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Old 08-04-2016, 01:00 PM   #1
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UH, Tom Herman open 2016 training camp with high expectations

Football is back at the University of Houston following Tom Herman's breakout 2015 season, in which he led the Cougars to a 13-1 finish and a win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl.

Thursday morning it was time to turn the page as the Cougars hit the field for the start of their training camp on a hot and humid day in Houston. The countdown begins now to their season opener Sept. 3 against Oklahoma at NRG Stadium.

.@UHCougarFB first practice. @KPRC2</p>-- Alex Radow (@alexradow) August 4, 2016 "It was good to see the guys running around. It was good to instill our way of practicing into the newcomers," Herman said. "But we're not going to be able to tell much until it's time to put the pads on."

.@CoachTomHerman after practice @UHCougarFB @KPRC2</p>-- Randy McIlvoy (@RandyMcIlvoy) August 4, 2016 The Cougars hit the field bright and early Thursday morning at their practice facility, beginning the workout at 7:20 a.m. and running for two hours. The UH offense will be led by Heisman candidate Greg Ward Jr., who hopes to top what he was able to pull off in the Cougars magical run in 2015. Ward threw for over 2,000 yards (2,828 yards with 17 TDs) and rushed for over 1,000 (1,253 yards with 21 TDs), becoming one of only two quarterbacks in the nation to accomplish those levels.

"He's walking around. He's got his chest puffed out a little bit. He's talking. He's bouncing around. You can just tell he's a lot more confident," Herman said about Ward.

Filling holes is always a key for any football team, and on offense Herman will have to replace the production from the likes of wide receiver Demarcus Ayers (1,222 yards) and running back Kenneth Farrow (958 yards, 12 TD). A great recruiting class full of offensive talent and transfers should provide the spark needed for the Cougars.

Defensively, U of H is in great shape with a front seven that will be among the nation's best. The Cougars lost four talented defensive backs and linebacker Elandon Roberts, who led the team in tackles in 2015.

Thursday is day one of a long journey to what Herman and his program hope is a spot in the college football playoffs. It all begins with OU and a run in the American Athletic Conference, where the Cougars are projected to win the championship.

Here with @UHCougarFB linebacker Steven Taylor (@thakid41) @KPRC2</p>-- Randy McIlvoy (@RandyMcIlvoy) August 4, 2016 Former Westfield HS star Ed Oliver wearing #10. @KPRC2</p>-- Alex Radow (@alexradow) August 4, 2016

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