Regrets, Case Keenum has a few. But he does not regret what you might expect.
Keenum regrets not scoring at the end of his 45-yard run in the second quarter against UCLA. He regrets throwing an interception to Akeem Ayers in the end zone on the very next play.
He does not regret what happened next.
Keenum took off trying to make the tackle -- even though he got injured the week before doing the exact same thing. He got hurt again, only this time much worse. Keenum tore his ACL when he planted his foot to try and bring down Ayers, ending his season and most likely his Houston career.
“If I was put in the same situation I probably would have done the same thing,” Keenum said Tuesday on a conference call, his first public comments since he got hurt in the 31-13 loss Sept. 18. “I’m an extremely competitive person by nature. That’s just what I do. If I throw a pick, I need to go fix it. I need to go tackle the guy.”
Keenum is set to undergo surgery Wednesday in Houston, and said he has made no decision about his future. Though he is a senior, he could be eligible for a medical redshirt. Keenum said it was too early to figure out what he would do.
“There’s still a lot of emotions going on with me and my family,” Keenum said. “That sort of decision is not one that should be emotionally based. I’m just going to get the most information that I can and see what my best options are for me.”
Keenum said he knew he was hurt right away because he felt something sliding in his knee. “I was in denial, but I knew I had torn my ACL at the time. I’ve got a lot of faith and hope, I’m going to come back stronger than ever physically and mentally.”
When asked about his emotions the last few weeks, Keenum said, “It’s not a fun process,” he said. “I don’t wish this on anybody. It’s been a roller coaster up and down. It’s been good to be with the team and to be with my family. It’s hard being out there at the games, on the sidelines and not being able to play, but it’s good to be there helping the young guys out, coaching them up a little bit, giving them advice and encouragement.
“Just trying to look at it as all things happen for a reason. I think this is a good test of my character and my faith and to really harden me up and to get my foundation back stronger, back to where it needs to be and prepare me for things down the road.”
Keenum said he would remain with the team and travel to as many games as he could. He said his recovery is the usual timetable for ACL injuries but did not give a specific length of time. Keenum also said he has heard from many quarterbacks around the country, including Kellen Moore, Andy Dalton and Robert Griffin III.
If his career is over, Keenum would have fallen short of breaking several NCAA records. He went into the season as a Heisman Trophy contender, off back-to-back 5,000-yard passing seasons. Keenum was on pace to set the record for career passing yards and now has 13,586. Timmy Chang still holds the record with 17,072.
Now Houston turns to a true freshman. Terrance Broadway got the start last week but the team relied more on its running game in a 42-23 win over Tulane. Bryce Beall had 123 yards rushing and four touchdowns, while Broadway went 19-of-28 for 174 yards and one interception.
Keenum says Broadway is further along than he was when he was 18, and writes off the doubters who now believe the Cougars have no shot at Conference USA.
“We’ve had doubters and naysayers and we’ve had people who have talked good about us,” Keenum said. “We know that comes with the territory and different people are going to have different opinions. The only opinion that matters is the one we have of ourselves. We still feel we’re a heck of a football team and we still feel we can move the ball on offense and do whatever we want. We’re going to work hard and make sure we put ourselves in the best possible situation to win.”