2013 Rice Spring Football Analysis
Rice Owls 2013 ...
Head Coach: David Bailiff
Why To Get Excited … not only will the Owls begin the season with one of the country’s longest winning streaks, five games, but it surged without the help of many seniors. Rice was one of college football’s youngest teams in 2012, yet still capped a wicked stretch run with a blowout of Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. As long as he remains healthy, Taylor McHargue is an underrated quarterback who’ll frustrate defenses with his arm and feet.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 at Texas A&M
9/7 OPEN DATE
9/28 Florida Atlantic
10/5 at Tulsa
10/12 at UTSA
10/19 at New Mexico State
11/2 at North Texas
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 Louisiana Tech
11/23 at UAB
Why To Be Grouchy … even after taking a big step forward on defense, the Owls still wound up being ranked 81st in the country. The more physical opponents on the schedule are prone to showing around Rice, which gave up almost five yards a carry last season. This team will scrap and claw and play to the whistle, but in the state of Texas, it’s never going to win any battles for the region’s most coveted high school defenders.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … protecting the pocket. No Owl this season is more important than McHargue, who’s had a history of injuries attributable to his frenetic style of play. If the program is going to keep him off the DL, the offensive line will have to do a much better job of protecting the pocket than it did in 2012. Rice was No. 94 in the nation in sacks, which if repeated will routinely force backup Driphus Jackson off the sidelines.
Non-Conference Games: at Texas A&M, Kansas, Houston, at New Mexico State
Games Against the East: Florida Atlantic, at UAB
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 7-5
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Florida Atlantic, at UTSA, at New Mexico State, UTEP, at North Texas, Louisiana Tech, Tulane
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Texas A&M, Kansas, Houston, at Tulsa, at UAB
Schedule Analysis: The Owls have the potential to come up with a great year helped by getting Florida Atlantic and UAB as the interdivisional games and with a relatively light travel schedule. Going to Texas A&M isn’t a good way to kickoff the season, the dates at Tulsa, New Mexico and UAB are the only ones outside of the state of Texas. Getting Kansas at home should be interesting and playing Houston in Reliant Stadium should be fun. However, the Tulsa, UTSA and NMSU games are back-to-back-to-back road battles after going a month without leaving the Houston area. Louisiana Tech is the key game late, but the season could come down to the road trip to UAB and the finale against Tulane.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Owls are loaded with veterans - welcoming back 20 starters - but they need be better on the lines. The offense didn't have too many problems moving the ball despite issues in pass protection. All five starters are back up front after going through a few growing pains, and now the payoff has to come. The punting and punt return games need improvement. Punter Taylor Cook has to be replaced, and Dennis Parks has to be more productive after helping the Owls average just 4.32 yards per try.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Tight ends. Rice has cranked out some nice pass catching tight ends over the years, and it's bringing in two very tall protoypes going around 6-6 and 230 pounds. Colt Hunt has the most upside, but Robby Wells isn't too far behing. Corner Anthony Canady is the most talented player brought in, and running back Jowan Davis will be a factor, but Hunt and Wells appear to be the surest things.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
82. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Owls have worked on defense over the last few recruiting classes, but the efforts haven’t exactly paid off so far. However, there’s a decent base of underclassmen ready to show what they can do. Now the program needs to find more firepower with several key skill players going and more playmakers a must.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
85. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Rice HAS to start generating more of a pass rush. The defense was 105th in the nation in sacks and was dead last in tackles for loss, and while it’s asking way too much to get a new recruiting class to make a difference in one years, the Owls have to hope that one of the several new defensive ends can provide a boost to the depth. Michael Sam is the best of the lot, while outside linebacker Nick Elder could be the playmaker the D is looking for. Offensively, receivers Driphus Jackson and Lovett Gibson should be the stars of the haul.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 101. That Class Was
Heavy On ... 2009. Last year's
class was the one that's going to make the
difference over the next few seasons, and there
weren't many spots to fill this year. However, it's
about quality over quantity with this class needing
DE Dylan Klare, CB Bryce Callahan, and linebackers
James Radcliffe and Cameron Nwoso likely to be key
Conference USA players sooner than later. But if the
stars bust out, there's no a lot from this class to
fall back on.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 76. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. When you give up 34 touchdown passes and finish 110th nationally in pass D, you better focus on signing more athletes for the secondary. David Bailiff did exactly that, adding eight two-star defensive backs from as far away as Minnesota and Canada. Out of that group, the Owls are hopeful that, in time, two or three will develop into starters and productive members of a needy defense.
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