Case Keenum, media darling, is ready to hit the field
With those kind of discussions, one would think that the Cougars would have to worry about getting overconfident and looking ahead. But the season doesn't actually start until Saturday, and none of those discussions even matter until the Cougars have actually won some football games.
And as far head coach Kevin Sumlin is concerned, those BCS or not BCS discussions are pure nonsense that mean absolutely nothing to his football team.
"I find that there's a bunch of people who say that [regarding the Coogs being BCS-busters]," Sumlin said at Tuesday's media luncheon. "Then I turn around and we're not in the Top 25, so we obviously still have work to do. I wouldn't worry about us having a big head."
The Cougars themselves don't seem to care about that, either. For them, the big thing is that the season is starting. They're tired of hitting and playing against each other, and the coaches are tired of seeing them hit and play against each other. They all just want to play some football.
"This is the first one of the year," Sumlin said. "We're excited. We're probably no different from any other team, any other coaching staff. This time of year, we're all pretty tired of looking at each other and ready to play somebody else. If your team's not in that position, then you've got to worry."
The opponent this week is Texas State, a school from the lower-FCS division. And as easy as it should be for the Cougars to take this game for granted, they're not. Because they want to play some football, and they want to impress some people. Especially the defensive players who are showing off a new attitude as well as a new defense after bearing the brunt of the blame for last season's failures.
"I feel like every year we have something to prove just because we have something to prove," defensive end David Hunter said. "People want to see what we can do. The offense, they've been doing a lot of good things, and they just want to see our defense, and what our defense can contribute."
Wide receiver James Cleveland, one of the key members of last year's offense, says that the win this weekend is important. But he's really looking forward to seeing what the defense can do when they're actually facing another team.
"What I want to see this week is great energy from our defense," said Cleveland. "And great execution from our defense. It's very complicated, and they picked it up in a short amount of time...so it'll be exciting to me to see them execute and be on the same page and to gel as one unit against another team."
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And Cleveland's not really worried about what the offense is going to do.
"We're going to be tops in the nation again," Cleveland said. "We want to take care of business every time we're out there. A big emphasis on ball control this year. No turnovers, no fumbles. Statistically, we're not really looking at numbers. Numbers will take care of themselves. We're looking at what we can control, ball security, making plays, making blocks for each other, making blocks for the running backs on screen plays, what not."
The fun starts on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium with kickoff set for 7 p.m..
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:
The Cougars and Texas State have actually met three times, with Texas State winning three times. But those games were in 1946-48, the Cougars first three years of football....A warning regarding parking: All of the lots surrounding Robertson Stadium are sold out to Cougar Pride members. Access to those lots will be restricted to only cars with the proper permit. Parking guidelines can be found here..... The game is close to a sellout....James Cleveland bragged about a new offensive weapon, senior receiver Kierre Johnson: "That's another thing, KJ, Kierre Johnson, the newest addition to our offense, will be a great asset because he can do some things with the ball."...UH quarterback Case Keenum has been quite the media celebrity this summer, appearing often on national radio and television. "It's fun," Keenum said. 'It's better than being on the bad list. It's better than nobody caring at all. At the same time, I'm ready to start playing football and not talk about it anymore."