The Rice football spring game will kick off in a few hours. Here are a few key players and position groups to keep an eye on during the exhibition.
The departures of Emmanuel Esukpa and Austin Walter left plenty of opportunity for the Rice running backs. The position was wide open, but it was assumed Aston Walter and Juma Otoviano would inherit most of the workload. That might still be the case, but if Broussard has yet another strong showing he could firmly cement himself into an active role in the backfield this fall. He’s an ideal goal line and short yardage guy, but the door is open for more.
The offensive line
This group was expected to take a big leap forward from last year to this year. Clear evidence of improvement has been intermittent this spring. Two additional grad transfers are on their way, making more turnover here possible. Those who do take the field on Saturday need to display fundamentally sound football. They’ve shown they’re capable They just need to put those moments together for the duration of the scrimmage.
This position hasn’t created many headlines this spring largely because there hasn’t been a ton of movement in either the positive or negative direction. All three guys — Wiley Green, Evan Marshman and Parker Towns — have had their moments, but none has separated themselves from the pack.
At this point, Green is still in the driver’s seat for the starting job, but Saturday’s results could play heavily into that decision. A big game from Green could bring the competition closer to a close whereas a strong outing from Marshman or Towns could stretch the battle into the fall.
The back end of the defense was challenged early and often last season. Many of those players who were blown by last season are gone. The secondary as a whole is a lot younger. Andrew Bird, Collin Whitaker and Naeem Smith all figure to he prominent names, can they show the fans and coaches they’re up to the challenge?
Alldredge has secured his spot at the center of the Rice defense. He’s not fighting for his job like others are this spring, but he’s still going to turn a few heads. Alldredge has been one of the most prolific defensive enforcers over the past few weeks and is turning into a player who could compete for All-CUSA honors this season. He’s going to be special.