4. College Football News Preview 2020: Rice Owls Defense 3 Things To Know
– The offense still has some work and some tweaking to do – to be kind – but with nine starters expected to return, the defense should be ready to go right out of the box.
It was much, much better in Year Two in the Mike Bloomgren era. It was far more physical, far better against there run, and it allowed 157 fewer points than the 2018 version.
– It’s not like there was much of a pass rush, but losing Anthony Ekpe to the transfer portal might sting a wee bit. He was second on the team with 2.5 sacks with 23 tackles in hie eight games of work. Myles Adams is also gone from the line, but 6-5, 302-pound Elijah Garcia is bacon on the nose, and 6-3, 256-pound sophomore Ikenna Enechukwu will get a bigger role at one of the end jobs.
The pass rush – if there’s more of one – should come from the linebackers. 6-2, 220-pound senior Blaze Alldredge led the team with 102 tackles and four sacks from his spot on the weakside. Treshawn Chamberlain is only 204 pounds, but he can move – he was third on the team with 64 tackles – and 216-pound junior Antonio Montero is a big hitter in the middle who finished with 83 stops.
– To be fair, there wasn’t any pass rush to help the cause, but the secondary has to be stronger after allowing 242 yards per game and coming up with just six picks.
Everyone is expected to be back, and now is when the payoff needs to come after throwing a slew of young players to the wolves over the last two seasons. Trae Thornton is a nice corner, and the safety combination of Naeem Smith and Tre’shon Devones can pop.