While 2015 marked Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr’s junior year with the school, it was only his first full year at the quarterback position. Ward had been playing at wide receiver and punt returner his first two season when starting quarterback John O’Korn his a sophomore slump mid-2014 and was benched during the UCF game. Ward was moved back to QB to replace O’Korn and hasn’t yet let go of the reigns.
Ward went 6-2 in 2014 as the starting quarterback and helped the Coogs regain some confidence and swagger on offense. With new coaches Tom Herman and Major Applewhite leading the Coogs and the Coogs offense respectively in 2015, Ward thrived under the two QB gurus and led the Cougars to a 13-0 record as the starting quarterback (the only loss UH suffered was when Ward was out with an injury).
Herman and Applewhite installed a “smashmouth spread” offense which was designed to be more balanced than the “air raid” offenses deployed by Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin. This new offense was designed to split passing and running 50/50 to keep opposing defenses on their heels and the dual-threat Ward excelled in the new system. Passing for 2,828 yards and rushing for another 1,108, Ward proved the Coogs were a tough team to beat.
It will be interesting to see how Ward improves with another full offseason working under Herman and Applewhite and he should be even more dynamic in 2016. The Coogs did lose running backs Kenneth Farrow and Ryan Jackson and wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, but there’s plenty of young talent on the roster to hopefully replace their productivity.
More thoughts from Underdog Dynasty here.