“Houston sports” is a phrase that can cause fear with everyone in this great city. We have seen our fair share of heartbreak. The rare occasions where it all goes right is what makes sports special. The joy of the Astros’ World Series victory was boosted by the collapse of the 2015 team in the ALDS even with a late four run lead.
The Cougars have their own phrase that has become a moniker for collapsing: it’s “Cooging it.” It’s happened countless times, yet it hurts no less each time. Head Coach Major Applewhite had his first run in with really Cooging it, against SMU in Dallas. He then let Temple stomp all over his defense at Homecoming. Coach Applewhite better figure everything out quick or he will be out of a job.
Coach Applewhite wasn’t the choice for most Cougars. He wasn’t an inspiring hire. He isn’t very fiery. Coming from the likes of Tom Herman to him was hard to take. I was one who said he needed a fair shot. His first season was full of hits and misses. His hire of Kendal Briles to lead the offense was a brilliant one.
Applewhite’s decision to stick with Mark D’Onofrio seems to be a glaring mistake. There has been a rash of injuries. There just hasn’t been enough signs that there is an actual method to playing defense with this team. That omission has cost UH a possible trip to a big bowl game and more. Opportunities like this season do not come around very often.
Cooging it is something I wish I haven’t experienced, but I have. The heartbreak of the 2011 Conference title game is still fresh in my mind. Coming so close to the Sugar Bowl, only to be relegated to playing a post-scandal Penn State. I will also never forget ruining the opening of the brand new TDECU Stadium by losing to the great football power that is the University of Texas at San Antonio. It doesn’t sound bad until you realize it’s not The University of Texas. Luckily, that one game hasn’t defined the wonderful stadium that the football program now calls home. My hope is that we don’t to have to say our hire at Head Coach was an example of Cooging it as well.
The rest of this season should now become a job interview for his future. Applewhite must realize that he must show that he can effectively manage this team out of this funk into a respectable finish. If the administration decides to keep Major, he must show that he can be an effective leader. He will have to replace his defensive coordinator.
Applewhite managed to nail his Offensive Coordinator hire when given a second shot. He can’t get a second chance on every decision, though. I hope he can turn his tenure around. I like Applewhite a lot. I hope he can be the coach we Cougar fans want him to be. More importantly, though, I want to start winning again, and fast. Major Applewhite should too, because he is quickly running out of chances to prove he isn’t another Cooging it mistake.