The Houston Cougars football program is coming off a 13-1 season that saw them win the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and the American Athletic Conference, but they received some unfortunate news Tuesday.
According to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, citing a spokesman from the Cougars athletic department, running back Javin Webb was "dismissed for violating undisclosed team rules.”
This is not the first time Webb has found himself in trouble with the Cougars.
Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle noted Webb was dismissed from the team early in the 2014 season by former coach Tony Levine for what a source called a “minor teams rules violation.” However, Tom Herman took the coaching job before the 2015 campaign and gave Webb another opportunity after asking various members of the team about the running back.
Webb commented on the chance at the time, per Duarte: “I'm just so blessed and so thankful that coach Herman believes in giving people a second chance. I told him I wouldn't make him regret it. I'm going to continue to keep my promise.”
He apparently broke whatever that promise was given Tuesday’s news, although Duarte said, “The university did not provide details or reason for Webb’s dismissal.”
Duarte pointed out that “Webb was given a strict set of guidelines—ranging from academics to personal conduct—he had to meet as part of his reinstatement to the team.”
Webb was a solid contributor in 2015 and finished fourth on the squad with 277 rushing yards on 70 carries. He scored a touchdown in the AAC title victory over the Temple Owls, although he finished with more than 39 rushing yards in a game only once all year, when he ran for 78 yards against Texas State on Sept. 26 in a 59-14 blowout victory.
This may not seem like a devastating loss from a statistical perspective, but Kenneth Farrow (958 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground last year) and Ryan Jackson (407 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground last year) were both seniors in 2015 and Houston's top two running backs.
Webb was only a sophomore last year and figured to be in the mix for more playing time this season with Farrow and Jackson out of the depth-chart picture. Duarte said Webb “was expected to compete for playing time in the backfield with Duke Catalon, Kaliq Kokuma, Kevrin Justice, Davon Crookshank and incoming true freshman Mulbah Car.”
Alas, that is one less running back option for a Cougars offense that put up 38 points against Florida State in the bowl victory and finished 10th in the nation in points per game. That puts even more pressure on returning quarterback Greg Ward Jr. to rack up impressive numbers once again after throwing for 2,828 yards and running for 1,108 yards in 2015.