Instead of being disappointed, he took the suggestion as a challenge and went right to work.
"Over the summer, I just worked on it and I got a lot faster and a lot quicker," Houk said. "The coaches told me that they've seen my improvement, so that's really helped me."
During the offseason, Coach Mendenhall introduced a new twist to his program that revolved around nutrition and offseason workouts. Members of Athletic Performance Inc. came in over the summer to help out members of the team with conditioning specific to their positions.
"We had the Athletic Performance guys come in and what they have are all these drills that they use for NFL guys," said Houk. "What they do is they help out and have all these drills they use for NFL veterans and really good players. They put us on diets and completely reworked our workouts and everything. I really took it to heart because these are things that NFL guys are doing and they're veterans? Then this is something that I'm going to take to heart."
Houk took full advantage of the opportunities that were provided.
"Every drill, I did it to the best of my ability," Houk said. "At first during summer I was kind of behind, but then towards the end of it I was beating everybody and was out in front competing against the DBs and receivers. My main goal was to beat the DBs because most of them are actually faster than the receivers. It was a big improvement for me especially.
"Then just in the weight room I worked on lower-body stuff like squats and cleans. My squat was 380 and my clean was 280. My bench right now is 270 and I want to get it up to where I can rep 225 around 15 times. That's what the NFL does."
However, Houk didn't stop there.
"Coach Cahoon told me that I need to work on my speed, so I worked a lot with our track coach over here, and we had been doing some speed work together, short burst stuff, and flexibility stuff," said Houk. "We did things to broaden my range of motion and get my foot speed down.
"I did a functional movement screen that pretty much rates you. The higher score you get, the more flexible and more able your body is to get faster and quicker. My score wasn't as good but it was alright, but all those areas that I lacked in he specifically worked with me in – things like flexibility in my back, my hip movements and stuff like that. It really helped."
Now that fall camp is here, Houk is still at the outside receiver position. It appears his summer preparation convinced the coaches that he could develop as a receiver.
"My next goal is to try and compete and show the coaches that I can now compete at a high lever and be a contributor on the team," said Houk. "I have some veteran guys ahead of me but I'm going to take that as my next challenge and try and prove that I can do it. It's going to be tough but I just have to keep going and continue to overcome any challenge that's in front of me. I feel like all I need to do is continue to be consistent and make every catch like I've put my life on it."
It will be tough given the level of talent that's currently ahead of him on the depth chart.
"Right now I'm behind Dallin Cutler and Ross Apo," Houk said. "It's hard because Dallin is really quick and fast, so he can just juke the crap out of people, and then Ross is one of the go-to guys, so it's going to be hard to make the two-deep. I want to make sure that if Ross or Dallin goes down I can come in and help behind them, but I also want to be a starter as well, and so I want to keep working towards that goal."
It's just another challenge Houk is taking to heart.