Rice Owls 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 5-7
Rice Owls 2016 Preview
An experienced Rice Owls squad looks to make a return to the postseason in 2016.
Overview: David Bailiff had taken Rice to three straight Bowls before posting just five wins in 2015. Is this the end of a nice run or can Bailiff regroup and return the Owls to prominence?
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Offense: Owls senior quarterback Tyler Stehling finally gets to show his stuff after throwing for 320 yards in 2015 in spot duty after games had been decided. Rice has experience at receiver with Zach Wright, Temi Alaka and Nate German but virtually everyone that had a ball thrown to them returns. The Owls rushing game is intact as well with Darik Dilliard, Samuel Stewart and Austin Walker combining for over 1,600 yards to give the team three experienced options. The offensive line gets back three starters but six players have starting experience so with so much back Rice is hoping to visit the endzone more frequently.
Defense: The Owls front four gets back ten of their top 12 with Grayson Schantz and Grant Peterson returning after missing 2015. Derek Brown, Brian Womac and Preston Gordon paced this group with 24 TFL and 10.5 sacks so Rice has some depth and production here although the defense wasn’t very good at anything. The Owls also have plenty back at linebacker with six of their top seven returning so in theory this unit has depth and experience as well. The Owls secondary returns nine that saw the field in 2015 so we have to think this unit improves from allowing 36 points per game and that begins with a decent pass rush and forced turnovers which were almost non existent.
Special Teams: Jack Fox looks to take over the Owls punt duties while Hayden Tobola looks to improve on an 8-13 effort on field goals. Austin Walker and Samuel Stewart pace the Rice return game.
Outlook: If experience counts for anything then Rice should be improved but this is a team that has to prove themselves before I cans say Bowl worthy as the Owls could be postseason eligible or repeating 2015.
9/3 @ Western Kentucky
9/10 @ Army
9/24 North Texas
10/1 @ Southern Miss
10/22 Prairie View A&M
10/29 @ Louisiana Tech
11/5 Florida Atlantic
11/12 @ Charlotte
11/26 @ Stanford