For any Cougar fans wondering who was going to step up to fill the void left among Taysom Hill's targets when Cody Hoffman left for the NFL, the question was likely answered last Friday night. While Hill was undoubtedly, and deservedly, the breakout player of the Connecticut game, I am going to focus on one of his targets as a player who should break out against Texas.
Junior wide receiver/tight end Terenn Houk had a solid game last week at UConn, catching four balls for 58 yards and a touchdown and displaying an impressive ability to create after the catch on his TD.
Houk is a big-bodied wide receiver with speed, balance, vision, body control, and good hands. These traits combine to make him a great receiver for Hill's style of quarterbacking. He has the ability to get separation on his initial route, but his size and speed make him a mismatch for the defense if the play breaks down and Hill is forced to scramble. Itallows him to mirror his quarterback's movements and slip behind defenders.
After he gets the ball, his size and balance make him difficult for any defensive back to bring down. His playmaking ability is reminiscent of former Cougar H-Back Daniel Coats, who, before he ate his way into primarily being a tight end, would split out wide and create match up nightmares. Houk has the speed to play on the edge, and the size to win battles over the middle.
Houk has only shown us one game, and against one of the more mediocre opponents on the BYU schedule thus far, but what he's shown should be cause for optimism heading forward. Hill is going to need all the help he can get from his wide receiver corps against an athletic Texas defense with a new coach, a new attitude, and wounded pride from last year's romp.
If they are able to contain Hill in the running game, then his receivers need to win their one on one battles and help him out, to keep sustaining drives. Houk should be that receiver who is able to find an open space and move the chains. If BYU's offensive line can't hold back the Texas front, and Hill is running for his life, Houk needs to get open and give his quarterback a way to punish Texas for rushing him.
I think Houk will find plenty of space in the middle of that Texas secondary and continue to support Hill's renaissance as a passer moving forward in the season. He should have between 5-8 catches for more than 60 yards and a touchdown to help give BYU their best chance to win this game, and establish himself as Hill's safety valve to move the chains and strike from inside the red zone and beyond.