Opponent Watch: 2017 Rice

Bailiff is returning. We continue the Bayou Bucket this year. Bit of a surprise he’s returning:

Surprised Rice hung on to him given the house cleaning that basketball got.

The offensive line should push people…Rice returns two all-conference performers, every starter, and eight of ten off the two-deep. The Owls also add some quality in the form of redshirts like Uzoma Osuji. Rice has done a good job recruiting, developing, and stockpiling line talent. This is the deepest and best group the Owls have had in some time. Their tall and big, they look like an FBS line group. They should play like it too.

Should be a very familiar defense for those that watched the Coogs in 2010-11 or any of Wade Phillips’ defenses

Phillips/Stewart’s 3-4 is unique up front as the three down lineman are responsible for “one-gap.” This allows 3-4 lineman to crash or attack more and read less. On the snap they crash their gap and find the ball.

As a result, the two inside linebackers are asked to take responsibility to for the additional gaps, as opposed to the classic 4-3 linebackers who use the defensive front to keep lineman off them and flow to the football. The attacking nature of the scheme means that Stewart’s 3-4 doesn’t require massive lineman, instead it can be executed with smaller, attacking players so long as they are aggressive and disruptive.

Not too optimistic about the Owls. Predicting them to go 3-9 with a loss to Houston.

2017 Schedule

Best Case Scenario:

One of the three quarterbacks takes the reins and proves effective and Samuel Stewart stays healthy. Rice’s offensive line form a gang of bullies that pushes people around and the Owls are a physical football team that helps their defense by ensuring they stay properly hydrated on the sideline. The Owls beat UTEP, FIU, Army, UAB, and North Texas to get to five wins. With nine bowl teams on the schedule that’s a success.

Worst Case Scenario:

The Owl defense pulls a repeat of 2016 and continue to ride shotgun for various Sportscenter Top 10 plays. The offense, in their need to go fast, throws gas on the fire by handing possessions back and the Owls find themselves in a never ending scoring frenzy that they cannot keep up with. The road trip to Australia and the nine bowls teams serve to overwhelm the young Owls. Rice struggles to find two wins on their schedule.

UAB?? Alabama had a change of heart?? Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhh…


Can They Make The Playoff?

Let’s start small—can Rice win the C-USA West division? Ahead of them are UTEP, North Texas, Southern Miss, UTSA, and Louisiana Tech. (Assume UAB is going to be ass in its first year back from the dead.) The LaTech Bulldogs won the division last year and appear to be favorited to repeat; the rest of the division is extremely soft, in both terms of teams returning proven talent and being historically reliable. Of course, so is Rice. Given the state of the offense (green quarterback and receivers) as well as the defense (typically more break than bend), the answer to the C-USA West question is probably not. I believe the defense will take a step forward under new leadership, but the Owls, at best, seem to have five wins in them; maybe they’ll surprise me. After all, Rice went 3-9 in 2007 then turned around and finished 10-3 in 2008, so what the hell do I know anyway?

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Damn man that sucks! I hope they ESPN will agree to bring Game Day Back to Houston. That will go a long way toward helping the Region recover both financially and spirit.

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Google Search Link: https://www.google.com/search?q=Rice+QB+Sam+Glaesmann+sees+a+big+hurdle+in+UH’s+Ed+Oliver

Senior guard Peter Godber, while impressed by Oliver, is approaching the Bayou Bucket Classic like any other game.

“He deserves all the praise he gets. You watch him on tape and he’s just an animal. He hustles very hard and he’s a great player,” Godber said. "Their front is solid all the way around; they have an end who’s a (Texas A&M) transfer, they’ve got big guys up front - they’re all 290 pounds plus.

“If the offensive line plays well, I think it’s going to dictate our wins and losses this year. The offensive line is going to take us as far as we can go.”

Google Search Link: https://www.google.com/search?q=Pressure+defense+Rice’s+goal+against+UH

“As a measuring stick, UTEP showed us that we’re good in the run game, but we’ve still got some things to improve on and show UH that we’ve improved moving forward,” defensive end Graysen Schantz said. “We had a point to prove against (the Miners), and I think we’ll carry that momentum into the game against Houston.”

Schantz said that begins with pressuring Allen.

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