Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Rice Owls season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Rice Owls
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Rice Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
It really is possible to win at Rice. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
It’s a way-too-small school with way-too-impossible academic standards in a state that’s way-too-competitive for football talent. It takes the right players to fit the right system for the right coach to make it all work.
It takes a blend of ultra-smart guys with more speed and quickness than bulk, and who will all buy in to the direction, while being not quite good enough to be snatched up by Duke, Northwestern or Stanford.
And that’s where new head coach Mike Bloomgren comes in. The former Stanford offensive coordinator knows how to get a running game rolling, and he knows how to work with types of guys who are usually the smartest ones in any room.
Bloomgren fits because he’s got the fire of a first time head man, the energy, and most of all, he’s one of them – he’s used to breaking the curve, too.
And while it might seem like a huge uphill battle right away coming off an ugly 1-11 season, the 8-5 season of 2014 isn’t too terribly long ago, and there was a Conference USA championship back in 2013.
But those teams could score.
Rice picked it up over the second half of the season, but it scored 12 points or fewer in seven of the first eight games, and never quite recovered. Bloomgren’s plan is to crank up the ground game from the start, in an effort to cut down on the turnovers and take control of games early.
He’s got the quick running backs who can make it all go, and he’s got a whole slew of mobile quarterback options to choose from. But he doesn’t have the offensive line quite yet – especially with all-star left tackle Calvin Anderson transferring to Texas – and he doesn’t have the type of defense that can easily get off the field.
But it’ll happen. It might not be right away – there’s a whole lot of rebuilding to do – but the guys with the brains usually figure it out.