Football Returns to Practice on Thursday Afternoon

Cougars Hold High-Energy, Spirited Workout to Start Preps for Texas Bowl

Dec. 6, 2007

HOUSTON - The University of Houston football team returned to practice Thursday afternoon with a spirited and energetic workout on the UH practice fields.

Working out in full pads, the Cougars practiced for a little over 90 minutes in their first training session since a 59-6 win over Texas Southern during the regular-season finale on Nov. 24.

The Cougars meet TCU at 7 p.m., Dec. 28 during the 2007 Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium. Fans can hear that game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, David Klingler or Ted Pardee providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sideline. The pregame show is slated to begin one hour before kickoff.

Fans also can follow live stats over the Internet by clicking the Gametracker link at

The game also will be televised live on the NFL Network. It will be the sixth time this season that the Cougars will play on television.

Although the Cougars competed in their first workout since head coach Art Briles accepted a position at Baylor, interim head coach Chris Thurmond said he was impressed with the way the Cougars returned to work.

"The kids were absolutely great today. As long as they are having fun and going at a high-energy level, we will get a lot of things done," said Thurmond, who is in his second year on the UH staff. "We don't want to stay out here very long but while we are out here, we want to be efficient and real fast and real good at what we do."

With the change in leadership also came changes in the Cougars' regular practice schedule. The team competed in live hitting during the workout, especially in the final 10 minutes of practice when the offensive and defensive units squared off against one another on the 10-yard line.



After an offsides penalty put the ball five yards closer, the Cougar defense held and did not allow their offensive counterparts into the end zone. As a result, the Cougar offensive players were required to do 20 up-downs.

The change in the final 10 minutes of practice seemed to be well received with some good-natured trash-talking between teammates and reserve players on both side of the ball yelling and encouraging their teammates.

"Kids like to compete," Thurmond said. "It just makes them a little more aware, and it makes it fun. It makes it competitive. We're not doing enough to kill anybody but we're doing enough where they have something invested."

Thurmond said the Cougar players had better become familiar with competition during the final 10 minutes of practice leading up to the bowl game. Each day, the units will face off in a different situation with the ball being placed on the 3-yard line one day or an overtime situation the next day.

"When you go live, you get the tempo going. When you are preparing for a bowl game, you have to be able to block and tackle. A bowl game is probably harder on defenses because you go a long time and you don't tackle," Thurmond said. "(When you go live), you get your tempo up. It gets guys having fun; it lets them play and it lets them realize the things that we have to do.

Interim head coach Chris Thurmond