Rice football had their second fall scrimmage to kick off Owl Fest on Saturday. Here are five things that stood out from the session.
A crowd of a few hundred turned out to get their first glimpses at the 2018 Rice football team on Saturday. As they cheered for every big play and their fellow freshman, the audience was treated to an inside peek at the Owls’ second scrimmage of fall camp, another positive session for this team as the season opener draws near.
1. First team is starting to solidify
With two full scrimmages under their belts, the coaching staff is starting to piece together a depth chart. Coach Bloomgren called the current status “less fluid” than the team entered fall camp and expects to have a fresh depth chart expected within the week.
For the most part, here’s what the first team has looked like this week:
1st team Offense
QB – Tyner
HB – Aston Walter
WR – Cephus, Trammell, Cardwell
TE – Bull
OL – Pierce, Dill, Baker, Greene, Osuji
1st team Defense
DL – Abercrumbia, Garcia, Wilkins, Schantz
LB – Silcox, Ekpe, Nwakamma
DB – Bickham, Douglas-Dotson, Nyakwol, Robert
2. Running backs remain focal point of offense
This team is going to run the football, a lot. And teams better not get caught flat-footed. The offensive line has been sturdy enough to open up gaps in the middle to keep the chains moving, but Aston and Austin Walter have done the majority of their damage on the outside. One cut and they’re into the second level, picking up chunk plays. Keeping those two inside will be a must for the Owls opponents this season.
3. Quarterback battle still progressing
Bloomgren said Jackson Tyner won the day, but competition between him and Shawn Stankavage remains open. Freshman quarterback Evan Marshman looked impressive with the third team, but Bloomgren still expects the starter to be one of either Tyner or Stankavage, calling the quarterback competition “shut at two unless [Marshman] forces the door open.”
It’s worth noting as well that both Tyner and Stankavage are being asked to use their legs to make plays. Although neither of them would be described as your traditional “dual-threat” quarterback, both have the requisite speed to steal first downs and keep the defense honest.
4. Position changes of note
It was mentioned early in the week that quarterback Sam Glaesmann has been moved to wide receiver. He lined up as the wildcat quarterback on a few plays Saturday, an interesting wrinkle for the Owls to have in their back pocket moving forward.
Depth issues in the secondary have opened opportunities for a pair of running backs. Freshman Juma Octoviano and sophomore Collin Whitaker saw time with the second team at corner and both guys played really well. Octoviano came up with an interception on his second series.
With the surplus of depth at the running back position, it’s possible that both of these guys stay primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Bloomgren said he “wouldn’t rule out” both guys becoming two-way players this season.
5. Jack Fox is going to be busy
The primary punter last season, Fox has seen time in practice with the field goal unit as well. Unless someone blows the coaching staff out of the water in the next two weeks it’s very possible Fox could be handling all of the kicking duties this season.