The Rice football roster was a focus of Conference USA Media Day conversations, especially the depth the Owls have developed over time.
Conference USA Media days were held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas for the first time this summer. It was different from the zoom-only sessions of the past two years and it showcased what figures to be a different kind of season for the conference as it undergoes so many changes. Although Rice football maintains a good amount of continuity, the Owls hope to leverage some unique differences this year, too.
For Rice, it’s the sameness that feels the most different. “You’ve heard of them,” head coach Mike Bloomgren said when discussing the second-team players on his depth chart following a media availability that featured questions about the depth along the offensive and defensive lines. To his point, they’re not new faces. They’re players who have produced at the collegiate level. At Rice.
That hasn’t been the case in years past. The next-man-up hasn’t always been a proven commodity. Along the offensive line, Rice could turn to a former Big 12 starter at West Virginia as the second-team right tackle. Along the defense, the likes of Miles McCord and Josh Pearcy will have to fight for snaps with other proven players — both have served as starters in prior seasons.
Then there’s George Nyakwol and Treshawn Chamberlain, also former starters who missed the majority of last season with injuries. Nyakwol hasn’t played a conference game since 2019. Now he’s back manning center field for the Owls once again.
“It’s a great thing when you have guys that want to play every down but its an even better thing when you can put someone in the game that you don’t have to pray for when someone breaks a shoestring and they have to enter,” head coach Mike Bloomgren said. “We’ve worked really hard to get to the point where we have this kind of depth.”
Rice football will hit the practice field for the first time this fall on August 3. They’ll have a few weeks to iron out exactly what the depth chart will look like. But regardless of who ends up on the first or second team — provided they stay healthy — Rice will have options, experience and depth. For a team seeking their first bowl appearance since 2014, there’s no bigger change.
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