Monday, October 6, 2003
New coach, offense, quarterback have UH on rise
HOUSTON -- Houston freshman Kevin Kolb had some rare
advantages over most beginning college quarterbacks when he arrived
on campus this fall. He knew the Cougars' intricate pass-oriented
offense and the man implementing it.
Kolb has been learning the same offensive alignment since he was
in the seventh grade in Stephenville, a small community southwest
of Fort Worth. Kolb saw a familiar face in new Cougar coach Art
Briles, who invented and refined the offense as the Stephenville
Yellowjackets head coach and brought it with him to his first
"When you go to college football, there are so many things you
have to adjust to," Kolb said. "Knowing the offense was one more
burden off my back. I can attribute that to my success."
Kolb jumped at the chance to join Briles at Houston. The results
have been good so far. Kolb has completed 78 of 126 passes for
1,051 yards, nine touchdowns and only one interception. He leads
the team in total offense, averaging 226 yards per game.
Houston is 4-1 and off to its best start since 1990 going into
Saturday's Conference USA opener against Tulane.
The Cougars are averaging 396 yards per game and a victory over
the Green Wave would give them a 2-0 start in the conference for
the first time since 1997
"We have a long way to go," Kolb said. "You're so happy when
you win a game, then you look at the film and it's never as good as
you thought it was. When we get it rolling, I'm not going to say it
will be this year, but when we get it like we should be, it's going
to be hard to stop, yes sir."
The Cougars have had two winning seasons since 1990 when they
"The journey is not over as far as our season," said Briles,
who got a late start on recruiting after accepting the job in
December. "We don't feel we've arrived. We're just now kind of
pulling our chair up to the table. We haven't started eating yet."
Briles didn't get to coach Kolb on the Stephenville varsity. He
left a highly successful high school career behind to become an
assistant coach at Texas Tech. When Dana Dimel was dismissed at
Houston after last season, Briles took over and brought his
high-tech offense with him.
Getting Kolb in his first recruiting class was a break for the
"Kevin has the ability to make plays consistently, those are
the things that stuck out with us and made us feel he'd be able to
go in there and do a good job," Briles said. "He's just carried
on what he's been doing since the seventh grade."
Senior wide receiver Brandon Middleton, who has waited his
entire college career to be part of a winner, thinks Kolb is a
reason for the Cougars' early success.
"I thought me and the other receivers would have to make more
plays to keep the pressure off him, but he's been able to take the
pressure off us when he's able to scramble around like he has and
rush the ball," Middleton said.
"The thing that has surprised me has been his demeanor in the
huddle. He's cool and collected. He has exceeded his age as far the
way he handles himself."
The Cougars only loss was to No. 20 ranked Michigan. Their
victories have been over teams with a combined 2-19 record.
Still, Briles won't give the wins back.
"If you don't take victories, you're not very smart," Briles
said. "We'll play our schedule and what they do with their season
is out of our control. All we can control is the 60 minutes we'll
play against them."
Briles expected to see immediate progress and isn't accepting
his first season as head coach as a rebuilding year.
"I see a lot of progress but we still can get better," Briles
said. "We're going in the right direction and that's the
encouraging part for me. But, there's a lot more out there. We're
not tapped out."