Owls Win!

Rice Football scored a lot of points Saturday, they even played some football too...

Saturday's Spring Game was a culmination of 15 spring practices that resulted in lots of carries for Rice running backs. The Owls struggled to run the ball last year and have worked all spring on changing that. Makes sense because we know Chase Clement can throw, Jarett Dillard can catch, and James Casey can do everything. Right?

For the record, Rice rushed for 191 yards on 46 carries. If the Owls can average 175 yards a game on the ground come this fall, the offense should be very tough to handle. Rice put up some gaudy offensive numbers in November last year even without a stellar ground attack. We know after the past 2 seasons they will get yards through the air. Chase has had a solid spring and capped drills Saturday by completing 14 of 19 passes for 156 yards. The team combined for 29 of 43 passes for 218 yards. That's 409 yards of balanced offense. Good to see and work towards that balance will continue in August. Credit is due to the offensive line under direction of Coach Blake Miller. The Owl line looks much more in sync this spring and has blocked much better. Scott Mitchell in particular has looked really good. Mitchell played well as only a 250 pound freshman last year so you have to get excited about his potential this fall as a 285 pound sophomore.

On defense, Scott Solomon continued to show why he is a very special player. Solomon is one of the strongest players on the team as shown in his weight room work this offseason and he put that strength to work on the Rice Stadium field Saturday. The Scout.com Freshman All American had 3 sacks and two tackles for a loss. Solomon and the rest of the 1st unit defensive line looked solid Saturday.

But the day wasn't all about X's and O's though. Sure Saturday was a day to showcase the progress of Rice football present, but it was also a day to present future opportunities - and Chris Stacy, Rice Director of Football Operations and the rest of David Bailiff's staff made a heck of an impression on generations of recruits on campus for Saturday activities. Not done yet, they put on a "Crawfish Social" for high school coaches after the game.

It was a day for impressions and the Owls made several good ones Saturday. Several, perhaps future Owls, were in attendance - roughly 75 of the state's top high school juniors visited Rice Saturday - and most all came away with a positive experience from the day's activities. Rice also conducted a "Junior Owl" Clinic for kids in the 1st through 8th grades before the start of the 5:00 Blue-Gray scrimmage. Not only were the youngsters impressed, but parents accompanying the older recruits were witness to the Rice Coaching Staff's demeanor with the younger boys. By design or otherwise, seeing our coaches teach, and laugh, and encourage the younger boys didn't go unnoticed by recruit's parents. What they saw was what David Bailiff and staff are about - building the program through treating people with decency, treating them like family. Several of those parents commented on how great the staff worked with the younger boys during the clinic. Those impressions are everlasting too - and in the weeks and months ahead when their now 16 and 17 year old "kids" will make their college choices, those parents will remember the way our staff interacted with the younger kids. Afterall, their football players were just little boys once upon a time, and they'll always be just that in their parent's eyes. When the final decision comes where do you think they'll want their "little boys" to grow and develop as men and football players over the next 5 years? Exactly, with a program and a Coach like David Bailiff that will treat their sons like one of his own.

Saturday at the stadium was a winning experience for all...


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