Moving the ball on the ground is crucial to the success of the Rice football offense. That goes for the quarterbacks, too.
Five different quarterbacks saw action for Rice football in 2019. No matter who was under center, it was clear this offense valued a quarterback who was able to move in the pocket and make plays with his feet. Versatility and options are extremely important. Keeping the defense honest and forcing them to account for all 11 players on the field gives the offense an added advantage.
Bloomgren confirmed the need for that advantage on offense throughout the season, saying more than once he was counting on his passers to steal two or three first downs on the ground each game. That expectation proved true. As a unit, the Rice quarterback position accounted for 300 yards rushing (before sacks), an average of 3.66 yards per carry.
Evan Marshman is the most mobile and, unsurprisingly, led the Owls quarterbacks with a 5.39 yards per carry average. Although Shawn Stankavage and Wiley Green aren’t generally viewed as running threats, both averaged more than three yards per carry. Rice doesn’t need track stars in shotgun, but having statuesque figures isn’t conducive to how this offense wants to operate.
Green and Marshman had two rushing scores apiece. Those four quarterback rushing touchdowns tied Austin Walter for the team lead. When the quarterback position is challenging the most productive running back in rushing production their importance in the offense can’t be dismissed.
Neither Green or grad transfer Tom Stewart are dual-threat guys — at least not on the same plane as incoming freshman quarterback Jovoni Johnson. Still, whoever wins the starting job will add a rushing component to the offense. That’s what the job requires.