Rice football has scored three points in their last eight quarters of play leaving the team’s poor execution the glaring culprit in the aftermath of a string of defeats.
For the second consecutive Saturday, the Rice offense was kept out of the endzone. The poor offensive showing against UAB came on the heels of a puzzling offensive performance against UTSA. At the heart of both losses was a critical failure: execution.
The coaches don’t run the plays. That somewhat obvious fact will be the source of several hard conversations taking place at South Main this weekend. It doesn’t matter how well the coaches prepare the team or how well the team understands the gameplan on any given week if they’re not able to step on the field on Saturday and put that knowledge into practice.
“That’s what you’re seeing.” Mike Bloomgren said as he leveled with the media following the game. “When you can’t block people in the run game … and when you can’t block long enough in pass protection, there’s not a whole lot you can do in this game.”
He wasn’t alone in his initial assessment. Linebacker Dylan Silcox said team lacked “proper execution” that resulted in big plays for the UAB offense. Freshman quarterback Evan Marshman, who saw his first action for the Owls on Saturday, echoed those sentiments. “I want to convert on third downs and I want to lead us on successful drives. Obviously, that didn’t happen,” he acknowledged.
The coaching staff, the defense and the offense all came away with the same message, albeit one that’s hard to take to swallow. There are players that continue to excel at their one-eleventh, the phrase Bloomgren used to stress the importance of every individual performance on any given play. They’re just not doing it together.
If there was a silver bullet this coaching staff would have fired it long ago. Instead, it’s back to the practice field and back to the X’s and O’s. Captain Zach Abercrumbia remarked during fall camp, this is Rice University. It’s not a question of if these players can understand the gameplan, it’s when. There’s no better time than the present.