Members of the 2021 Rice football team and coaching staff met with the media this past weekend to preview the 2021 season. Here are some highlights.
Shortly after the first scrimmage of fall camp, members of the Rice football team and coaching staff traded the grass for microphones to discuss the upcoming 2021 season. Below are a selection of quotes from members of the staff and players.
Mike Bloomgren on the timeline for a starting QB decision
“I don’t feel a need to call a winner anytime soon. I’d rather it not drag into game week and I’d rather it not drag into the third week [of camp], if we can help it.”
Bloomgren on the depth on defense
“We roll guys in and out and there shouldn’t ever be a big difference depending on who’s in the game and who’s not. I mean, that’s the way they set the standard over there. If you’re going to play in the top two you’re going to play meaningful snaps and you better be ready to come in and do your job.”
Defensive Coordinator Brian Smith on the experience of the defense:
“Returning all the starters that we have, the experience that we have, so when we get in a tough situation I know how they’re going to respond. That level of trust that’s been built, that’s what gives me the most confidence. We’ve been through some battles before with most of these guys and I know how they’re going to respond to adversity. We’re playing together right now as a defense. Guys are communicating. They know what they’re doing, and when you know what you’re doing, you can play faster.”
Offensive Coordinator Marques Tuiasosopo on training camp:
“We’re right in the meat and potatoes of installs and training camp. We’ve said scrimmage you make the biggest strides, usually, In my experience, from scrimmage one to scrimmage two and I think I’m really excited to see what that looks like in the next four or five days.”
“Training camp is supposed to be tough, and our staff we challenge our guys daily. We try to make it as hard as possible. So when we get to game day it becomes easy. And I think they’re right on track.”
Tuiasosopo on the quarterbacks and the scheme
“We’re going to run the football and we want to have a smart passing game where we take advantage of what the defense is giving us. Regardless of who we bring in here [at quarterback], it’s being able to mold what they do well, individually, and how it fits within the structure of our system.”
Special teams coordinator Chris Monfiletto on the continuity of the coaching staff
“Yeah, I mean, it’s unbelievable. It’s everything that you want in a job, right? It’s everything that you want in a boss, somebody that if you provide value to the program is going to be able to promote you. I’m so grateful for that. I think that that gives the guys on the team tangible evidence that if you’re going to provide value to the team there’s going to be a role for you and we’ll find a role for you on the field. It’s not just the coaching staff, it’s every member of the team from the walk-ons to the guys that maybe haven’t played in the past. You keep working hard and you keep providing value, and then there’s going to be an opportunity.”
Tight end Jordan Myers on his confidence in the offense
The more you’re in the offense, the more comfortable you get in it, the calmer you can be. That’s just when you go out and play football and that’s what we can here to do, paly football and have fun.”
Myers on expectations for the season
“The standard is always be 1-0 at the end of every week. We want to prepare like we’re going for championsips. We want to prepare like we’re going to win bowl games. That’s the thing that we always talk about in this building and that’s never changed”
Safety Naeem Smith on the defense
“I’m happy where we’re at, but at the same time, we have even higher expectations… Two things we gotta do better is just try and create turnovers and sacks and things like that, but overall, happy with where we’re at but we still have a long ways to go before the season.”
Wide receiver Bradley Rozner on returning to action
“I just want to be on the field playing again. I love this game. I’ve been playing it for a very long time and I’m gonna keep playing for as long as I can because I know these days are numbered. It’s a fun game. I love the grind, the competitiveness of all of it. Wherever the coaches see me, that’s where I’ll be.”
Rozner on the wide receiving corps
“We can stretch the ball vertically, horizontally, diagonally, it doesn’t’ matter. I feel like we can go anywhere with the guys we have and we can be really explosive and make plays all over the field.”
Safety Treshawn Chamberlain on defensive improvement
“There’s always ways to get better. A lot of people might miss the small errors, but when we are in the film room, we’re critiquing ourselves to a tee… There’s always another level that you can take it. And that’s what we’ve been attacking, we’ve been focusing on where our mind needs to be before the play even starts.”
Quarterback Wiley Green on the leap he expects on offense
“There’s always room for improvement. But we expect that jump to be now. We expect that jump to be happening this season. We expect that jump to be week one against Arkansas so we really expect to be able to put some points on the board, especially when we’re down close in the red zone and make it happen.”
Quarterback Luke McCaffrey on the type of player he is
It depends. I think the biggest thing that I want to be as a football player, I want to be somebody who goes out there and has the ability to make a play when it’s needed and has the ability to run an offense when that’s needed. And so I think that that is a very diverse skill set and, and I’m lucky enough to have the guys around me to let that happen.”
Rice football will play their second scrimmage of fall camp this coming Saturday. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week (including a deep-dive on the quarterback position) and look for a debrief following that scrimmage.
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