Holgorsen on redshirts: We’re not tanking

Field Level Media

September 25, 2019 at 2:17 am.

Flanked by a pair of starters — quarterback D’Eriq King and wide receiver Keith Corbin — who have both chosen to redshirt as seniors this season in order to return in 2020, Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen vehemently denied Tuesday that his team has thrown in the towel on the 2019 season.

In a press conference with the first-year Cougars coach, along with his starting quarterback and wideout who ranked as the team’s first and second touchdown scorers last season respectively, Holgorsen and his players explained the unusual decision to punt on their senior seasons after four games in order to come back for a do-over next fall.

“I can assure you that whoever is saying that was not at our practice last night, was not in our meetings on Sunday night, these long coaches meetings that we had preparing for a game,” Holgorsen said of any insinuations that he and his staff are giving up on 2019. “We’re full go ahead on playing a game this weekend.

“So that to me, is absolute nonsense.”

The redshirt decision of King stunned many in college football. The 5-foot-11 signal caller posted one of the most dominant seasons of any player in 2018 for Houston, when he passed for 2,982 yards with 36 touchdowns against only six interceptions. He added a team-high 14 rushing scores, also running for 674 yards on the ground.

Corbin, a third-year starting wideout, topped the Cougars with 10 touchdown catches in addition to his 40 receptions for 691 yards in 2018.

This season, King’s completion percentage has fallen from 63.5 in 2018 to 52.7 this September in the Cougars’ 1-3 start.

Both King and Corbin defended their shocking decisions, with King also turning back rumors — partly fueled by his father telling a local FOX affiliate Monday that King would be entering the transfer portal. Before the press, King sounded certain about his plans to stay with Houston next season.

“I’m staying here,” King said. “If I wanted to leave Houston and go somewhere else, I could have. I think me being here is what I want to do and it’s the best opportunity for me. I don’t think anybody will reach out to me [to convince me to transfer]. Even if they do, they should know I’m staying here.”

Holgorsen received a five-year contract in January worth $20 million to become coach of the Cougars after going 61-41 in eight seasons at West Virginia. He formerly served as Houston’s offensive coordinator for two seasons in 2008-09.