Rice football played four quarterbacks last season and four quarterbacks in 2018. Even in challenging circumstances, the Owls are finding positive results.
In fall camp head coach Mike Bloomgren said he’d love to see one guy grab control of the starting quarterback job and carry it through the season. Vanderbilt transfer Shawn Stankavage looked to be that guy early on, but an injury suffered against UAB forced Bloomgren and the offensive staff to go further down the depth chart.
Evan Marshman started against FIU. Wiley Green will start against North Texas. Jackson Tyner’s turnover concerns have kept him as a reserve player for the time being, but he’ll be in the mix alongside some former high school quarterbacks that have played various other skills positions for the Owls.
Here’s how the Owls’ passers have faired thus far in 2018:
That’s a mixed bag, especially considering the various different scenarios and game situations each of those quarterbacks experienced. All told, though, Rice is actually on pace to produce better numbers from the quarterback position in 2018 than 2017, even with another lengthy list of participants.
|’17 Rice QBs||121||244||49.6||1721||6||16|
|’18 Rice QBs||126||230||54.8||1315||9||11|
At a bare minimum, the improved passing numbers in such challenging circumstances has to be encouraging. Preparing an offense for “three vastly different quarterbacks in three different weeks” isn’t easy, and what the offensive staff has been able to do this month has been nothing short of incredible.
Bloomgren detailed the team’s mental processing that has to go on with they insert yet another new face under center against North Texas on Saturday. “It’s always going to be next man up,” Bloomgren said, “but anytime you have a next man up, especially at that position, everybody has to tighten their belts. Everyone has to play better and do your job that much better to make that person comfortable so they can do their job.”
The job on Saturday will be to get true freshman Wiley Green plenty of space in the pocket to deliver a calm, accurate throw. Green has an arm that can get the ball anywhere, but as we saw against FIU, that can include the wrong hands if he’s pressing. He has the talent and the coaching that’s produced encouraging results from a few passers already for Rice this season. Now it’s his turn to take the reigns.