Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Army/Rice game notes are up (.pdf)
Coach Monken's pregame presser quotes are up as well.
Rice comes in looking pretty balanced:
RK TEAM YDS YDS/G PASS P YDS/G RUSH R YDS/G PTS PTS/G
69 Rice 2160 432 1135 227.0 1025 205.0 138 27.6
77 Army 2102 420 411 82.2 1691 338.2 144 28.8
227 ypg passing and 205 ypg rushing. I don't imagine Rice will have the football enough to ring up those kind of numbers,
Another well deserved spotlight piece shows a renewed Rice more focused on football this year than ever.
No, seriously though one of the more dynamic players on the Rice Owls is QB Driphus Jackson. Rice runs a lot of pistol and Shotgun I-form and they play some zone-read option, as well as run some regular power out of the Shotgun I. Jackson has definite escapability inside and outside of the pocket, and he's turned busted plays into positive yards in games against Texas A&M and Notre Dame.
After seeing a little bit of Rice in the first few weeks, Army's focus should be on the back end - sticking to D. Jackson's targets downfield and challenging Rice to make a play on the ground. Not that you don't want to pressure the QB, but there needs to be containment of the QB above all else. It could be a nervy game trusting Army's secondary to cover, because the Owls mix it up well. The Owls pass a lot on characteristic running situations and, for better or for worse, do some running on obvious passing down and distances. It will be yeoman's work for the defense to lock down the zone-read option and cover the play action passing game that stems off of that pistol set.
I don't want to give the impression that Driphus Jackson is the Incredible Hulk, but he's thrown just 3 INTs this year, gets some favorable schemes from the zone read & it's play action pass, and they play kind of off-beat with plenty of 1st and 2nd down passing as a kind of common wrinkle in their offense. Jackson's escapability brings into the spotlight Army's tackling: the success of the defense could hinge on whether they can effectively bring D. Jackson to the ground: the arm tackles and some of the ole' tackles we've seen in weeks past aren't going to cut it against a QB with Driphus' size and ability. If Army can contain 3 downs of passing and make Rice run and the Black Knights should step away with a sizable lead by the 3rd. What happens in the 4th quarter, then, is anyone's guess.