It’s almost time, Bruin fans! Just two days until the College football season kicks off. Today we’ll break down the Rice Owls offense and let you know how we expect the Bruins defense to matchup.
Offensively, Rice is better than they are defensively(but that’s not saying much). The offense, although one of the “strengths” of the team, struggled statistically in 2011. 85th in scoring scoring offense. 67th in rushing offense. 82nd in passing offense. 91st in total offense. Sadly for the Owls, these numbers are much better than their defense, which we previewed yesterday.
At quarterback, Taylor McHargue is set to start for the third consecutive season. In his first two seasons under center, McHargue showed glimpses of ability, but was inconsistent and oft-injured(remind you of anybody?) The 6-1, 215 lb quarterback has a strong arm, but has been prone to the turnover.
The strength of the Owls offense comes at the skill positions. At Running Back is senior bruiser Charles Ross. At 6-1, 230 lbs, Ross takes over as starter for the first time and by all accounts had an impressive camp. The Owls also return their leading receiver from 2011, Vance McDonald. Along side McDonald is former Michigan Wolverine Sam McGuffie. McGuffie had a huge season in 2010, leading Rice in both rushing and receiving, but suffered a setback in 2011 as he struggled through injuries all season.
The offensive line is the weakness of the Rice offense as they return only one starter from 2011. 3 sophomores crack the starting unit for the big Rice OL. The unit averages a little over 6’5” and 300 lbs.
Unfortunately for Rice, UCLA’s defensive line appears to be the strength of their defense in 2012. Look for the rotation of defensive lineman for the Bruins to exploit the inexperienced group of the Owls. Cassius Marsh and Brandon Willis have earned rave reviews for their Spring and Summer performances. Although we haven’t heard much about Datone Jones this summer, I expect a big year from DJ, starting with this Thursday. Among others Owa and McCarthy will look to make noise and solidify their spots in the rotation this coming season.
With the switch to the 3-4 defense, all eyes will be on the outside linebackers and Zumwalt and Barr will look to make a splash. Both are very good athletes and have shown the ability to get to the Quarterback. The Bruins are solid at inside linebacker with Kendricks and Holmes. The secondary will be tested by the solid receiving crew of Rice, but with the pressure that the Bruins should get on the QB, expect a few interceptions.