What I am looking for during the Rice game

The UH offense was pretty basic against UTSA, and I don’t expect things to change much this week. As much as I would love to see us open things up and go at Rice guns blazing, it would probably be best to keep some things in your back pocket for next week’s Big 12 opener against TCU.

the daily #40 | 9/9/2023 | Archives

Expectations. Dana Holgorsen has talked about wanting to control games with the run. For UH to do that, the five guys up front need to start controlling the line of scrimmage. I want to see this offensive line blowing guys off the ball and opening holes. When UH passes, I want to see them shutting down the pass rush and giving Donovan Smith time to make plays. This is the perfect week to get things rolling up front with a smaller Rice front 4 coming off a tough week against UT.

With a stronger performance up front, I am looking for Donovan Smith to feel more comfortable and really show off his arm. The one thing that stood out about him in the Texas Tech game last year was his calmness in the pocket. More specifically, his feet were always under him, and he maintained balance in the pocket while facing a relentless Derek Parish. Smith has proven he can make plays downfield; this is the perfect time to get that going for the Coogs.

Defensively, I am looking for Sack Ave. to get after the football and create havoc in Rice’s backfield. Sack Ave. isn’t just one player or position group. It is a collection of badasses built over the years by defensive line coach Brian Early. It’s time for this year’s Ave to show out – Nelson Ceasar will lead the way. There are some questions on the line this week with Sedrick Williams (not on the early-week depth chart) and Chidozie Nwankwo and Jamaree Caldwell (both sustained injuries in the UTSA game). I want to see these guys winning their battles up front, pressuring the QB, and making plays in the backfield. Didn’t see enough of that last week.

Overall, I am looking for UH to come out and physically dominate Rice. The Owls are picked to finish near the bottom of the AAC this year for a reason. I expect UH to come alive and leave no doubt about who is the better team. I also expect to see the backups closing out a blowout in the 4th quarter.

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