Funny thing about spring games is coaches never want to see a dominant effort. You'd rather not dominate yourself. If your offense is a well oiled machine, your defense is getting ripped. If your defense looks like the steel curtain, your offense is inept. Rice held it's spring game last night hoping for a competitive but not dominant effort.
The Owls quarterback position was always thought to be a battle between Jackson Tyner and J.T. Granato. Last night and through the spring Sam Glaesmann, a redshirt freshman from Waco Midway, showed he's stepping in as well. Glaesmann led the Owls in passing and rushing yards with a 3-5 95 yard effort through the air with two touchdowns and 83 yards and a touchdown rushing. He looked sharpest of the three, followed by J.T. Granato who went 6-10 for 60 yards. Tyner was 6-15 for 63.
Granato looks to have the strongest arm of the three and all three pass the eye test, each are over 6'3 and over 215. Tyner the biggest listed at 245 but he's fairly mobile. Glaesmann is a fluid athlete and looked good in the open field. Quarterbacks were protected last night so that's a factor but he looked good throwing on the run and breaking the pocket.
Size is evident on the offensive front as well. The perceived strength of the team, the line looks like the deepest unit. Calvin Anderson, Sam Pierce, and Uzoma Osuji are long and athletic on the edge. Inside Trey Martin and Pete Godber give the Owls good size and thumping ability.
Kylen Granson continues to be the Owl's best pass catching threat and combines great size with pretty decent athleticism. Rob Wells at tight end is a big target who gives Rice good a nice red zone option. RS Freshman Aaron Cephus also passes the eye test as he's every bit of 6'4 and runs well. It looks like Rice redshirted a lot talented players in 2016 and that should pay off in 2017.
The Owls put the ball on the ground too much, fumbling three times and having a tipped ball pick to start the game. The defense was able to get some pressure in Brian Stewart's newly installed 3-4 look. The front seven is undersized but active and players like Emmanuel Ellerbee should benefit from a more aggressive approach. Rice's run fits looked a bit ragged which may be a product of instillation and system awareness more than anything else.
The secondary is a work in progress. They suffered a few busts and didn't play the ball in the air particularly well. If an offseason emphasis was creating turnovers the Owls can check that box, the defense was ripping at the football all night to some success.