Applewhite: UH QB battle mainly about ball security

If anybody knows about a quarterback battle, it's Major Applewhite.

When the current UH offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was a player at the University of Texas, he seemed to be always pitted against the more-hyped Chris Simms. Applewhite, though, didn't let that prevent him from becoming a Longhorns legend. To this day, he has a legion of burnt orange fans in his corner.

That experience gives him a unique perspective for the current battle to become the University of Houston's starting quarterback. Either Greg Ward or Adam Schulz will be in line to start the Cougars' season opener against Tennessee Tech.

"Fortunately, it starts off with two great people," Applewhite said. "When you don't have good people, you have controversy, you have a bad locker room. We have two great people who work really hard and I think all the team respects those guys."

Ward and Schulz have different styles. Ward is more athletic, while Schulz is more the prototypical passer. Overall, though, no matter who the Cougars choose, Applewhite says the game plan for the season opener won't change too much.

"We looked at that in the offseason and we kind of carefully judged, 'What can Adam do in the run game?' and it's more than you think," Applewhite said. "'What can Greg do in the passing game?' and it's more than you think, so it's not like we have two different worlds. Obviously, you gear things more to one who's more athletic than to one who's not, one who may be a more cerebral passer kind of guy, but at the same time, we're fortunate enough to where both of those guys have done enough of what the other one can do to where we can keep the game plan similar.

"The number one thing is the guy who takes care of the football," Applewhite said. "Ultimately, that's what wins or loses games is ball security. So a guy who can take care of the football, but also a guy who can make plays for us and move us down the field. And as I told the quarterbacks, y'all both have different styles of doing it, but I'm giving you the keys and your job is to get in the end zone."