2008 CFN Rice Preview |
2008 Rice Offense
2008 Rice Defense |
2008 Rice Depth
2007 CFN Rice Preview |
Head coach: David Bailiff
2nd year: 3-9
Off. 24, Def. 27, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 18
Best Owl Players
2. QB Chase Clement, Sr.
3. FS Andrew Sendejo, Jr.
4. LB Brian Raines, Sr.
5. DE Scott Solomon, Soph.
6. WR James Casey, Soph.
7. RG David Berken, Sr.
8. CB Brandon King, Sr.
9. LB Vernon James, Sr.
10. WR Toren Dixon, Jr.
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Memphis
Sept. 13 at Vanderbilt
Sept. 20 at Texas
Sept. 27 North Texas
Oct. 4 at Tulsa
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 18 Southern Miss
Oct. 25 at Tulane
Nov. 1 at UTEP
Nov. 8 Army
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 Marshall
Nov. 29 Houston
2007 Record: 3-9
Sept. 8 at
Baylor L 42-14
Texas Tech L 59-24
Sept. 22 at
Texas L 58-14
So Miss W 31-29
Houston L 56-48
Memphis L 38-35
Marshall L 34-21
SMU W 43-42
Tulsa L 48-43
While the returns
of QB Chase Clement and receivers Jarett Dillard, Toren Dixon, and James
Casey mean the Owls will again fly high on offense, they need more to
compete in Conference USA. More from the defense, more from the running
game, and a whole lot more from the special teams.
Rice never found its footing last year, sinking back to reality after
being the league’s feel-good story of 2006. Head coach David Bailiff is
back for his second season in Houston, determined to make the Owls more
than just a one-dimensional outfit that relies exclusively on Clement’s
ability to make plays with his arm and feet. Of course, if the defense
doesn’t do an about-face, Rice won’t have a choice but to air it out 50
times a game in desperation comeback modes.
After playing its best football of the season in November, Rice is
hoping to build on last year’s 2-2 finish. With the passing game in
capable hands, the Owl staff spent the entire offseason trying to revamp
every other area of the program in an effort to make the school more
competitive on Saturdays.
What to watch for on offense: A run-pass mix that looks an awful
lot like last season. While the Owls’ desire for more balance sounds
good in theory, it won’t be possible unless the running game makes a
quantum leap and the defense makes a stop once in a while. Keeping
defenses honest is an admirable quest, but if Rice is constantly trying
to erase huge deficits, it’ll be bombs away once again for Chase Clement
What to watch for on defense: More pressure the old fashioned way.
Rice would like to use jail breaks to get after the passer, but
too many blitzes will leave an already horrible secondary naked.
Instead, the Owls will pin their hopes on a group of sophomore
defensive ends to get penetration without having to move
linebackers or safeties too far from their comfort zones.
Leading the way will be Scott Solomon, who had a smashing debut
and looked even more disruptive in the spring.
This team will be far better if …the defense improves. No one is
expecting a rags-to-riches type turnaround, but a few more takeaways and
late-game stops could be the difference between a winning or losing
season. After being home to arguably the nation’s most feeble defensive
unit, some progress must be made if the Owls have any hope of surging
past last year’s 3-9 mark.
The Schedule: Rice can't take anyone for granted, but it has a
few winnable non-conference games against North
Texas and Army at home, while it has a puncher's chance at Vanderbilt.
Forget about showing up at Texas. In C-USA play, the Owls get a good
Southern Miss team from the East and a mediocre Memphis squad, and
Houston technically is a home game. They don't leave the Houston era
after traveling to UTEP on the first. The Tulsa game is a likely loss,
so it might as well be on the road.
Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Jarett Dillard. No one took
Dillard seriously when he was coming out of high school in San Antonio.
They certainly do now. One of the nation’s most productive wide
receivers over the last three years, he’s a dynamic playmaker within 10
touchdown receptions of the NCAA career mark held by former Louisiana
Tech great Troy Edwards. While only 5-11 and 190 pounds, he has good
jets and the bounce in his step to elevate like a 6-3 receiver.
Best Defensive Player: Junior FS Andrew Sendejo. From his spot in
the secondary, Sendejo patrols the field like a warden, looking for any
unsuspecting opponents to punish. At 6-1 and 213 pounds, he can really
pack a punch, yet led the Owls with five interceptions and has continued
to make strides as a pass defender. Rice’s leading tackler as well in
2007, he’s ready to assume a spot on the All-Conference USA defense.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore LT Scott Mitchell.
Rice isn’t going to beat anyone this year with defense, so it’ll once
again be up to the offense to keep the program competitive. The one
thing that can slow that offense down is if the line doesn’t give Chase
Clement time to locate his bevy of talented receivers. Enter Mitchell, a
talented young blocker who’ll be making a steep step up in
responsibility in his second season.
The season will be a success if ... Rice reaches .500. The Owls
need to show signs of progress under David Bailiff, or else all of the
equity from the magical 2006 season will be gone. September trips to
Memphis, Vanderbilt, and Texas mean it’ll likely take a strong
second-half kick to win a sixth game for just the second time this
Key game: Aug. 29 vs. SMU. Sometimes, a season can go
either north or south based on how it starts. Last year, the Owls lost
to FCS Nicholls State in the opener, and never recovered. This August,
they’ll get June Jones and the rival Mustangs in a potential springboard
game that’ll receive more national attention than Rice is accustomed to
2007 Fun Stats:
- Penalties: Opponents 92 for 880 yards – Rice 67 for 524 yards
- Rushing yards per game: Opponents 198.4 yards – Rice 110.9 yards
- Net punting average: Opponents 36.8 yards – Rice 31.7 yards