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owlcarlos Offline
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Post: #1
Offensive Concerns
After watching today's game against Arkansas, I have real concerns about Rice's offense. I am a retired physician and am not a football expert or have any real expertise in football terminology or its intricacies.But after watching today's game, I do have questions concerning the Rice offense. Rice is called "a run oriented offense". Why is if the offense is "run based", the most common play is to run consistently through the middle of the line and make only 1-2 yards on this play-and at most 4 yards. Also, this play seems to occur more than 50% of the time on Rice's first play of offensive scrimmage. It is almost always a wasted play on offense. I have seen this play for the last few years, and I always wonder, "why is this play always being used when it has never been proven to be very effective. Why does Rice continue to use it? After awhile, the opposition knows exactly what is going to occur! I have seen much more creative running plays in football-option plays, trick plays,etc(terminology unknown) where the run goes elsewhere besides the middle of the line. Why can't the coaches become a little more creative and come up with some plays that actually surprise and excite us. This "bullyball" offense needs to become more creative. Rice has a new offensive coordinator and this person needs to create more exciting plays. I do not know the coaches personally, but it seems that they would see that this play really does not work through the middle, but they continue to run it every year, game after game. Also, use McCaffrey as the quarterback after this last game.
09-04-2021 09:33 PM
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Ricefootballnet Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-04-2021 09:33 PM)owlcarlos Wrote:  After watching today's game against Arkansas, I have real concerns about Rice's offense. I am a retired physician and am not a football expert or have any real expertise in football terminology or its intricacies.But after watching today's game, I do have questions concerning the Rice offense. Rice is called "a run oriented offense". Why is if the offense is "run based", the most common play is to run consistently through the middle of the line and make only 1-2 yards on this play-and at most 4 yards. Also, this play seems to occur more than 50% of the time on Rice's first play of offensive scrimmage. It is almost always a wasted play on offense. I have seen this play for the last few years, and I always wonder, "why is this play always being used when it has never been proven to be very effective. Why does Rice continue to use it? After awhile, the opposition knows exactly what is going to occur! I have seen much more creative running plays in football-option plays, trick plays,etc(terminology unknown) where the run goes elsewhere besides the middle of the line. Why can't the coaches become a little more creative and come up with some plays that actually surprise and excite us. This "bullyball" offense needs to become more creative. Rice has a new offensive coordinator and this person needs to create more exciting plays. I do not know the coaches personally, but it seems that they would see that this play really does not work through the middle, but they continue to run it every year, game after game. Also, use McCaffrey as the quarterback after this last game.


Carlos,I’d wager that almost all of the frequent posters on this board — including a number of them who are quite accomplished in their football acumen — would say that your comment very neatly sums up the problem. So why, then, do we keep seeing this same behavior, and thus having the same complaint, game after game, now year after year? I put it to you, as a retired MD, if you continuously treated your patients in a way that produced absolutely no improvement in their condition, over and over again, what kind of a doctor would that make you? Bears in mind the classic definition of “insanity.“ So why do these football coaches continue with these ineffective prescriptions?

No, Carlos, you are spot on….both in what you said, and what you have left unsaid, but clearly implied.
09-04-2021 10:44 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Offensive Concerns
I have a slightly different slant.

Some say our offense is too predictable. I say it's more an execution problem. And I would attribute the execution problem largely to the fact that it requires people to execute things that do not fit well within the skill sets of our athletes.

Army's offense is very predictable. At one point late in their game yesterday, they had run the fullback dive 28 times and the quarterback keeper 28 times, pitched to the halfback 5 times, and thrown the ball 4 times--and had scored 43 points. Their athletes are limited by various recruiting restrictions (sound familiar?), but they execute perfectly, and their system that fits the kinds of athletes that they can recruit.

I think our big problem is that the particular style of running that we have chosen--pound the rock--is ill-suited to the types of athletes that we can recruit to play football. That style requires big, strong offensive lineman who can blow defenders off the line of scrimmage and open big holes, powerful running backs, and strong-armed drop-back quarterbacks. We're actually closer on the running backs than on the other two, and have been for some time. But the offensive linemen and quarterbacks that we need to make this system work are few and far between, and by the time the P5 schools get through recruiting there are few--if any--left for us.

It's the old square pegs in round holes dilemma. Do you change your system to something that your athletes can execute, or do you keep your system until you can recruit athletes to fit it? Most coaches prefer the latter, for whatever reason. Bloomgren obviously fits that mold, with two different offensive coordinators.

What I see is that there are athletes out there who don't fit the profile that we can recruit and win with.
- The HS QB who is a winner, but doesn't fit the mold, so TexasU and aTm and LSU and Oklahoma say, "Come here and we will make you a safety," but he really wants to play QB
- The multi-sport athlete who wants to play football plus his other sport, but the P5s say play football only or else; I think we could carve out a niche as a destination school for such athletes
- The lineman who is quick and athletic enough to play defense, but not the huge behemoth that most offensive lineman have become; Fred liked recruiting d-linemen and converting those who turned out not to be agile enough to play defense at the next level into o-linemen; those types also work well for Hatfield's (and Army's and Navy's) option game

Bloomgren came to Stanford, which has some things in common with Rice, but some significant differences--starting with the fact that it is a relatively successful P5 program, which means it gets to step to the head of the line in recruiting instead of having to pick from leftovers.

As Tomball Owl pointed out on a different thread, our rushing yards per carry under Bloomgren have been, by year:

2018 - 3.8 ypc
2019 - 3.6 ypc
2020 - 2.8 ypc
Yesterday - 2.1 ypc

That is a clear indication that something is not working, and is trending in the wrong direction. The need for change should be obvious.

I think we can run the ball effectively if we
1) choose a running approach, like Hatfield's/Army's/Navy's option, that fits the athletes we can recruit (running QBs, small but athletic o-linemen, and the running backs that we are getting now), and
2) have a passing attack, like Ruowls's approach, that uses intellect and thinking to stress defenders.

I think the key is to do something unconventional that forces defenders to do things that they don't usually do and don't want to do.

As I posted yesterday, an offense that ran the ball 45 times, averaging 5 yards per carry, and threw the ball 30 times, averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, would produce 450 yards total offense. Goals would be 25/30/35--25 first downs, 30 points,35 minutes time of possession.Yesterday we ran the ball 39 times for 81 yards (2.1 yards per attempt) and threw the ball 35 times for 227 yards (6.1 yards per attempt), so 308 yards total offense, and we had 19 first downs, scored 17 points, and had 33:54 time of possession. All in all, not terribly far from those goals. Arguably our passing attack was more effective, but it also produced 3 interceptions, which were probably the difference between at worst a one-possession game, and a 3-TD loss. Had we run the boring dive into the middle of the line on those three plays, we might very well have had a legitimate chance to win at the end.

(Cue WRCisForgotten to point out that Navy got blown out yesterday. But Navy has averaged 7.4 wins per year over the last 10 years, and Army has averaged 7 wins a year since Jeff Monken got there.)
09-05-2021 09:31 AM
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owlcarlos Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-04-2021 10:44 PM)Ricefootballnet Wrote:  
(09-04-2021 09:33 PM)owlcarlos Wrote:  After watching today's game against Arkansas, I have real concerns about Rice's offense. I am a retired physician and am not a football expert or have any real expertise in football terminology or its intricacies.But after watching today's game, I do have questions concerning the Rice offense. Rice is called "a run oriented offense". Why is if the offense is "run based", the most common play is to run consistently through the middle of the line and make only 1-2 yards on this play-and at most 4 yards. Also, this play seems to occur more than 50% of the time on Rice's first play of offensive scrimmage. It is almost always a wasted play on offense. I have seen this play for the last few years, and I always wonder, "why is this play always being used when it has never been proven to be very effective. Why does Rice continue to use it? After awhile, the opposition knows exactly what is going to occur! I have seen much more creative running plays in football-option plays, trick plays,etc(terminology unknown) where the run goes elsewhere besides the middle of the line. Why can't the coaches become a little more creative and come up with some plays that actually surprise and excite us. This "bullyball" offense needs to become more creative. Rice has a new offensive coordinator and this person needs to create more exciting plays. I do not know the coaches personally, but it seems that they would see that this play really does not work through the middle, but they continue to run it every year, game after game. Also, use McCaffrey as the quarterback after this last game.


Carlos,I’d wager that almost all of the frequent posters on this board — including a number of them who are quite accomplished in their football acumen — would say that your comment very neatly sums up the problem. So why, then, do we keep seeing this same behavior, and thus having the same complaint, game after game, now year after year? I put it to you, as a retired MD, if you continuously treated your patients in a way that produced absolutely no improvement in their condition, over and over again, what kind of a doctor would that make you? Bears in mind the classic definition of “insanity.“ So why do these football coaches continue with these ineffective prescriptions?

No, Carlos, you are spot on….both in what you said, and what you have left unsaid, but clearly implied.
In addition to Rice offensive minds! This new offensive coordinator should create/invent some new running plays that better utilize the specific abilities of certain individuals on the team. Rice's opponents already know that Rice will run through the line 75% of the time. Just create/invent some new running plays that completely surprise your opponents and spectators. Make Rice spectators say," Did that play actually occur?" These are Rice student-athletes. They learn quickly! Teach them something new and exciting! You can still use the Pro Style Offense, but add some quirks or additions to it. Be a little more creative. Surprise some people!! Luke McCaffrey is supposed to be such a dynamic, athletic quarterback with great running ability. In this last game, I only saw one running play where he ran the ball. Use his running ability. Invent or create some plays to use his running ability. Coaching, in many cases, is just common sense. Use your common sense! Create your offense based on the talent that you have! BE MORE CREATIVE AND NOT STUCK IN A RUT!
09-05-2021 09:39 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 09:39 AM)owlcarlos Wrote:  This new offensive coordinator should create/invent some new running plays that better utilize the specific abilities of certain individuals on the team. Rice's opponents already know that Rice will run through the line 75% of the time. Just create/invent some new running plays that completely surprise your opponents and spectators.

Rather than just a new play or few, I would argue that we need a schematic change to focus more on what the players we have can do, rather than what the players we wish we had might do.

Stanford is like Rice in that you are dealing mostly with true student-athletes, but it is very different in that they recruit to a P5 profile while we do not. We have to recruit from what is left over after the P5s take their picks. We can still win with what's left, particularly against fellow CUSA schools that are in the same boat, but not with a scheme designed for the athletes that Stanford can recruit.
09-05-2021 11:00 AM
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ExcitedOwl18 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Offensive Concerns
Also worth pointing out that Stanford has lost its edge and is looking at another losing season.

The “Stanford model” isn’t working at Stanford.
09-05-2021 11:21 AM
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WRCisforgotten79 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 09:31 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  (Cue WRCisForgotten to point out that Navy got blown out yesterday. But Navy has averaged 7.4 wins per year over the last 10 years, and Army has averaged 7 wins a year since Jeff Monken got there.)

Right, but Army's schedule annually is filled with FCS opponents, thus greatly inflating their win totals. That's one reason for their not wanting to join a conference - it definitely would cut down on their number of wins.

Navy's schedule is quite reasonable.
09-05-2021 11:22 AM
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WRCisforgotten79 Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Offensive Concerns
After thinking about that moronic "pound the rock" attempt on 4th and 1, I reviewed Presbyterian's first game yesterday:

Presbyterian 84, St. Andrews (NAIA) 43

* No punts
* Went for 2 about half of the PATs
* QBs a combined 47-61 for 621 yards.
* 12 TDs and 0 interceptions

Kevin Kelley, the great Arkansas high school coach, is in his first season.
(This post was last modified: 09-05-2021 11:41 AM by WRCisforgotten79.)
09-05-2021 11:40 AM
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Post: #9
RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 11:22 AM)WRCisforgotten79 Wrote:  
(09-05-2021 09:31 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  (Cue WRCisForgotten to point out that Navy got blown out yesterday. But Navy has averaged 7.4 wins per year over the last 10 years, and Army has averaged 7 wins a year since Jeff Monken got there.)

Right, but Army's schedule annually is filled with FCS opponents, thus greatly inflating their win totals. That's one reason for their not wanting to join a conference - it definitely would cut down on their number of wins.

Navy's schedule is quite reasonable.

Many point Navy out as a gold standard. Yesterday, Marshall pummeled Navy 49-7 with the only Navy score coming early in the 4th quarter. Yes, they owned time of possession 41 mins to 19 mins, but that didn't convert to offensive production or scoring wins. Navy has struggled over the past few years as well.
09-05-2021 11:44 AM
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75src Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Offensive Concerns
An assistant at the local high school told me it is not really the various schemes that are important but getting the players to execute the schemes. The players are more important than the schemes.

(09-05-2021 11:00 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(09-05-2021 09:39 AM)owlcarlos Wrote:  This new offensive coordinator should create/invent some new running plays that better utilize the specific abilities of certain individuals on the team. Rice's opponents already know that Rice will run through the line 75% of the time. Just create/invent some new running plays that completely surprise your opponents and spectators.

Rather than just a new play or few, I would argue that we need a schematic change to focus more on what the players we have can do, rather than what the players we wish we had might do.

Stanford is like Rice in that you are dealing mostly with true student-athletes, but it is very different in that they recruit to a P5 profile while we do not. We have to recruit from what is left over after the P5s take their picks. We can still win with what's left, particularly against fellow CUSA schools that are in the same boat, but not with a scheme designed for the athletes that Stanford can recruit.
09-05-2021 12:07 PM
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owl40 Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Offensive Concerns
The football field is 40 yards wide and 100 yards long. Trying to win between a very narrow horizontal and vertical box only works when your dudes are better than other team.

Stanford model (NFL model) works in the NFL b/c you have NFL dudes on both sides of ball. Thus, establishing a hard-nose culture can work and many examples of it working. It occasionally worked at Stanford when you had P5 NFL guys like Luck, Love, Fleener, etc. We are seeing that when you don't have that talent, Stanford can't even beat K-State and likely to have another year of < .500 performance.

So bringing that philosophy to Rice is a fool's errand. Rice does not have NFL talent or even P5 talent. So lining-up and imposing your will won't work. Saw it last two-years, saw it yesterday, will see it again next week against Houston, and following week against Texas. However, it will work great against TSU but that is not the goal. Jury is out for rest of C-USA but again, that is not the goal either.

Every G5 program that has had success against P5 has a way to spread others out to leverage space as an advantage. We can talk about pros/cons of Service Academies, Boise, UCF, Memphis, Hawaii, SMU, etc, offensive schemes but the common denominator is NOT running a pro-style manhood between the tackles attack. There are zero examples of that working where G5 beats P5 for a reason.

I don't actually blame Bloom for that. He is a true football guy but a square peg in a round hole at Rice. He needs to be in the NFL calling plays, not a struggling P5 program looking for relevance. Bloom's rolodex is broad/deep and he will easily find a path out to a nice NFL/P5 gig but Rice will be even deeper into irrelevance as a result of choosing a path that was doomed to fail from the start.

The guy who hired him made the real mistake here, not Bloom and time will show that.
09-05-2021 12:27 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 11:22 AM)WRCisforgotten79 Wrote:  Right, but Army's schedule annually is filled with FCS opponents, thus greatly inflating their win totals. That's one reason for their not wanting to join a conference - it definitely would cut down on their number of wins.

Let's see by year, in the Monken era:

2021-Bucknell, UMass
2020-Abilene Christian, The Citadel, Mercer
2019-UMass, Morgan State, VMI
2018-Lafayette, Colgate
2017-Fordham
2016-Lafayette, Morgan State
2015-Fordham, Bucknell
2014-Yale, Fordham

They have also played at least one major FBS team virtually every year, including Oklahoma (took to overtime), Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And they've played in 4 bowls, winning 3 of them.

Arguably, they've played tougher schedules than Rice. And Navy has clearly played tougher schedules than Rice.

Quote:Many point Navy out as a gold standard. Yesterday, Marshall pummeled Navy 49-7 with the only Navy score coming early in the 4th quarter.

I don't know about a gold standard. I think of Alabama or Clemson or Ohio State or Oklahoma as more of a gold standard. And Oklahoma barely squeaked by Tulane and Clemson scored all of 3 points yesterday. But Navy has been a pretty good representative of what is possible for a G5 program with severe recruiting limitations.

Yesterday was not a great result for Navy, obviously. But Marshall is pretty good for a non-P5, and one game is a fairly small data point. Looking at 5-year or longer time frames is more meaningful.

Navy's last 5 years, in reverse chronological order, have been 3-7, 11-2, 3-10, 7-6, 9-5. Compared to Rice 2-3, 3-9, 2-11, 1-11, 3-9. So, 33-30 versus 11-43, and Navy's fewest wins in a season (3) equals Rice's most. I know which one of those I would take.

Admittedly, the triple option is a bad offense for coming back from 7-49 in the fourth quarter. But so is every other offense.

I think most Rice fans would be ecstatic to have had Navy's or Army's results over the last 5-7 years.
(This post was last modified: 09-05-2021 12:47 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
09-05-2021 12:41 PM
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RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 12:07 PM)75src Wrote:  An assistant at the local high school told me it is not really the various schemes that are important but getting the players to execute the schemes. The players are more important than the schemes.

And the closer your scheme fits the players' skill sets, the easier it is for them to execute.
09-05-2021 12:44 PM
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RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 12:27 PM)owl40 Wrote:  The football field is 40 yards wide and 100 yards long.

It's actually 53 yards wide, but everything else you say is spot on.
09-05-2021 12:46 PM
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RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 12:27 PM)owl40 Wrote:  The football field is 40 yards wide and 100 yards long. Trying to win between a very narrow horizontal and vertical box only works when your dudes are better than other team.

Stanford model (NFL model) works in the NFL b/c you have NFL dudes on both sides of ball. Thus, establishing a hard-nose culture can work and many examples of it working. It occasionally worked at Stanford when you had P5 NFL guys like Luck, Love, Fleener, etc. We are seeing that when you don't have that talent, Stanford can't even beat K-State and likely to have another year of < .500 performance.

So bringing that philosophy to Rice is a fool's errand. Rice does not have NFL talent or even P5 talent. So lining-up and imposing your will won't work. Saw it last two-years, saw it yesterday, will see it again next week against Houston, and following week against Texas. However, it will work great against TSU but that is not the goal. Jury is out for rest of C-USA but again, that is not the goal either.

Every G5 program that has had success against P5 has a way to spread others out to leverage space as an advantage. We can talk about pros/cons of Service Academies, Boise, UCF, Memphis, Hawaii, SMU, etc, offensive schemes but the common denominator is NOT running a pro-style manhood between the tackles attack. There are zero examples of that working where G5 beats P5 for a reason.

I don't actually blame Bloom for that. He is a true football guy but a square peg in a round hole at Rice. He needs to be in the NFL calling plays, not a struggling P5 program looking for relevance. Bloom's rolodex is broad/deep and he will easily find a path out to a nice NFL/P5 gig but Rice will be even deeper into irrelevance as a result of choosing a path that was doomed to fail from the start.

The guy who hired him made the real mistake here, not Bloom and time will show that.


Hard to believe when he's handled all other coaching matters so perfectly.
09-05-2021 01:58 PM
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Post: #16
RE: Offensive Concerns
The play calling by Bloom is puzzling. Changing out quarterbacks every two plays did not make sense. We should have had an additional 10 points or maybe even 17. We missed an easy field goal and had some questionabls play calling in the red zone. I wonder if McCaffry got hurt?
(This post was last modified: 09-05-2021 02:12 PM by Texasowl.)
09-05-2021 02:11 PM
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Post: #17
RE: Offensive Concerns
So far Bloomgren’s greatest failure is not the offensive philosophy that he brought to Rice, but rather his hard-headed adherence to that offensive philosophy when it has become blatantly obvious to casual observers that it has not and likely cannot work at Rice. He seems to have hired some good coordinators and assistants. He seems to run a clean program that has at least average focus/execution. He seems like a decent recruiter. But all those positives will be swallowed up by his offensive philosophy if he remains unwilling to change.
09-05-2021 02:34 PM
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RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 02:34 PM)mrbig Wrote:  So far Bloomgren’s greatest failure is not the offensive philosophy that he brought to Rice, but rather his hard-headed adherence to that offensive philosophy when it has become blatantly obvious to casual observers that it has not and likely cannot work at Rice. He seems to have hired some good coordinators and assistants. He seems to run a clean program that has at least average focus/execution. He seems like a decent recruiter. But all those positives will be swallowed up by his offensive philosophy if he remains unwilling to change.

+1.
That's what was so frustrating about the Arkansas game. We actually seem to have some talent and depth for once!, but the offense is just awful
09-05-2021 08:46 PM
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RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 09:59 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  Today I heard from someone with connections to the Louisville program that the word from Louisville is that McCaffrey is the new Fanuzzi--doesn't want to put the work in, thinks he should just show up and get to play on inherent ability. According to this rumor, Bloomgren took him as a favor to his dad. It's a rumor, and I have no way to validate any of that.

If that is true (and again, I have no way to verify it), then I say it's time to go with JoVani and an offense designed for a running QB.

Then why post it? Seriously. All you're doing in slandering McCaffrey based on what you admit is just a ideal rumor from a Louisville fan (who could be looking for an excuse as to why McCaffrey left Louisville).
09-05-2021 10:28 PM
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Post: #20
RE: Offensive Concerns
(09-05-2021 10:28 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  
(09-05-2021 09:59 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  Today I heard from someone with connections to the Louisville program that the word from Louisville is that McCaffrey is the new Fanuzzi--doesn't want to put the work in, thinks he should just show up and get to play on inherent ability. According to this rumor, Bloomgren took him as a favor to his dad. It's a rumor, and I have no way to validate any of that.

If that is true (and again, I have no way to verify it), then I say it's time to go with JoVani and an offense designed for a running QB.

Then why post it? Seriously. All you're doing in slandering McCaffrey based on what you admit is just a ideal rumor from a Louisville fan (who could be looking for an excuse as to why McCaffrey left Louisville).

Agreed.

Also- is that true about Fanuzzi?? I thought he did a pretty good job for us. Would love to have him now.
(This post was last modified: 09-05-2021 10:42 PM by Middle Ages.)
09-05-2021 10:39 PM
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