Rice football continues to solidify the depth chart, thinning out the quarterback and offensive line positions midway through fall camp.
Head coach Mike Bloomgren spent the majority of the practice with the offensive line. A former offensive line coach at Stanford, Bloomgren got down and dirty teaching techniques first hand. At one point he had his hands on turf instructing one of the younger players in a one-on-one drill.
In addition to focusing on the offensive line, Bloomgren appears to have trimmed the quarterback competition down from three players to two. With that, here are a few tidbits from Thursday’s practice:
Movement in the quarterback battle
Quarterback battle update:
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) August 10, 2018
The most pressing news first: the quarterback position is down to two. As many of you saw late Thursday evening, I broke the news that Sam Glaesmann has moved to wide receiver. Coach Bloomgren wouldn’t say the move was permanent, but he did mention the need for additional reps for Jackson Tyner and Shawn Stankavage moving forward.
Offensive line is beginning to take shape
The first team is beginning to solidify. Tackles Uzoma Osuji and Sam Pierce have been consistent fixtures at left tackle and right tackle, respectively. Shea Baker appears to have locked down the job at center as well.
Jack Greene and Joseph Dill have the lead at the left and right guard positions, but redshirt freshman Corbin Smith is challenging for time in the interior as well. A notable omission from the first team is Florida transfer Andrew Mike. Despite joining the Owls from the SEC it doesn’t appear Mike has done enough in practice to vie for a starting job just yet.
Backup center Cole Elms went down with a leg injury during Oklahoma drills and had to be helped off the field. He was able to return to practice for goal line work later on.
Offensive line tests in short-yardage drills
It’s been no secret that the defensive line is one of the deepest units on the team. The offensive line has struggled to keep up with the power rushers opposite them, but Thursday was a huge step in the right direction.
Thursday’s practice was all about winning in the trenches. The team pitted the offense and the defense against each other in three drills: Oklahoma, short yardage and goal line. The defense, by and large, won the Oklahoma drill but the full team drills were dominated by the offense.
Both units met at midfield with one-yard to go for the first down in a series of reps. Play action, bootlegs and runs straight up the middle resulted in a series of first downs. Bloomgren preaches that everything is a competition, so the defense had to do push-ups as a result of their defeat.
Offense wins goal line drills
The same theme rang true on the goal line. Both quarterbacks beat the edge to the pylon and scored touchdowns with their feet. The real stars were the running backs and the offensive line. Boosted by enough space in front of them to operate, several tailbacks lept over both lines and landed in the endzone. When freshman tailback Antonio Faaeteete sailed through the air and into the endzone the entire offense went berserk, celebrating the head-to-head win over their teammates.
The offensive line wasn’t perfect. A few players were blown up in the backfield and they registered a sack at the goal line. On the whole, though, the efficiency of the quarterbacks and running backs proved that this starting group has enough umph to get the important yards when they need to.