|'04 Rice-Texas week
University of Texas at Austin 35, Rice 13
Banged-up Owl offense
no match for Texas
UT's size, speed, talent too much for Rice
Raymorris Barnes and Clifford Sparks team up to sandwich
UT's Cedric Benson as quarterback Young looks on
AUSTIN (Sept. 26) Reality set in quickly on the
multi-million-dollar turf of Texas Memorial Stadium here Saturday evening as a Rice
offense, short of three of its most potent weapons, had no chance to keep up with a Texas
running attack that ran rough-shod over a game but outmanned Rice defensive unit, in a
35-13 Longhorn win. It was a game that was elusive to peg, as either a blowout loss
or a sturdy, inspired effort for the Owls.
In fact, it was a little of both.
Afterwards, UT head coach Mack Brown led a media chorus that honked like a flock of
geese over the apparent ease in which the Texas offense marched with precision into the
end zone its first four possessions, while the 'Horn defense simply gunned down the Rice
running game like, well remember that Indiana Jones movie where Harrison Ford idly
regards his air-chopping Kung Fu opponent for a second or two, then pulls out his .45 and
shoots the guy between the eyes?
Thats kind of the way the Texas defense played the Owls option
attack Saturday evening. Never mind the fact that it was an offense that was without the
services of its top two rushers, in Thomas Lott and Quinton Smith, and its top receiver,
in Marcus Battle, all out with injuries.
All the finesse, deception and machinations in the world dont count for
much when you have real college students going against Übermenschen
like UT linebacker Derrick Johnson, who disrupted the flow and created mayhem in the Rice
backfield all night.
"Derrick Johnson is as good a linebacker as we've ever played
against," Rice head coach Ken Hatfield said afterwards. "Even when we
blocked him, he just defeated us."
The stampeding Johnson, said to be a shoo-in for the Outland Trophy, was matched
in oomph and intensity by the entire Texas offensive line, which broke holes in the
usually stingy Rice defensive front wide enough for Heisman candidate Cedric Benson to run
through with a television set beneath both arms.
"Texas was very big and very physical and made a lot of big
things happen in the running game," Coach Hatfield added. "We had a hard time
getting off blocks."
"The whole idea of a defense is to be in the right place, defeat your man, and
then get off and make the play. They're so big that we had a hard time getting
Yet, as The Eyes and Rices Honor sounded in the stands
after the game, most of the Owls trudged off the field with smiles on their faces, for
they knew theyd given the fifth-ranked Longhorns a game.
Of course, Coach Mack said that really wasnt the case.
Owls played Texas even in second half -- with Rice's
Greg Henderson tries to get away from UT's Rodriques
Although the 32-point dog Owls nabbed three turnovers and outscored
Texas, 7-0, after UTs first possession of the second half, that was only because
Mack is such a nice guy, you see.
"It was actually even only because we took everybody out," the
world-beater said. "We played some really, really young guys."
"I thought that Rice played hard, and I thought they played well, but I
thought the score wasn't indicative of the game. We didn't have a starter in during the
fourth quarter except for a couple of secondary guys."
Well, lets go back and check the participation report. Seems Cedric Benson
played a full three quarters, and starting quarterback Vince Young played longer than
that. Second-stringer Chance Mock took over for Young with exactly 12:41 left in the game,
set up in the shotgun, and threw the ball all over the field. And Mocks a former
Meanwhile, Rices redshirt freshman quarterback, Joel Armstrong, got the
first experience of his collegiate career starting at 2:53 in the third, and when he
motored in for a quick-as-a-cat 44-yard touchdown run as the clock ticked down, no
first-unit men were on the field for the Owls, and Joel was, in fact, surrounded almost
entirely by redshirt freshmen.
Not former starters.
We werent going to do this, but, emboldened by the look at that
participation report, lets do a little what-iffing to see how this game
might accidentally have turned out if a couple of bounces had gone better for the Owls.
For starters, lets say the crowd noise doesnt cause a false
start or the refs dont call a phantom false start and Ed Baileys
fourth-and-two dive for a touchdown counts. Thats seven points instead of three,
right before the half.
Speaking of phantom calls, lets just pretend Will Woods roughing-the-passer
infraction doesnt get flagged, so that Clifford Sparks broken-field
interception return goes into the books as a TD. Thats seven more.
And imagine Andray Downs manages to avoid the last-gasp tackle put on him by the
place-kicker, and his kickoff return goes for 100 yards instead of 52.
With those points on the board, then, Coach Hatfield goes for the field goal, late in
the third, instead of going for it on fourth down at the Texas 23.
And lets assume the Rice defense is on the alert when Mack tries the cheesy fake
field goal on fourth and goal in the second quarter.
OK, thats seven, less three, carry the one, add back the four and,
whaddayaknow? Rice wins, 34-28.
Texas still has talent edge -- but Owls are closer
Rice deep men Andray Downs and Joe Moore both want the
ball on kickoff return
Obviously, any serious contention that the Owls were but a couple
of bounces away from a win is a bad case of la vie en rose, for the talent
differential between these two teams was considerable thought not nearly so
enormous as it appeared to be in last years 48-7 blowout win for Texas.
Remember, this time, our second unit beat their second unit, 7-0. And we play again next
But the next time we win the opening coin toss, Coach, how about lets take the
For the second straight game, the Owls gave up a long touchdown drive on the opening
kickoff, and then later went three-and-out, followed by a Bad Guys score, to begin
the third quarter.
The Rice defensive front held sway on Texas first two plays from scrimmage, but a
third-down draw play caught the Owl defenders just slightly unawares, and Cedric Benson
picked up a seam and stormed for 58 yards down the home sideline.
Two plays later, Texas tried the same gambit, but this time Terry Holley was in the
backfield to drop Sir Cedric for a loss of two. That made it third and goal from the nine.
Then, Young dropped back three, and lofted a quickie to tight end Bo Scaife, eight yards
deep in the end zone.
Once again, Terry Holley was there to deliver a crushing blow to the numbers (its
pictured on page one of the Sunday Chronicle). But the tough-as-nails Owl defender bounced
harmlessly to the turf, as Scaife cradled the ball and slowly turned as if to ask,
what was that?
Scaife bedeviled the Owls from the onset, although it's doubtful the Flock will see
very many tight ends with comparable skills during their conference run.
"Both their tight ends were giving us a whole lot of trouble all night,"
Clifford Sparks told reporters afterwards. "They gashed us across the middle
the whole time."
Having thus given up that opening marker, it was obvious the Owls needed to come
back and make a statement of some kind on offense if they expected to be able to
make any kind of game of it. And that, they did.
Starting at the 19, the Owls ripped off ten straight rushing plays to carry them as far
as the Texas 22. But fullback Ed Bailey got none of those carries, and it immediately
became clear that the UT defensive front was burly enough to negate the fullback drive
without excessively tying up the linebackers.
"(UT defensive coordinator) Dick Tomey knows in triple-option football, you stop
the fullback first," Coach Hatfield told press afterwards. "They did a good job
seeing to it that Ed didn't run the ball. Every time we had a 'read play,' they had
someone take the fullback. Their defensive front is so big and strong, and we just
couldn't sustain our blocks."
Nonetheless, at least at first, Greg Henderson and Marcus Rucker did an creditable job
of moving the ball to the outside.
The biggest play of the Owls opening drive was a 22-yard pitch-and-run by Marcus
that set up the Owls with first down at the Texas 44. That one quieted down the frat boys,
just a bit.
Rice's play calling system didn't hold up in big
Marcus Rucker turns the corner and picks up 14 tough yards
What killed this opening drive, however, had a lot to do with
crowd noise. Once again, it was demonstrated that Rices scheme of delivering play
calls on offense first by hand signals from the sideline; then by audibles from
quarterback to backs and receivers may work fine when youre playing in a
stadium thats quiet as a church. But it doesnt function so well when your guys
are on the field in front of 83,000 fans screaming their lungs out trying to keep the call
from being heard.
The closer the Owls got to the Texas goal line, the louder the crowd noise got. By the
time Greg faced third and seven at the Texas 22, he was faced with running around yelling
in his backs helmet earholes to convey the play. That didnt work just all that
well, and Rice had to settle, at that point, for a 39-yard field goal try, which Brennan
Landry boomed cleanly through the uprights.
So at least something of an offensive statement was made. Now it was time for a
But it was not to be. The Texas offensive line functioned like a particularly violent
X-Box game, and Texas was not to be deterred, despite the best efforts of the Owl defense,
until only a couple of minutes remained in the second half, at which point the Feathered
Flock found themselves down, 28-3.
Meanwhile, the UT defensive front keyed on Ed Bailey, and all-world backer
Derrick Johnson and the rest of the Longhorn linebacking corps contineud to flood the Rice
backfield like a Category 4 storm.
There were only a couple of noteworthy exceptions to those revolting developments.
First, was Andray Downs almost-touchdown kickoff return. After Texas' third
opening-quarter TD, Andray took kicker Richmond McGees floater at the two yard line
and sprinted down the home sideline, dodging tacklers as he went. It was only the
desperation grasp of the UT kicker himself that saved the touchdown.
Working from the Texas 46, instead, the Owls went nowhere.
After Jared Scruggs punted 44 yards for a touchback, Texas methodically ground out a
six-minute drive that set them up, first and goal, from the Owl six yard line five minutes
deep into the second quarter. At that point, two Cedric Benson rushes were shut down for
little or no gain by Chad Price and John Syptak, consecutively. A third down quick-out
pass from Young to wideout Will Matthews was next snuffed out by Andray Downs, who
securedly pinned the UT receiver, open-field, at the three yard line.
A chip-shot field goal wouldve made it 24-3 at that point. But Coach Mack decided
it was time for his team to make a statement -- such as, 'up yours.' A fake field
goal wound up with the ball given to UTs Tony Jeffrey, who looks to be about eight
feet tall. And leaping, he managed to crease the goal line before Rices defenders
had time to fully react.
So instead, that gave Texas a 28-3 lead, still with 9:45 left in the first half. It
looked as if the game could wind up getting as out of hand as last years contest, if
Rice outscored UT, 10-7, in last two-thirds
of the game
Andray Downs securely wraps up UT receiver Will
Matthews for a short gain to the Rice three yard line -- notice the height disparity
But do take notice that, for the last 39:45 of the game, the Rice Owls outscored
Texas University, 10-7.
Hey, youve gotta take your goodies where you find them.
For starters, Rice was able to cut the lead to 28-6 just before the half, after
Clifford Sparks picked off a Vincent Young pass at the Texas 40 and returned it 17 yards
to the Texas 23.
Then on second and five, Mike Falco took the pitch and ripped off a nine-yard gain to
the Texas 9, and the Owls were facing first-and-goal.
Ed Bailey got the call the next two plays, and his efforts took the Owls down to the
Texas two yard line. But once again, the crowd noise bugaboo raised its head. On third
down, Gregs cutback was stopped for no gain. Against any other opponent on
Rices schedule, hed likely have scored on that play. But going against
Texas behemoths, before 83,000 noisy fans, he couldnt quite get it in.
Then came the false-start call on fourth and goal. The Big-12 refs must have measured
the Rice line jump with calipers by golly, they were going to be johnny-on-the-spot
and find someone moving.
So instead of seven points, the Owls got only three, and thats the way the half
The Owls, then, were completely throttled on their opening possession of the third
quarter. Derrick Johnson nailed Greg Henderson and Marcus Rucker for consecutive
After a 47-yard Jared Scruggs punt was returned to the Rice 46, the Horns drew
ten for holding. But the second play from scrimmage, Young hit David Thomas on a crossing
route and he threaded over and through several Owl would-be tacklers, turning about a
15-yard gain into a 49-yard, broken-field TD run.
Armstrong immediately showed he knows how to
run the option
Terry Holley zooms in and drops Sir Cedric for a loss of two
Joel Armstrong took over the reins for the Owls two possessions later. First time
out, results were mixed. On first and ten from the Rice 32, Joel optioned left and made a
pitch to Mike Falco that was a thing of exquisite timing, and Stallion deftly took the
ball 15 yards down the sideline to set up the Flock near midfield.
But next play, Armstrong cut back down the middle and had the ball stripped from his
grasp by UTs Aurmo Satchell, and the incipient drive was snuffed.
The fourth-quarter Rice touchdown drive began at the Owl 44 when UT was flagged for 15
on a personal foul on the fair catch by Andray Downs.
Joel picked up five on the first-down keeper, and then zipped a quick sideline route to
Ryan Simonak for seven more. It was Ryans third reception of the day, as he turned
in a noteworthy performance subbing for the injured Ben Wiggins, who went down with what
appeared to be a serious knee injury early in the first quarter.
From there, on a quick option left, Joel dodged a couple of would-be tacklers and
suddenly burst into the clear, scoring easily from 44 yards out.
We buttonholed a pumped-up Joel Armstrong after the game and asked him how it felt to
get the score before 80,000-plus hostile onlookers. "It just felt good to get my feet
wet," he told us. " Ive been waiting for a chance to get out there. I know
Im number two on the depth chart, but my job is to always be ready to play. I know
Gregs number one."
The suggestion was made that, after that slick TD run, the alumni might just want to
elevate the redshirt freshman to number one-and-a half on the depth chart.
"Hey, thats good enough for me," Joel said, grinning. "I tell you,
I just want to do anything I can to help our team win."
"But its always the biggest thing, you know, to get the feeling that your
team has confidence in you. When they have that confidence, it gives a quarterback a
better chance to come in there and get the job done."
Ryan Simonak, who had ample reason to be pleased with his own performance on the
evening, assured us that Joels teammates do, in fact, have that confidence.
"Weve always know that Joel could do it," Ryan said. "Its
just that Greg is a senior and hes such a strong competitor. But Joels going
to do very well; hes going to be just fine, actually, when he gets his chance.
Of course, we know, really, that Joels run was nothing. We know, because Coach
Mack told us so.
--Paul T. Hlavinka
"We're going over there to win the game. Starting Monday and all week, we'll
be preparing a gameplan to win the game. That's what our goal is."
"We're number one. We've given up fewer yards rushing than any college team in
America. There's only one way you can take it. That's it."
"Are they gonna run? You really think so? They doin' that this year?"
"They just wanted to say, 'We love you, and we're just gonna hug you to death
to show you how much were gonna miss ya.' They're being very nice to us, out
there. I'm glad to know that they care that much about us, to hug us the way they
'We're going over there to win'
Long time since Owls,
Horns both clashed
with perfect records
HOUSTON (Sept. 23) Question of the week, both around The Drag and up and down
South Main has got to be: when was the last time Rice and Texas both went into their game
Though they're both only 2-and-0, that turns out to be exactly the case as The
Institute and The University tee it up 6 p.m. Saturday in Austin's DKR Memorial Stadium,
the 86th such meeting between the two venerable institutions.
The recently-renewed series has been disgustingly one-sided since the
mid-sixties, Rice winning only one time since 1965, that being a 19-17 thriller in the
Rice Stadium rain Oct. 16th, 1994. Yes, Horn fans, we still have that date memorized.
Of course, that's not so if you count the time Rice actually did win in '89,
30-29, only to have a last-second two-point attempt by UT's Peter Gardere be ruled a
score, although Owl defenders sent him sprawling out of bounds several yards short
of the goal line. That so-called 31-30 Texas win is one long-time Owl fans will never
Last year's bout in Reliant Stadium was about as exciting as a game of canasta,
when, although the Owls hung on gamely for a quarter, the Horns scored 34 points in the
second period to take a 41-0 halftime lead. UT head coach Mack Brown called off the dogs
in the second half, and Texas went home 'only' a 48-7 winner.
Can Rice actually match up better against UT this year?
But the scuttlebutt around South Main this week is that the sledding just might
not be quite so slick for the T-Men this time around. It's a different Rice team than the
one they faced last September in Reliant Stadium, it's said. Last year at this time, Rice
was struggling on both sides of the ball, with an injured senior quarterback and a
tentative offensive line on the one hand, and a green, untested group of defensive
players, on the other.
This time around, it's a Rice team that has come out and contained, if not
completely shut down, two of the most prolific offenses in the country in Hawaii and the
University of Houston. Even though both of those teams tend to emphasize the passing game,
the Owls completely negated the rush.
Houston gained 8 yards rushing on the day. Hawaii didn't do quite as well They
got only seven.
Even if you're going up against Little Sisters of the Poor, those are some
pretty impressive stats. In fact, quite obviously, they're good enough for number one in
NCAA Division 1A. That's not to be scoffed at, head coach Ken Hatfield told press earlier
Aw, com'on, Coach. Shouldn't there be some kind of asterisk next to that
"No, we can only take it one way," Coach Hatfield deadpanned right
back. "We're number one. We've given up fewer yards rushing than any college team in
America. There's only one way you can take it. That's it."
.But Texas features a fearsome running attack, headlined by do-everything
quarterback Vincent Young and Heisman candidate halfback Cedric Benson. Those guys got
their yards in a 22-20 UT win at Arkansas two weeks ago. And they've had a couple of
weeks to rest up!
"Are they gonna run? You really think so?" Coach Hatfield once again
deadpanned to his fourth-estate questioners. "They doin' that this year?"
"I tell you what, it's a whole different challenge when you play someone
who's committed to the run," the Hat reflected. "The last two teams -- Hawaii
has always emphasized the pass. Houston, you never know what to expect, depending upon
what personnel grouping they had in there, whether or not they wanted to run the ball with
Anthony Evans. Once he got well you saw what he can do." (Evans gained 282
yards rushing against Army Saturday.)
No doubt about Texas' proclivities
link for UT fans....
"But this Texas team here, there's no doubt about 'em," Coach said.
"I mean, they went up to Arkansas and pushed Arkansas around running the
football. They did a tremendous job with it -- which they will attempt to do in their game
plan this week. .There's no doubt. We're playing the fifth-ranked team in the country and
they're the number-one rushing offense in the nation. They are an excellent team."
Both Rices wins thus far have been considered by the experts
to be nothing in the way of flukes. The Owl defense totally manhandled UH, and the
Rice-Hawaii game might have turned into a Rice blowout, had the Owl offense not left the
ball on the ground six times. Writers asked Ken Hatfield whether wins like that can make
his team a bunch of believers believers, that is, that they can come back this week
and knock off a top ten team like Texas.
"Well, we better believe it," Coach Hatfield said,
"because that's who were playin' this week."
"We're going over there to win the game. Starting Monday and all week,
we'll be preparing a game plan to win the game. That's what our goal is."
"This will be a fun game. Most of the guys on our roster are from Texas and
they are looking forward to it. I think they'll be at their very best this week."
The Rice mentor added his staff will be working with the squad trying to improve
on the things it did not do well in the Hawaii game. That means, first and foremost,
"We want to improve each and every week. Winning is fine, a great
confidence and morale booster, but we have to take the view today that there are things we
have to do to improve, to get better. Texas has had two weeks off, so we know they will be
a lot better and they'll be fresh. That's just one of those things."
"What we've got to do is improve, because we had nine penalties in the
Hawaii game, and that's not good. We had six fumbles in the game, and that's really not
good. Luckily we only lost two of them, but we had four others where the ball was on the
ground, and we had to come up with it. And a good team doesn't do those things, and that's
what we have to work on. If we get better, it gives us the greatest chance for victory
"The attitude is there, the hustle is there, the enthusiasm's there -- the
feedback's there -- but we have to be better at the fundamentals. If we do that, then
we'll make improvement this week as a team, and that's all our goal is -- to try to get
better each week."
Mid-term exam question: how to keep up with UT QB
For starters, itll take no small measure of improvement for Rices
defenders to be able to keep up with UT quarterback Vincent Young. Young is so athletic,
and can be so unpredictable in his moves, that its hard to develop a containment
concept that has a chance to work against him, Coach Hatfield said. "I don't know,
we've haven't decided just yet," he quipped. "We'll come up with a game plan
"He had a great coming-out party against us last year here in Houston, as
you well remember. He's an exciting performer. You have to figure out a way to get
near him, and if you get near him, hopefully you can get him on the ground. That's the fun
part, that's the challenge, and if you're a competitor, you'll like the opportunity of
playing this week."
"It will be a totally different challenge -- Cedric Benson and Vincent
Young and all the great offensive linemen they have, too. They have great talent at every
position. So it'll be a different challenge than what we've seen in the last couple of
games, there's no doubt."
By the way, in answer to the original question, of when was the last time these
two teams were both undefeated going into their game? Don't know about Texas, but
the Owls were last unbeaten -- but tied once -- in 1934.
The last time Rice entered the Texas game with a perfect record?
Coach Hatfield was profuse in his compliments to Owl players on both sides of
the ball, for their efforts in the win over Hawaii.
"A lot of those good, young players have come in and helped us on defense
and made a big difference," he said. "Thadis Pegues is putting pressure on the
quarterback, and he didn't play all last year. Buck Casson, a linebacker, has come in to
give us a little bit more. All the defensive backs -- Chad Price, Terry Holley, Andray
Downs -- give us more team speed on defense this year. And that's very evident, I think,
watching them play."
"Chad Price had a tremendous ball game, playing on three special teams and
making a lot of big plays. He was all over the field. He's a yeoman of a guy; he wants to
play on any special team and he wants to play the whole game."
"Lance Byrd really gave us a shot in the arm with his punt returns. We're
sorry that we had two bad penalties that really were very close on those; I don't think
they affected the outcome of the plays. I think we'll get some good out of the results of
those plays, even though we didn't get the yardage. We'll gain a lot of confidence in
knowing that Lance has that ability to go all the way with it. That really helped
The only way Rice junior DE John Syptak knows how to play is flat-out, Coach
Hatfield said. Thats why he seemed constantly to be losing his helmet the other
night. " I think the intensity will be there, because that's the only way John knows
how to play," Coach said. "We've been very fortunate because he missed about
three weeks of our preseason practice with a pulled hamstring and we didn't know when he'd
be able to get back, at all. And I think John has played extremely well."
"Courtney Gordon has give us a good push at defensive end. Jeremy Calahan
played great, as usual, throughout the game. And on the last play, Jeremy is the one who
forced Chang to run the ball, and actually run the clock out, with seven seconds left. I
was glad about that, I didn't want him to throw it, and them have a touchdown with a
prayer to get another on with an onside kick."
On the offensive side, the kudos, naturally, had to start with the 234-yard
rushing performance of Ed Bailey. "We're appreciative of Ed Bailey being recognized
as the WAC player of the week," Coach said."Coach (Larry) Brinson said he had 14
knockdown blocks, in addition to carrying the ball as well as he did. He was in on a lot
of critical plays. He takes a lot of pride in his blocking."
"It's a great tribute to all the team and the linemen who really blocked
for him so much , for him to have that kind of game. In fact on offense we had six guys
who made our 'Champion' board. Three of them were offensive linemen, because pretty much
our whole left side blocked well: Joe Don Wood at tight end, Scott Mayhew at left tackle
and Greg Wilson at left guard, all provided a lot of super blocking which gave Ed a big
chance of making something happen."
"For all our young players out there watching, Greg Henderson and Ed Bailey
having the kind of games that they did, it is a direct result of the amount of time they
put in the weight room. They are strong as bulls, they lift weights all the time, and you
could see as the game wore on, the leg strength that both of them had. They pulled out of
some arm tackles and really made a lot of extra yards after they had been hit the initial
time. So it just shows that it pays off; you get in there in the weight room , it will pay
off, and this game showed that."
"There's no doubt that if you're going to run the football, you've got to
have a good offensive line. We are really appreciative of Cotey-Joe Cswaykus and Greg
Wilson stepping in and playing new positions. Also, Rolf Krueger played right tackle and
did a fine job. And so if anything it's a real credit to all of our players."
"Coach (Scott) Wachenheim moved a couple of people around after we lost
Ross Huebel and Micah Meador early in the game against Houston. We made some adjustments
on the run in the Houston game and it took us a while to get going; that's why we didn't
move the ball quite as well."
"But we had an extra week to get ready for Hawaii with the same guys at the
same positions. Greg Wilson's unselfish move from tackle to guard, and he wound up being
one of the players of the game."
"Also, Greg Henderson played like a champion at quarterback running and
throwing. And Marcus Battle, getting well we really didn't know until warmups how
much he would be able to play. As it turned out, he made one of the plays of the game, the
long pass on third-and-long. He also caught a couple of slant routes for key first downs.
But all of 'em did a tremendous job."
Probably the key play of the Hawaii game, Coach Hatfield said, was when Clint
Hatfield recovered a fumble on the Hawaii six-yard line on Rices game-winning drive.
"When it's 29-28, and Greg dropped the ball, and kicked it down there, Clint came up
with a big, big recovery."
Hold that line
Is there something in the WAC make that says, since its a a pass-happy
league, that offensive holding calls in pass-blocking situations are going to be a virtual
no-show in the game stats -- by design of the officials' committee? In the Owls win
over Hawaii Saturday, Warrior coach June Jones called 56 passing plays (counting the five
Owl sacks), and the Warriors were touched for zero
zero holding calls.
Puts a running team at quite a disadvantage, doesnt it?
"You're asking the wrong guy," Coach Hatfield told us. "You ought
to be talking to the commissioner or the head of the officials. Because obviously I agree
with you and I do not agree with the officials."
But there does seem to be some truth the concept, the head Owl said. "Once
they create the excitement of the passing game, and the people using their hands, usually
the only time you get called for holding, nowadays anymore, is when when you reach out and
grab somebody, and he's beating you."
But Coach Hatfield had a different slant on Hawaiis up-close-and-personal
"I think in this case, here, they just loved us," he said. "They
just wanted to say, "We love you, and we're just gonna hug you to death to show you
how much were gonna miss ya. They're being very nice to us, out there. I'm
glad to know that they care that much about us, to hug us the way they did."
Paul T. Hlavinka
'The win was worth a lot more'
'About halfway through the fourth quarter, Chad Richardson came up to me, on the
sideline, and told me that I had broken his record. But I had no idea what he was talking
'A record doesnt mean anything if you dont win the game. Just for our
team to come together to pull ahead, then fall behind, but then to come back at the
end and win it like we did, that was great. In previous years we didnt do that'
'Really, its just a matter of doing whatever the coaches ask me to do. My
main job is to help our offense be consistent. Whatever it takes to do that, is fine with
me. If they want me to block the whole game, then Ill block. If they need me to
carry the ball again, then Ill carry the ball'
HOUSTON ( Sept. 22) Fifth-year senior fullback Ed Bailey had a pretty
good night against Hawaii Saturday. Yeah, you could say that as in rushing for 232
yards, the fourth-highest, all-time, for a Rice ball carrier and the gaudiest total during
the Hatfield era. Just about everybody in the arena was tremendously impressed with the
feat except Ed Bailey. Seems he went down to the film room Sunday morning to see
how many good blocks hed laid. He was more worried about that, then he was over his
yardage totals. (For the record, Coach Hatfield said Ed had 14 takedowns.) Have to keep
improving, you know. The soft-spoken, but well-spoken, young man from Houston- area Klein
High School uniformly impressed gathered media Monday when they spoke to him about his big
Q: What went through your mind when you were racking up all those yards?
I really wasnt thinking about it during the game. I was only thinking
about what was going to happen next: I hope we get this first down, "I
hope we get it into the end zone, I hope the defense stops them. Then
about halfway through the fourth quarter, Chad Richardson came up to me, on the sideline,
and told me that I had broken his record. But I had no idea what he was talking about!
Q: Did the win mean a little bit more?
Oh, yes, the win was worth a lot more. A record doesnt mean anything if
you dont win the game. Just for our team to come together to pull ahead, then
fall behind, but then to come back at the end and win it like we did, that was great. In
previous years we didnt do that.
Q: Did you have any idea you were going to get the number of carries you did
against Hawaii, based upon their defensive set, and what the coaches told you during the
week before the game?
Our coaches touched on the kind of splits that they run, and leading up to
practice I felt very comfortable with the defenses that they were running. I even called
my roommate and told him that I had a good feeling about this game. I really didnt
know why, I just felt like it was going to be a good game. I was thinking more team-wise,
though. And turned out to be the case. But I didnt think I was going to have the
kind of game that I did.
I think maybe the Hawaii defensive players were surprised a little by my
strength and by how low to the ground I run. Im only five-nine, and those
linebackers were looking at me and kind of laughing among themselves. I get a kick out of
it, then, when my assignment is to go out and block them, and I can knock them down on the
Its a challenge, going up against bigger guys all the time. But that makes
it all the more fun when you can have a little success. Oh, and Im about 210, now
so Im not little, anymore.
Q: As a fifth-year senior, have you ever had a change to stop and consider
what the game of football has meant to you? And in that light, what this performance
Saturday means to you?
Mmmm. Well, its been uplifting. Ive been getting calls from friends
and family members. You know, theyd say, Good game, good game.
Great, you broke the record. That was nice, but it was almost a distraction. I
was up here in the film room first thing Sunday morning trying to see how Id
blocked. Thats just what Ive always done as a matter of habit. It turned out I
had a pretty good game blocking and I was pleased with that.
Q: Does your performance give you extra confidence going into this
weeks game with Texas?
UTs a giant in the football world. Theyre certainly giants in this
state. But we just want to go into Memorial Stadium and play our game, and play it well.
We have to have the confidence that we can take it to them, give them fits.
Q: Your team got out of the blocks with a solid win against U of H. Now you
win over a pretty good Hawaii team. Are you learning something each week about this team?
Yeah, I think were learning some things about ourselves. Were
learning that our teammates, the guys were playing alongside, are fighters
that were going to fight to the last play. I was really proud of the way we bounced
back against Hawaii. We bounced back we had six fumbles in the game, but only lost
two of them. It took fight to get four of those back. I just feel like our guys know not
to get down on themselves, and stay at it. That speaks volumes about everybody on this
Q: Rice enters the Texas game a 31-point underdog. What does Rice have to
do, to gain respect from the broader audience that follows UT?
Well, to start with, I hope were able to play them a lot better than we
did last year. Last year we had a good game plan coming in, but we got some breaks that
went against us early and it seemed as if it just kind of fell apart. This time around,
our guys have more experience, especially on defense. We know theyre a great team,
but were not intimidated by playing against a team of that caliber. We have to
execute, we have to stay sound.
We just have to play solid defense, first of all. Our defense has been playing
great. I checked the paper, and it said weve got the number one rushing defense in
the country. Those were mostly passing teams, but one UH back had, like, 300 yards rushing
against Army last week. So its phenomenal that the defense has been able to put up
those numbers. It speaks volumes about the character of the defense. Thats a good U
of H team. Hawaii, I know, is going to pass the pass just about every chance they get
but to just shut them down completely in the running game makes them
one-dimensional. Then you can contain them.
Offensively, we need to be sound and know our assignments. We need to make our
blocks, and Im talking about the backs just as much as the line. If we do that, and
just play as hard as we can, things will take care of themselves.
Q: Ed, for most of your career, youve played mostly the role of
blocking back. You havent had that many carries, per game. Now, all of a sudden you
get 37. Do you see yourself playing that role, week in and week out, for the rest of the
Oh, I would love to. But really, its just a matter of doing whatever the
coaches ask me to do. My main job is to help our offense be consistent. Whatever it takes
to do that, is fine with me. If they want me to block the whole game, then Ill
block. If they need me to carry the ball again, then Ill carry the ball.
My junior year I played predominantly at tailback the whole year. Then last year
I played pretty much at the H-back position. I was sort of a utility man.
Theyd line me up at the H. Or theyd put me up in the line as sort
of a stand-up tight end. Id line up wide sometimes, I was a tailback, fullback
everything they needed me to do. That was fine with me. Its good to be
But you always see how those top backs perform, and how well they do. And you
cant help, maybe, comparing yourself to them just a little. Last time I saw Cedric,
he looked pretty decent running the ball against Arkansas. He sure did. Our defense is
going to have to be up to the task. But I think theyll step up.
Q: Have you heard any stories that start, Once upon a time, ten years
ago, Rice beat Texas....?
Yeah, we know all about that. Pretty much, if you go to Rice, thats one of
the games youre going to hear about. It was a great game. Thats what legends
are made out of. Thats the kind of thing that makes you want to play college
'This week is 'Show Time' for us'
'Our confidence level is definitely up. We really believe that we have
a good defense, one of the better defenses that weve had, here, in a while.'
' I believe that we really felt we were going to win, all through the game. At the
end, after they scored, we just got more serious and came out the next time more
' If we really are a good team, and if we really are that good on defense, then
this is the week to prove it'
HOUSTON (Sept. 23) Chad Price is a sophomore defensive back from Bay City
whos been among the mainstays of Rices defensive effort thus far this fall.
The former Class 4A all-state DB from Bay City is Rice's top tackler with 20, including 18
unassisted. In last week's 41-29 win over Hawaii, Chad had 12 solo tackles and 13 overall.
He was on the field for all of Hawaii's offensive plays and also played on the Rice punt
and kickoff cover teams, and return punts. No truth to the rumor that he also took tickets
and sold programs. "Chad Price had a tremendous game, playing on three special teams
and making a lot of plays," Coach Hatfield said of his effort against Hawaii.
"He was all over the field. He wants to play on any special team and he wants to play
the whole game." But now comes Texas, and the effort to be required on part of the
Owl defenders is going to have to ascend to an entirely different, more rarified level, if
the Feathered Flock hopes to bring home a win Saturday. Can they do it? Chad Price thinks
so. He spoke with a couple of reporters after this weeks media luncheon.
Q: What was the feeling you guys in the secondary had about your performance
Defensively, I think we performed well. We accomplished what we came into the game to
do. Our main focus was stopping the yardage after the catch. Timmy Chang is one of the top
quarterbacks in the nation; hes going to complete some balls, every game. The thing
we had to do was to tackle the receivers as soon as the completions were made. And I feel
like, the defense as a whole, completed that goal.
Q: Two games in a row with solid defensive performances....how high is the
confidence going into the Texas game?
Our confidence level is definitely up. We really believe that we
have a good defense, one of the better defenses that weve had, here, in a while. We
believe that, as long as we play together as a team, on defense, that we can play against
Q: The defense has gotten the job done against two teams that arent
particularly known for running the ball. Texas is going to present, in that they are going
to come right at you. Stopping the run has been the strength of the team so far. Do you
feel youll be able to get the job done on the run defense against Texas?
Houston and Hawaii are a lot different than Texas, and I think that theres
definitely going to be a change in how we prepare Texas running attack this week.
Q: Do you believe you can keep Texas receivers boxed in like you did
in the Hawaii game?
Thats what I was meaning. We knew Timmy Chang was a great quarterback; we
knew he was going to complete some passes. So our main goal was to stop them after the
passes were made, to give them as little yardage as possible, every catch. We ran a lot of
man coverages where we tried to stay underneath the routes and try to prevent
over-the-top passes. Our main goal was to prevent that and then also to come up and
make tackles on the short passes.
Q: What do you think a strong defensive performance against Texas could do
for your teams confidence -- and its reputation?
I feel like definitely this week is show time for us. If we really
are a good team, and if we really are that good on defense, then this is the week to prove
it. A strong effort Saturday would give us a little credit, nationally.
Q: In the Hawaii game, when they got ahead, 29-28, it looked that, for the
first time all season, that the defensive secondary guys had gotten their daubers down, at
least a little. But the Coach Farrar went crazy on the sidelines for a couple of minutes,
and the secondary was completely ready to play the next time it stepped onto the field.
I dont if we had our daubers down. I just feel like it may have been
visible that we were a little disappointed in ourselves for letting them score. We
werent necessarily like hanging our heads because we thought we were going to lose
the game. I believe that we really felt we were going to win, all through the game. At the
end, after they scored, we just got more serious and came out the next time more prepared.
Q: Does Barneys enthusiasm make a difference?
Barneys definitely a great motivator definitely.
Q: The first two games, the Rice defensive showed a much more aggressive
style of play than in years before. Can we expect to see that again on Saturday?
We definitely are a lot more intense, as a defense. We play with a lot more
emotion; we play with a lot more aggressiveness, as you said. I just think were a
unit out theyre; were closer than we were in years past. That definitely helps
you play more aggressively as a team you can trust the other person next to you.
Some teams just naturally blend together better than others. This is just that
kind of team.
Q: Did that really start last November, when you began your win streak?
Yeah, I think it did, definitely.
Q: You talked about staying behind the wide receivers. In your mind, what
are some of the things the Rice defensive secondary is going to have to do, to avoid the
big play against Texas? Just fundamentally, what do you think its going to take this
week, to be competitive against a team like Texas?
Definitely stop the run. If we can stop their rushing attack, then their passing
attack is nowhere close to Hawaiis or U of Hs. By that, I mean that
theyre not that type of offense, and their pass protection is not going to be at the
same level. I feel that we faced two great passing attacks, and weve done well
against those. So I feel that, if we can stop the run and force them into the passing
game, then its possible that theyre going to be in trouble.
Q: What kind of challenge is Vincent Young going to present defensively.
He definitely presents an extra challenge. Hes a little more mobile than
Kolb and Timmy Chang. So he definitely presents a greater challenge this week. Were
going to have to stay with our assignments; stay at home on the back side. Were
going to have to play a lot more how can I put it? I dont want to say passively,
but were going to have to be more disciplined and stay closely with our assignments.
Because Vincent Young has the potential to break for the big play, every down.