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December 21, 2013
Grading The Team: Quarterbacks
Now that the Houston Cougars' regular season has concluded, the team has begun it's preparation for the January 4 BBVA Compass Bowl Game against Vanderbilt, their eighth bowl game since 2003.
As the team enjoys some time off for the Christmas holiday, CougarsDen continues it's look at how each position group fared during the Cougars regular season and given each position group a grade.
Today we continue the series with a look at the quarterbacks which saw a changing of the guard in 2013.
The season started out with an initial plan of junior incumbent David Piland getting the lion's share of the reps while true freshman John O'Korn was worked into the mix to begin his development. Sprinkle in a few plays with fellow true freshman Greg Ward as a change of pace option and the unit seemed pretty deep.
The plan was altered considerable in the Cougars second game of the season when Piland left the Temple game with a concussion, his second in as many seasons. The concussion would prove to be the final head injury for Piland's career as he opted to retire from the game.
After Piland went down the Cougars were left with both true freshmen and the beginning of a new era at the position for the Cougars. The remainder of the season was up and down but promising as O'Korn and Ward both saw their play on the field develop.
O'Korn, with a good game in the Cougar's bowl game has a shot to get to 3,000 yards passing for the season. He finished the regular season with 2,889 yards on 239 of 399 passing, good for a 60% completion rate. He had 26 touchdown passes with just eight interceptions and also finished with with a rushing touchdown.
Ward continued to be the change of pace quarterback throughout the season, appearing in nine of the 12 games, throwing for 300 yards and a touchdown while finishing third on the team's rushing list with 179 yards and a score. He finished the year getting even more involved in the offensive game plan, catching nine passes for just under 100 yards and score as well as returning punts.
So despite the mid-season adjustments that had to be made, the position still yielded some solid games. There were some growing pains that can be expected with two true freshman signal callers at the top of your depth chart. Despite the actuality that an incomplete grade is most fitting for the position, they earned a solid B for the season with some grading on the curve for youth and circumstances.