Rice football took advantage of an early-season bye to focus on fundamentals and discipline, both areas that will pay huge dividends for the Owls this fall.
Sitting at 1-2, the 2018 Rice football season is far from over. With 10 games still to play, the Owls are only just beginning what they hope will be a promising campaign. The bulk of their games will come after their Week 3 bye week.
Sandwiched between road trips to Hawaii and Southern Miss, Rice players and coaches have had a much-needed extra week during the middle of the season’s grind. The coaches have jetted off all over the country, recruiting from Califonia to D.C. Players have stayed home, using the time to focus on their craft.
The leadership of this young team knows the timing of this break couldn’t have been better. “It gives us a chance to see what we did early on and fix that for the rest of the season,” acknowledged safety George Nyakwol, remarking that he the team progress significantly simply by “focusing on technique and going back to the fundamentals.”
Quarterback Shawn Stankavage was equally confident, if not more so. “I think the bye week really helped us get locked in and turn this thing around… we’re close, we’re in these games, we’re just not pulling away at the end.”
In order to make that final play or two to push them over the edge, the team needs to continue to pursue excellence in everything they do. That starts with practice and extends to game day. “When we execute during the week, Saturday’s are easy,” Stankavage said. To get there, the Owls are focusing on the little things, leaving no stone unturned.
The bye week was extra time for a team still learning to continue ironing out the kinks. Neither side of the ball is going to be transformed overnight, but Rice football got a lot better this week — little by little.