of taking the reigns. Junior Anthony Evans has the ability to make people miss, but at 215 lbs, packs a punch up the middle. Jackie Battle came of age in their '03 tropical Christmas bowl game, but will have to fight off newcomers Ryan Gilbert and Anthony Alridge. The key for impact will be the ability of each to pick up blitzes and ultimately provide (a possible receiving outlet, if a play requires such) for their targeted QB.

Wide Receiver
UH has a wealthy trio of pass-catchers returning. Chad McCullar had the most impressive spring and will be the go-to guy, along with Vincent Marshall. The two combined for 95 catches and 1215 yards a season ago, giving Kolb reliable threats outside. What makes Marshall more intriguing is his speed from end to end. The Cougs often used him on end-arounds, and his burst between defenders is arresting. Leonard Gibson had a productive freshman season, catching 25 passes for 12 yards a pop. Coaches like his toughness, which helps him to be a productive blocker downfield and an excellent target willing to take a shot over the middle.

Tight End and Offensive Line
Though they don't use the TE as much, depth is a concern. Stephen Cucci is back for a sixth year, granted by the NCAA but hasn't played healthy in quite some time. In a wide-open offense, the TE can pay big dividends, especially against an aggressive defense. The offensive line has three holes to fill. Along with the whole right side of the line, a new center must also step up. That new center is Sterling Doty, who has received praise from Briles is experienced with his system. If he's the leader he is made out to be, UH should be fine here.

It boils down to balance and diversity. Briles is showing that he wants to run the ball more, but, in doing so, he can't abandon what works. Opponents will obviously key on Kolb and his host of receivers in efforts to shut down this offense. To counter that, Houston must take advantage of its skilled I-backs. When the coaches find ways to get them into the second tiers of the defense, it will then open a whole new world for the passing game. Doing the deed will be a new offensive line that must solidify and create some space, especially for Kolb.


RB Anthony Evans


Returning Starters in bold
QB Kevin Kolb-So (6-3, 220) Kendal Briles-Jr (5-11, 195)
Matt Stanley-Jr (6-3, 205)
RB Anthony Evans-Jr (5-10, 215) Jackie Battle-So (6-2, 250)
Matt Schirmer-Sr (6-0, 240) (FB)
Ryan Gilbert-Jr (5-10, 206) (UB)
WR Vincent Marshall-Jr (5-7, 170) Bennie Swain-Fr (6-2, 175)
WR Leonard Gibson-So (6-1, 205) Josh Hairston-Jr (5-9, 165)
WR Chad McCullar-Jr (5-10, 170) Raphael Hearne-So (6-3, 200)
TE Stephen Cucci-Sr (6-4, 270) Jacob Jones-Jr (6-1, 225)
Blade Bassler-Jr (6-4, 220) (slot)
OT Phil Hawkins-Sr (6-5, 312) Dustin Dickinson-Fr (6-3, 280)
OG Roy Swan-Jr (6-2, 350) Chase Mock-So (6-1, 320)
C Sterling Doty-So (6-1, 290) Byron Alfred-Fr (6-2, 280)
OG David Douglas-Jr (6-3, 335) Jeremy Davis-So (6-2, 300)
OT John McGilvray-Jr (6-5, 285) James Hong-Jr (6-5, 300)
K Dustin Bell-Sr (6-2, 230) Justin Laird-So (6-2, 195)



Defensive Line
This is an area of strength the Cougars look to fully exploit. Four returning starters line the front, headed by Joe Clay. Clay led the defense with seven sacks and 16 TFLs. He provides a great run-stopper up front and has gotten stronger and quicker each year. Kade Lane adds bulk and deceptive quickness alongside, but will have to fight off impressive JUCO transfer DJ Johnson for the starting position. Houston goes six deep along the front and that rotation will pay off against talented offensive lines. They are bigger and stronger than most fronts in C-USA so they need to get maximum production out of this group for the defense to even marginally succeed.

Here's where a red flag gets thrown. There are still some uncertainties as to who will man the middle. For now it will be Everson, but there are some doubters. No question he is the team's best tackler, but that was from the "Stub" (SLB) position where he saw more action and had more room to roam. His move is needed to make room for Wade Koehl, who is a better fit at the "Stub" due to his speed and agility. Bryant Brown maintains his "Buck" spot but needs to play to his potential. Depth behind these guys is slim, so health and production must coincide.

Defensive Back
Throw another red flag. Houston allowed opponents to complete 54 percent of their passes for 3012 yards and 27 TDs- those stats must get better. FS Will Gulley is the leader, finishing with 104 tackles (second on the team) and four INTs. But when your FS is your second leading tackler that usually means your front-seven isn't creating much of a disruption. SS Rocky Schwartz had an impressive spring and will give the secondary a bit of a spark, though no game experience. The corners are somewhat of a question mark. Routt and Gaston look the likely starters, but Wilson could easily step into either spot early on. At any rate this is the unit that needs to set the tone early for the defense to have success.

Breakdown is the key- that's what happened in the Cougars' losses last season. They gave up 36 points per game and finished no higher than 8th (out of 11) in all major defensive categories. It all starts with the DBs. The Cougars are certainly aggressive, but must get better in coverage and tackling in the secondary if they are to stay ahead in ballgames this season. The earlier the secondary succeeds, the sooner the LB corps can gel and take comfort in their (new) positions.


DE Joe Clay


Returning Starters in bold
DE Joe Clay-Sr (6-1, 260) Eddie McCray-So (6-3, 231)
DT Marquay Love-So (6-0, 300) Gerard Richard-Jr (6-3, 300)
DT Kade Lane-Jr (6-2, 260) D.J. Johnson-Jr (6-3, 295)
DE Kendrick Goss-Sr (6-4, 270) Matthew Bentley-Jr (6-2, 280)
SLB Wade Koehl-So (6-2, 215) Jamie Green-Sr (6-1, 236)
MLB Lance Everson-Sr (6-2, 230) Ashley Subingsubing-Sr (6-0, 225)
BLB Bryant Brown-Jr (6-2, 220) Trent Allen-Fr (6-1, 220)
CB Stanford Routt-Sr (6-1, 190) Ricky Wilson-So (5-10, 180)
CB Willie Gaston-Jr (5-10, 185) Courtney Sterling-Jr (5-7, 170)
SS Courtney Brooks-Sr (6-3, 220) Rocky Schwartz-Fr (5-11, 180)
FS Will Gulley-Jr (6-4, 205) Roshawn Pope-Jr (5-10, 190)
P Justin Laird-So (6-2, 195) J.J. Wyatt-Sr (5-11, 210)




Dustin Bell has connected on 26 of 33 FGs in two years. Not possessing an astoundingly strong leg, Bell provides proven points within 40 yards and is automatic on PATs. He's one of the best kickers in Conference USA and, depending, could sneak in as a Lou Groza finalist.

The loss of Jimmy McClary hurts the field position game- especially since the defense doesn't inspire a ton of confidence. The job looks to be in favor of strong-legged Justin Laird if he can provide consistency. If not, Bell will be pulling double-duty.

Return Game
Ricky Wilson might be one of the best-kept secrets in the country as far as the kick return game is concerned. He is a speedster who can follow the wedge and shoot the gaps to open field. McCullar will see time returning punts until Wilson proves he can handle both jobs.