Sep 25 2017

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Rice OC Billy Lynch takes his turn at the podium at Rice’s Media Day (PTH photo)
David Bailiff Media Day video.
HOUSTON (Aug. 3) – Coaches and players alike said things were looking up, as far as prospects for the coming season go – or so they annunciated at Thursday’s annual Media Day Rice football confab held at the Patterson Center at Rice Stadium.

So the 64-dollar question is, are they staring at an 800-pound safe somebody is just tossed out of a ten-story window, hurtling right down at the heads of coach David Bailiff’s beleaguered flock?

Pick your avoirdupois. A Top-10 Stanford team looms in the season opener, in a game to be played in Sydney, Australia, 6,000 miles away from South Main. All four of the Owls’ nonconference bouts will be against teams who paid visits to bowl games last year. And the Western Division of Conference USA still features the same kind of offensive firepower that has always given the Owl defense fits every year, year in and year out, even in the 2013 championship season. Ouch.

But that’s putting the cart before the horse. What matters now, it seems, is unity, camaraderie, spirit, hustle, determination. This Rice squad features all that kind of stuff, head coach David Bailiff said Thursday.

“The first five days of camp have been incredible,” he insisted. “The retention that these young men have and the job our strength staff did this summer; they are in great shape. We’re motoring through the days, motoring through the practice. We have extremely high expectations.”

Rice’s head man, now entering the eleventh year of his coaching reign, says this particular squad has turned out to be fun one to coach. “I really have enjoyed this football team. They have gone to work. They are an older bunch. There’s been great chemistry, there’s great effort and a lot of enthusiasm. The new coaches have really worked in well. More of the players are able to get in and get in extra film and work. There’s just a sense of enthusiasm with this football team and this coaching staff. We want to get back to our winning ways. I think we’re going to do that this year.”

Coach Bailiff, plus his offensive coordinator, Billy Lynch, his new DC, Brian Stewart, and long-time assistant head coach Darrell Patterson all spoke to press over lunch Thursday, after which time a number of veteran Owl players also turned up for interviews.

We’ll present videos of our interviews with all of those Owls, plus coaches’ videos, over the coming few days. Coverage of fall two-a-days will be limited: at least for once, lowering the curtain over Rice Stadium August activities makes just a whole lot of sense, with a new defensive set being installed featuring the three-man front, and a wide open battle for the the quarterback spot.

As for the quarterback battle, don’t expect to know the whole story until the 26th of August, when the Owls take the field against Stanford. Who’ll be the Owls’ starting QB? The matter will be first made known Down Undah, Mate.

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