With the Houston Cougars making the transition to the American Athletic Conference in 2013, the team picked a terrible time to suffer a rocky offseason. The Cougars have lost the services of their top rusher in 2012, Charles Sims, and top receiver, Dewayne Peace, leaving questions about who will step up and lead the offense next fall. With the exodus of playmakers from Houston this offseason, the pressure falls on quarterback David Piland to take control.
To do that, though, he will need to show improvement from his sophomore campaign in 2012. Last season, Piland was able to complete just 57.1 percent of his passes for 2,929 yards with 16 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. If he can improve his accuracy and cut down on the turnovers, Piland should blow past the 3,000-yard mark in 2013 and make the Houston offense a dangerous matchup. That becomes even more important without the contributions of Sims out of the backfield.
He will have enough weapons at his disposal to be successful, however. Even without Peace in the mix, Houston boasts a deep and talented roster of receivers. It was so deep, in fact, that Peace wasn’t even running with the No. 1 offense this spring. Larry McDuffey, Xavier Maxwell, Daniel Spencer and Deontay Greenberry rose to the top of the depth chart this spring and will all be viable pass-catchers for Piland to look to in 2013. That also doesn’t include incoming JUCO transfer Markeith Ambles, a former top recruit of the USC Trojans, who should make an immediate impact this fall.
The pieces are all in place for Piland to take the next step as a quarterback for Houston in 2013 and the Cougars will desperately need him to if they hope to find some success early in the AAC. If he can’t, the Houston offense will sputter its way to a disappointing finish in their new conference.