Two of the worst-kept secrets of the brand new Cougar football off-season became official on Saturday, as highly-touted freshman quarterback Terrance Broadway officially applied for a transfer from Houston, and defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat was fired.
For Broadway, it was the end of a short-lived, tumultuous Cougar career. He was one of the most highly-touted recruits in recent memory for Houston, and saw his redshirt burned his first year on campus as Case Keenum and Cotton Turner suffered injuries. But he quickly lost his starting job to fellow true freshman David Piland, and never got it back.
While a significant portion of the Cougar fan base was consistently behind Broadway, even chanting his name when Piland struggled, others were critical of what seemed to be a pouty demeanor on the sidelines after losing the starting job.
Still, it's clear that the coaching staff would have eventually come up with some way to take advantage of Broadway's near endless athleticism. At the same time, it's understandable that Broadway would look for somewhere he could start at quarterback. If he transfers to another 1-A program, he could use his redshirt during his transfer season, and then have three years of eligibility left.
As it stands now, Houston's scholarship quarterbacks next year will be Piland, Turner, Drew Hollingshead, and incoming freshman Bram Kohlhausen.
Jim Jeffcoat became the second defensive coaching casualty in Kevin Sumlin's three years at Houston. The defense has been consistently bad, leading to defensive coordinator John Skladany's dismissal after last year. Things didn't get much better under first-year coordinator Brian Stewart, who switched the team from a 4-3 to a 3-4 look.
Despite needing to put one less starter on the field, depth was an issue on the line. This was partially due to injuries, as both Matangi Tonga and Radermon Scypion missed time, but there was a definite feeling that the D-line wasn't holding up its end of the bargain.
The Cougar fan base had also hoped that Jeffcoat's hire could help lure his son Jackson, one of the top high school defensive lineman in the 2010 class, to Houston. While Jackson Jeffcoat listed Houston among his final three schools, he ultimately chose to commit to Texas-Austin.
While father Jeffcoat did the correct thing - present Jackson with the positives UH has to offer, but ultimately let him make his own decision - ultimately, Jackson's decision may have cost dad his job. Who knows if the story of this year would have been different with a game-changer like Jeffcoat the younger on the line?
Regardless, it's nice to see the coaching staff at least acknowledge that the defense has been a problem. It's not as though Jeffcoat's dismissal will fix everything wrong with the defense, but it's a step in the right direction. The quality of replacement Houston is able to hire will be a good litmus test of where the Cougars' reputation is nationally, after a disappointing 5-7 season.