Rice suffers from tragic loss of Dale Lloyd

Rice head coach Todd Graham admitted earlier this week that his first reaction after the passing of cornerback Dale Lloyd was to cancel the Owls' game against Army Saturday. However, after talking to several people in the business, including Army coach Bobby Ross and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, Graham decided the game must go on. For Dale Lloyd's sake.

"The thing I have gotten from everyone is that we need to get back up," said Graham, who also consulted with grief counselors made available by Rice and his captains.

Added Graham: "We've got to get back out on that field. I think that is what Dale would want us to do. That's the type of player he was. We're just going to pull together, lock arm in arm, and get back up. We have a closeness that will get us through this."

Lloyd, a freshman, died on Monday. He collapsed during a light workout the evening before. Lloyd had been a member of Rice's travel party in both their road games this season, and Graham said the team will also carry his jersey with them on each trip the rest of the year before presenting it to his parents at the end of the season. The Army football team dealt with similar tragedy in February 2002 when wide receiver Anthony Miller, 20, died. Miller complained of nausea and dizziness on and was admitted to the hospital. His condition worsened the next day and he died shortly after being revived from a heart attack.

An immune deficiency left him vulnerable to a virus which attacked his system quickly and enlarged his heart. Miller had bouts with pneumonia that sidelined during most of 2001 spring practices.

It was hard enough to deal with, but how would the Black Knights have handled it if Miller's death happened right smack in the middle of the season? How will Graham deal with Lloyd's death? Graham received heartfelt words from Ross on Tuesday.

"Bobby Ross told me, 'Todd you have to lead those kids, you have to be strong for those kids' and I told him that is what we are going to do. We will honor Dale with everything that we do," Graham said.

Lloyd will be buried in his hometown of Houston on Sunday.

May he rest in peace.

Rice University athletic director Chris Del Conte gets emotional as he talks about the death of a Rice football player Monday, Sept. 25, 2006, in Houston. Freshman Dale Lloyd, 19, collapsed during a light workout Sunday evening and died Monday morning. An autopsy is pending. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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