Houston star DT Oliver screams at coach on sideline

The Sports Xchange

November 16, 2018 at 11:46 am.

All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver engaged in a heated shouting match with Houston coach Major Applewhite just before halftime of Thursday night’s game against Tulane.

Oliver, considered a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, was enraged and had to be restrained after Applewhite after the coach told him to remove his cold-weather coat.

The reigning Outland Trophy winner was inactive due to a knee injury and, per a team rule, only uniformed players are allowed to wear coats on the sideline.

Oliver, who sat out his fourth consecutive game, did not join the team on the sideline in the second half of the 48-17 win over Tulane and was unavailable for comment after the contest.

“Everybody follows the rule. I want everybody to follow the rule,” Applewhite said ruing his postgame media briefing, per the Houston Chronicle. “I asked him to follow the rule. He was upset about it, and I get it. We deal with these types of situations all the time. This is something we’re going to learn from and grow from.”

Oliver has not played since he suffered a right knee injury against Navy on Oct. 20. He attempted to return against SMU earlier this month but he was scratched when he felt discomfort in the knee during pregame warmups.

Because Oliver already has committed to enter next year’s draft, there has been speculation in Houston that he would not play the remainder of the season for fear of injury — similar to the path of former Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa.

Applewhite dismissed such talk in the week leading up to the SMU matchup, and said after Thursday’s game that he wants Oliver with the team.

“I heard he had left (after halftime),” Applewhite said. “I want him back. I want him part of our football team. If he wants to play, I want him to play.”

Asked if Oliver would play next weekend if healthy, Applewhite responded: “We’re always ready for him to come back.”

Applewhite attempted to downplay the incident, terming it nothing more than a youthful mistake.

“We’re all young. I don’t blame him,” the coach said. “I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. We all need a second chance. He’ll do great and he’ll be fine.”

Oliver had never missed a game in his three-year career before sitting out against South Florida last month. He was a consensus All-American last season, when he became the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy.

After he announced in March that he will leave the Cougars following the 2018 season, Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com ranked Oliver as the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 draft in his latest Big Board ratings.

Rang wrote that Oliver “has arguably been the most consistent difference-maker in college football regardless of position” during his time at Houston.

In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Oliver had 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He has 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Despite sitting out four games, Oliver earlier this week was among eight semifinalists announced for this year’s Outland Trophy.