At just 34 years old and in his first season as defensive coordinator, Doug Belk has transformed an “offensive rich” Houston program into one of the nation’s elite defenses. Belk has Houston’s defense ranked in the Top 25 statistically in seven defensive categories. Belk’s ability to relate to his players and get the most out of them has been a difference maker in 2021. The Cougars finished the COVID-19 abbreviated 2020 season ranked 80th in FBS in points allowed (32.0 per game), 55th in total defense (398.5), 62nd against the pass (231) and 66th against the run (167.5).
Doug Belk is in his third season at Houston overall and was promoted to defensive coordinator on Jan. 19, 2021.He was promoted associate head coach in January 2020. Belk hired as the Co-Defensive Coordinator and Safetiescoach at Houston on Jan. 11, 2019 after two seasons as cornerbacks coach at West Virginia.Prior to his time at West Virginia, Belk served as the defensive graduate assistant coach at Alabama for two years, working with the defensive backs. He worked directly with Head Coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinators Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt, assisting with all aspects of the defensive secondary as well as with special teams.Prior to Alabama, Belk was the defensive secondary coach at Valdosta State in 2012-13.
Houston is 8-1 overall and 6-0 in The American (1st place). The Cougars have been ranked in the AP Top 25 for consecutive weeks for the first time since 2015. Houston is off to its best nine-game start since 2015. Houston has started conference play 6-0 just five times in its program history including 2021.
The Cougars’ unit ranks fourth in third down conversion % defense (.282), fourth in team sacks (3.67), seventh in first downs defense (140), seventh in rushing defense (97.7), seventh in total defense (298.6), 12th in fumbles recovered (8) and 15th in defensive touchdowns (2).
Among the American Athletic Conference’s Top 10 individual leaders in sacks, four are from Houston including D’Anthony Jones (1st), Latrell Bankston (2nd), Logan Hall (6th) and David Anenih (9th).Houston cornerback Marcus Jones is an All-American type player defensively in addition to his time on special teams and offense.