Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the Rice Owls season with what you need to know.
2018 Record: 2-11 overall, 1-7 in Conference USA
Head Coach: Mike Bloomgren, 2nd year, 2-11
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE RICE OFFENSE
– The offense was supposed to turn into a power rushing attack once Mike Bloomgren took over, but the Owls averaged a disastrous 318 yards and 19 points per game, failing to hit the 30-point mark against any FBS team. Seven starters are back, but that ground game has to work.
– The rushing offense only finished with 1,867 yards and averaged 3.8 yards per carry. Leading rusher Austin Walter is gone, and second-leading rusher Emmanuel Esukpa bolted for BYU. Juma Otoviano is back, and the hope is for Nahshan Ellerbe to be all back full after struggling last year to come back from an injury. The O line that loses two key starters on the right side will be okay, but the attack as a whole has to be more effective and consistent.
– The receivers are there to come up with a stronger passing attack. Do-it-all running back Austin Walter is out of the mix now, but the receiving trio of juniors Austin Trammell, Aaron Cephus and TE Jordan Myers is the team’s biggest strength. Now it’s up to the quarterbacks to be better and get this great group the ball, but …
– Five different quarterbacks attempted a pass last season. It’s sophomore Wiley Green who has the biggest upside to get the Owls moving, but he has to establish that in fall camp. He’s a 6-3 runner who struggled with his accuracy, but he had a 313-yard passing day against UTEP.