Rice Owls 2010 NCAA Football Preview

Rice Owls

Conference <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />USA


2009 Record: (2-10, 2-6)

2009 Bowl: none

Coach: David Bailiff (15-22 at Rice, 36-37 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: David Beaty

Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Driesbach


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Charles Ross, RB, 491 yards

Passing: Nick Fanuzzi, QB, 1,598 yards

Receiving: Patrick Randolph, WR, 356 yards

Tackles: Travis Bradshaw, LB, 121

Sacks: Scott Solomon, DE, 6.5

Interceptions: Jarrett Ben, CB, 2


Other Key Returnees: G Davon Allen, WR Pierre Beasley, C Keshawn Carrington, CB Phillip Gaines, G Jake Hicks, LB Justin Hill, CB Chris Jammer, S Chris Jones, DT Alex Lowry, OT Scott Mitchell, DE Cheta Ozougwu, OT Tyler Parish, DT Michael Smith, RB Tyler Smith

Key Losses: WR Toren Dixon, K Clark Fangmeier, LB Terrance Garmon, S Andrew Sendejo, DT Chance Talbert, WR Taylor Wardlow


Rice was not a good team last year and it took until November 14th for the Owls to tally their first victory. The bad news is the West division in Conference USA is loaded. The good news is the Owls were an extremely young team last year and there is plenty of room for growth and improvement. In fact, it would not be surprising at all if Rice went from two wins to a bowl game.



Not long ago the Rice offense was nearly unstoppable. Last year they stopped themselves. However, there is plenty of hope heading into the 2010 campaign. Nick Fanuzzi has a year of experience under center, but he will get some competition from Miami transfer Taylor Cook and redshirt freshman Taylor McHargue. Fanuzzi will likely be the starter after completing 60.0 percent of his passes a year ago, but either way the quarterback situation will be better than it was a year ago. The Owls do lose some receivers, including Toren Dixon, but Patrick Randolph is back and Pierre Beasley and Roddy Maginot are ready to pick up the slack. The running back situation looks very promising as well. Sophomore Sam McGuffie is eligible after transferring from Michigan. The explosive running back has a ton of potential. Tyler Smith is a dangerous back who led the team with 101 carries in 2009 and Charles Ross was an all-freshman conference player after rushing for a team high 491 yards and 11 touchdowns.



If the offense improves as much as Owl fans hope, it will be up to the defense to propel the team into bowl eligibility. Travis Bradshaw, a linebacker/safety hybrid, had a superb sophomore campaign and will once again be the leader on defense. With experienced senior Justin Hill and promising sophomore Trey Briggs manning the middle of the defense, the linebackers should be much improved. The secondary returns three more starters besides Bradshaw. While the unit lacks a true playmaker at either the corner or safety positions, Phillip Gaines, Chris Jammer and Chris Jones have potential and should at least be better. Perhaps the strongest piece of the Rice defense is the line. Scott Solomon is a fine defensive end who can cause plenty of havoc to the opposing quarterback. Michael Smith and Alex Lowry were forced into action as underclassmen and those two will have to clog the middle of the line if Rice wants to stop the run or get consistent pressure in the backfield.


The Bottom Line:

While there are plenty of questions on both sides of the ball, the offense should be much improved. Much of that potential is due to the new personnel and the more experience at the skill positions, but the offensive line will play a big part in how much the offense does improve. All five starters return led by left tackle Scott Mitchell. The line gave up 30 sacks last year, but only a dozen of those were against Fanuzzi. The other quarterbacks saw far less action and were much more likely to get sacked. With a full year of Fanuzzi and another year of experience, the sack numbers should decrease drastically. And if the line can make holes for McGuffie, Ross and Smith, Rice will have a surprisingly dangerous, and balanced, offense.


2009 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 109.25 (104th in nation, 11th in conference)

Passing Offense: 195.33 (84, 12)

Total Offense: 304.58 (111, 12)

Scoring Offense: 18.25 (110, 11)

Rushing Defense: 190.58 (102, 9)

Pass Defense: 273.42 (114, 10)

Total Defense: 464.00 (117, 12)

Scoring Defense: 43.08 (120, 12)

Turnover Margin: -.75 (107, 10)

Sacks: 1.75 (77, 7)

Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (93, 9)