College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Rice Owls season with what you need to know.
5. College Football News Preview 2020: Rice Owls Offense 3 Things To Know
– The Rice offense has had a few issues. The attack finished 125th in the nation averaging just 294 yards per game, and scoring appears to be optional, averaging fewer than 18 points per outing. However, there were signs of life.
The O that is trying to pound the ball and get the ground game going failed to hit the 28-point mark in any of its first nine games. It came up with 31 against Middle Tennessee and 30 against UTEP – both wins – and now there’s at least a little positive momentum.
But the low-scoring – as crazy as this seems – is partly by design.
Run the ball, shorten the game, control the tempo. But a bit more pop would be nice.
– The leading runners are gone, but Aston Walter and Charlie Booker only combined for just over 1,000 yards. Walter is the big loss, with the top leading returning rusher – sophomore Juva Otoviano – only running for 114 yards in three games. 215-pound Ari Broussard brings a little more thump.
There aren’t a slew of experienced running backs to work behind, and just two starters are back up front. It’s not a big group, but it can move, and it will try getting physical for the ground game. That’s been a fight to generate a consistent push, but C Shea Baker is a good one to work around. Losing OT Uzome Osuji to Boise State doesn’t help.
– The Owls are never going to bomb away, but at least the passing game has to be efficient. That’s been an issue over the last few years, but the receivers are in place to do more with the top five targets expected back.
6-5, 195-pound Brad Rozner and 5-10 senior Austin Trammell combined for 115 catches – they’re as strong a 1-2 punch as the program has had in a while. Add 6-4 transfer Christian McStravick from Boston College to the mix, and the receiving corps should be one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Someone has to get them all the ball.
Top passer Tom Stewart is done, but sophomore Wiley Green is back after throwing for 787 yards and four scores. In comes Michael Collins from TCU to add more downfield pop – and to likely take the job. The 6-5, 225-pounder is a pro-style passer who should settle the position.