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Countdown to Kickoff '16 Daily Report August 28

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7:15-8:45 p.m. 

Shoulder pads and helmets

Days to Kickoff: 4

In Brief: Prime time practice on Sunday as the Owls went through their paces under the lights at roughly the same time they'll be kicking off on Thursday night in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Quote of the Day:

Wide Receiver Nate German: "Spring practice was definitely a long period (German was recovering from an injury at the end of the 2015 season). It was about getting mental reps, but in some ways I think it helped me because I was able to step back and really focus on getting healthy for this season. It turned out to be pretty beneficial for me. I've been trying to push myself in camp.  I missed the spring and some of the summer so I wasn't able to work out with the team. I felt like I was a little out of shape coming into camp. I wanted to make sure I didn't push myself too much, but I feel now like I'm getting my legs back. It feels good and I'm excited. I'm sure a lot of other players have said the same thing, but I think we had a really good camp. I truly mean that. A lot of players stepped up that needed to and the returning players have shown a lot of leadership and showed how it needs to be done. We stayed healthy for the most part.  Now it's just time to translate that (the camp performance) into a game."

 Up Next:  Game week routine ramps up to full speed on Monday with the first weekly press luncheon and the first David Bailiff Radio Show on Monday night.    

Countdown to Kickoff '16 Daily Report August 27

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8:00-10:00 a.m. 

Full Pads

Days to Kickoff: 5

In Brief: Owls were up early and on the field at 8 a.m. on Saturday in an effort by head coach David Bailiff to get in a quality work day and avoid the heat and humidity of later in the day and also to give the team an extended recovery period before they return to practice on Sunday night when they will drill under the lights in preparation for Thursday's 7 p.m. kickoff at Western Kentucky.  

School Ties: With the start of high school football this weekend, a new crop of freshmen experienced their first weekend of being interested alumni of their former teams.  It's likely none of them anticipated Friday's opener more than wide receiver Kaylen Granson, who helped lead Austin Westlake to a state title last December. After Friday's workout at Rice Stadium, Granson was quick to jump on a phone app to follow the action as Westlake defeated Katy 32-29.  "I had my little Chap App on and was cheering the entire time," Granson said. "It's definitely a little weird to be listening to your high school team playing someone and you're not there. You kind of re-imagine your last season, it really hits you with a feeling of nostalgia.  When you are playing the best team in the state, I think (Westlake) came out with something to prove and say 'we're another playoff team, we may have graduated a lot of people, but we are here to make our mark' and they sure as heck did.  I was talking Austin (Williams) and giving it to him because Lake Travis (where Williams had played) is our old-time rival and they lost to Katy but we beat them. We're not too serious about it, but we have a lot of fun with it.

 Quotes of the Day:

Free Safety J.T. Ibe: "I feel good and think I've had a good camp.  As a team we look even better.  I didn't play in the spring, so this is the first time I've really had a chance to see a lot of what we were doing (from the field). Our defense is flying to the ball. (sitting out in the spring) I don't; think practice every becomes less of a grind, but you definitely learn to appreciate (practice) more. Football is a lot more than the physical part and being away I was still able to keep up mentally. I think the entire team has grown so much going through a spring and through this camp. Coach (Thurmond) talks about trust. Playing defense--and offense too--is all about trusting your brother next to you that he will be in his gap. When you trust your teammates and understanding the defense, that's the whole point.  You can play so much faster when you understand the system. (on game week and any change in the locker room) For me personally, I come out to every practice like it's game day. I'm going to go hard and play fast and I think the rest of our team does that too.   "

 Up Next:  The team will get an extended break for recovery on Saturday and during the day on Sunday before returning to the field on Sunday night in order to get a practice under the lights, starting 7 p.m. in order to mirror kickoff time on Thursday.   

Countdown to Kickoff Daily Report August 26

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Mock Game

6:30-8 p.m. Rice Stadium

Days to Kickoff 5

 In Brief:  The Owls held their mock game tonight, where they went over every possible scenario.

 Quote of the Day:

Kicker/Punter Jack Fox: "I feel good. I'm just trying to stay positive and keep my head up. I'm trying to keep my head up during the season and power through some of those punts. Last year, just having some field goals and kickoffs, that helped me get used to kick in a stadium. It was nice to get in front of a stadium and in front of people. I didn't always do great either so that helped me moving forward and to work through adversity. James (Farrimond) took me under his wing and showed me how to do it the right way.

 Quote of the Day II:

Head Coach David Bailiff: "(The mock game) is (important). We script the entire thing out. Every special team goes through it. Every punt after a safety (and) kick after a safety; we make sure we come off the sidelines the right way. We need to eliminate any of the errors (like) procedure (and) some of the silly things that can get you caught. You have to continue to improve every day in the fundamentals and techniques of the game. We want to keep improving as a team, but we've had a tremendous camp. These young men have showed up every day working hard to get back to our winning ways and to a bowl game."

 Up Next:  The Owls will be on the practice field at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Countdown to Kickoff '16 Daily Report August 24

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4:00-6:00 p.m. 

Days to Kickoff: 7

In Brief: Practice started under cover as lightning in the area kept them off the field for the first 45 minutes on the schedule before they were cleared to step on the grass practice field.  Once cleared they were able to complete the bulk of the day's work.   

 Quotes of the Day:

Defensive End Brian Womac: "I think we had a really great camp. Everyone was really focused and it was there from the beginning of camp. We have high hopes for this year and holding ourselves to a higher expectation. That's something that coach (Ryan) Tedford really instilled in us during the summer. I'm holding myself to that expectation and we are holding each other to those expectations. It's been all about unit goals rather than personal goals heading into this year. The D-Line did some good work over the summer in the weight room and on the field with Coach Tedford. I think we accomplished everything we wanted to before the season. We had a lot of young interior linemen last year and event the guys at end were pretty young. Apparently last year at one time we were playing more freshmen than anyone in the country. All those freshmen are a year older and they are that much better.  The incoming freshmen give us added depth and our numbers are pretty good on defense. I really feel like we've come together nicely in came and we're really playing well in camp and I'm curious to see how we will play together when we play Western Kentucky. I have high hopes."

 Up Next:  The Owls will be on the practice field from 4-5:30 on Thursday, while the sounds of an actual football game will be coming from the turf at Rice Stadium next door as Rosehill Christian School hosts Northside Christian.  

Countdown to Kickoff '16 Daily Report August 23

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Helmets, shorts and Shoulder pads

4:00-6:00 p.m. 

Days to Kickoff: 8

In Brief: The Owls returned to the practice field on Tuesday after a film day on Monday as the team began classes. Thanks to a break in the rain pattern, they were also able to return to the grass practice field for the first time in over a week. With the countdown to the season-opener at Western Kentucky moving to single digits, the Owls saw their first work against the scout teams who ran WKU's offensive and defensive schemes.  If any of the players who were assigned to the scout team had any questions about their future prospects, those were quickly answered at the end of practice when senior Zach Wright, who spent two years portraying opposing receivers, joined with 2015 returning captain Alex Lyons as being selected by their teammates as captains for the 2016 season.   Two additional captains will be named at the conclusion of the season.  

 Quotes of the Day:

Wide Receiver Zach Wright: "I usually have a pretty good answer for most things, but this (being named captain) really took me back. I think the world of those guys., they're my best friends, my brothers, I've grown up with a lot of them and for them to vote me as a captain, it's hard to put words out there that explain that feeling. It's probably the greatest honor I've had. I'd like to think I've had some pretty cool stuff happen to me, but this tops it all. Honestly, I look up to those guys, they push me every day. Every one of them works so hard. They may not know it, but they are leading me every single day because I have to try to push harder than they do. I really excited and extremely honored. It's definitely been a journey (from being a walk-on in a metal locker at the back of the old locker room). There's been some ups and downs. I started out as a freshman walk-on on scout for a second year. I can tell them I was on the scout team for two years, Tyler Stehling was a scout for two years, it's all about your mindset. Yes, you have to put on a powder blue jersey, but when I did, I had to gup up against Phillip Gaines and Bryce Callahan--two NFL cornerbacks every single day when I was a young guy and that is what got me better.  The pushed me to get to the point where I have gotten now. It helps me when I tell these young guys it's all about your mindset and if I can do it, Tyler can do it, Darik Dillard can do it, then you can do it.  Just embrace the chance to come out each day and go against the best competition."

 Up Next:  Back on the field from 4-5:30 on Wednesday and following practice, the coaching staff will make the quick change and head downtown to St. Arnold Brewery for the annual Football Fall Reception from 7-9 p.m.  

Training Camp '16 Daily Report August 20

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Pactice #18

Full pads

7:30-10:00 a.m. 

Days to Kickoff: 12

Special Guest: Sam Khan of ESPN.com

Current Owls Birthdays: None

Former Owls Birthdays: Former DB and WR in addition to SWC indoor high jump champion Nigel Codrington (1987-90).   

 In Brief: Final morning practice of Training Camp '16 kicked off a busy day at Rice Stadium for the Owls. Two hours of solid work on the field followed by a new closing ceremonies event for O-Week.  Tonight, the Owls will host their annual International Students Clinic.  

 Quotes of the Day:

Defensive Lineman Blain Padgett: "Last year, I had just come from (playing) linebacker in high school so I wasn't able to enjoy the position (defensive end). I was thinking too much. I was very mechanical. I had the strength, I had the size, I had the mental preparation, but I didn't have the technique. This year, I've been working really hard. Just looking back at my pass rush from then to now, I think I accomplished the goals I had set. I still have a lot of work to do, but I see a lot of results that I am happy about. Last year, I was very disappointed in myself. But after the first couple weeks of spring (practice), I started seeing results immediately and that's when I knew Coach (Frank) Okam is the real deal and he is going to get me right. I can't wait to see what I've got to come for the next three years. When he (Okam) comes into the meeting room, every single one of us gets quiet and says 'yes sir'. We know whenever he tells us something, it's right. We don't question it. We know if we put that technique and that effort on the field, then we are going to be successful."

 Up Next:  Off day as the Owls prep for the start of classes on Monday, which also signals the start of the practice routine now through the end of the season 

Training Camp '16 Daily Report August 19

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Practice #17

Helmets, shoulder pads & shorts

9:30-11:00 a.m. 

Days to Kickoff: 13

Current Owls Birthdays: None

Former Owls Birthdays: Gerald Simila, who lettered as a rover in 1970 and Victor Brooks, who lettered from 2006-08 and played in two bowls at defensive end.   

 In Brief: Some days, Houston lives up to its legend in terms of humidity and today was one of them. A week's worth of rains drove them to the turf at Rice Stadium on day when they were also without the coverage of an earlier start time.  Special shout out to Dan Gotera from KHOU-TV in Houston for dropping by to grab interviews with Coach Bailiff and Darik Dillard, the later for a feature on their Sunday night sports show about Dillard's internships the past two summers and his dream of his ultimate career.  

 Quotes of the Day:

Wide Receiver James Mayden: "(on the changes he made in the offseason) It's definitely been about putting this team first. A lot of last year seemed to be more of about the individual, but this year I've been focusing on what the team needs instead of the stats. I put the stats aside and worked on being a better teammate first and getting the things done that they wanted me to do. It's definitely made all the difference. I watched a lot of film of myself and broke it down. I saw a lot of tendencies that I liked to do. I worked a lot with a trainer at home and they broke a lot of those things down and added some new tools to my game.  It's paying off and I'm making corners fall left and right. Coach Lynch doesn't overdo the praise, because if he did, it wouldn't really help you. The constructive criticism is a great coaching point for us.  There's a lot of competition in the (receivers') room, but it's also full of positivity It's always great to see the receivers are building each other up. We're always happy to see each other succeed."  

 Up Next:  Busy day on Saturday kicks off with a final early morning practice, a second practice late in the afternoon and then after dinner, the latest installment of annual favorite event, the International Students Clinic.

Here are a few of the great video recaps that Brandon Martin from Rice Public Affairs has produced over the years:







Training Camp '16 Daily Report August 18

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Practice #14

Full pads

7:30-9:45 a.m. 

Days to Kickoff: 14

Current Owls Birthdays: None

Former Owls Birthdays: All SWC guard Leo Rucka, who lettered from 1951-53, Donald Gee, an end and letterman in 1955, George Alexander, who earned three letters at end from 1965-67 and Ron Holiday, an end who lettered for the Owls in 1965.   

 In Brief: With two weeks to go before the 2016 season opens at Western Kentucky, the Owls held their second and final full scrimmage of training camp at Rice stadium. After dodging rain for the last several days, the Owls were able to complete all their work, then enjoyed the heavy showers that rolled through during lunch from the safety of the Patterson Center.

Scoring Plays: Individual stats from today's scrimmage are not available, but here are the scoring plays:

Tyler Stehling to Zach Wright 22-yard TD

Stehling to Z. Wright 12-yard TD

Nahshon Ellerbe 12-yd run

Nahshon Elleber 7-yd run

 Photo Gallery: http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/rice/view.gal?id=196162                 

Highlights: https://youtu.be/GIvGOEtwSOk                                                        

After: The scrimmage was officiated by a crew from Conference USA and afterwards, the officials reviewed various rule changes for the upcoming season as well as cleared up any questions on existing rules.    

 Quotes of the Day:

Head Coach David Bailiff: (General comments on scrimmage are on the highlight video above) "There are some freshmen who are on the two-deep. They're not ready to start but there's some guys who can help us this year with depth. I'd love to redshirt everybody but (I'm) not sure we will be able to do that this year. Joseph Dill is one in the offensive line. He's 6-6, 360 and is athletic.  He's very instinctual about the game and is somebody who could get in the rotation. D'Angelo (Evans), he's one where nothing about him says 'freshman' about D. There are about five of them we are looking at. We're going to meet with them after we grade this video and talk to the freshmen class about what we see their role are.

Linebacker Emanuel Ellerbee: "'I'm trying to be the best guy I can be to help out all of my teammates around me. Alex Lyons is a guy who has been here for the longest amount of time. Raising my level of play to match him is something I have always shot for. So now I have become the mature guy and I am looking at guys who are freshmen who are in my same shoes, trying to make the bus. It's kind of a different role, to get them to learn the defense and start the maturing process. (on taking over as the starter after Tabari McGaskey moved to safety) It was a boost of confidence, but it also gives me a level of expectations I need to reach because we have a competitive nature between Alex, Tabari and myself. We're always trying to be the best we can be. Those guys are like my big brothers, so for me to be able to play on the field with them, I'm honored. I've looked up to them since I have been here, so now it's like it's time for me to stop being the little brother, but come and join the big ranks."  

 Up Next:  With the freshmen going through registration and picking up their books first thing in the morning, Friday's practice slides back to start at 9:30.  

Training Camp '16 Daily Report August 17

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Practices #13

Shoulder pads & Shorts

8:15-10:30 a.m. 

Days to Kickoff: 15

Current Owls Birthdays: Aston and Austin Walter (20)

Former Owls Birthdays: Bruce Gadd, three-year letterman quarterback (1970-72) and Jason Hebert, four-year letterman (1999-02) and a three-time All WAC defensive back who still ranks seventh at Rice in career tackles (300) and interceptions (10).   

 In Brief: Weather delayed the start of Wednesday's practice by approximately 45 minutes as the new sod both inside the stadium and outside the Patterson Center continues to get a good soaking.   

 Heads Up: If you have been a fan of The Morning Stretch, be sure to tune in on Periscope tomorrow morning for details on a special exclusive offer for our loyal viewers.   If you haven't been a viewer up to now, what better reason do you have for tuning in?

 Quote of the Day:

Offensive Tackle Sam Pierce: "The biggest difference for me in this camp has been mentally.  I try to come prepared for each practice and I'm thinking about it 24 hours a day.  Last year in camp it was great being behind Caleb (Williams) who was an awesome player and kind of a mentor to me and Calvin (Anderson). Going into game weeks as a two (second team) last year was kind of a funny feeling because you know that you are one play away from going in. It was a big difference mentally when I was going to start those games at the end when Caleb was banged up.  I feel more confident knowing that I am the starter, knowing that I am the guy, knowing that you are going to go in ready to do what you have to do and what you are here to do. Stepping into a starting role, you definitely feel a little more pressure, but it's a good type of pressure. It forces you to focus in on things more. It's really a role reversal for me. I'm stepping into the role that Caleb had last year and Matt (Terrill) is in the spot I was in.  He is having an awesome camp and I am just trying to remind him that you never know what is going to happen.  He's been having a great camp getting ready to be the guy if that time comes."  

 Up Next:  The second scrimmage of camp is set for Thursday morning. 

Training Camp '16 Daily Report August 15-16

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 Practices #11 & 12

Full pads

7:30-9:15 a.m. (Tuesday)

Days to Kickoff: 16

Current Owls Birthdays: none

Former Owls Birthdays: (August 16) Former All-SWC guard and four-year letterman (1992-95) Chris Cooley. (August 15) Former end and two-year letterman Howard Ayers (1963-64) and former offensive lineman Joe L. Davis (1997, 99-00).   

 In Brief:  Technical issue caused rendered us unable to deliver a report on Monday, thus to multiple birthdays listed above.  Tuesday saw a return to the morning practice schedule which will remain in place for the remainder of O-Week.  Tuesday also saw a continuation of the recent weather pattern, forcing the Owls on to the turf at Rice Stadium and then forcing a premature end to drills in the 16th period because of lightning.  

 Anniversary of the Day:  Two years ago today, David Bailiff and the Owls accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge from the parents of O.J. Brigance: https://youtu.be/fA8zxSn8kdw?list=PLWCcM2etYHnglZCHAyV44nnW7WfL9apfv

 Quotes of the Day:

Running Back Jowan Davis: (after Monday's practice)"It was pretty good to get out there on Saturday and feel the real contact again. It's one thing during camp to be smart (about contact), but taking someone to the ground is real football. It was great to be doing the one thing I've wanted to do my whole life which is to play college football at the highest level. We were having fun.  We didn't start the way we wanted to as an offense (during Red Zone period), but we picked it up and had great tempo.  We were making plays left and right and feel like we came out on top.  We had a bit of a rough one today, but every other day I feel like we've gotten better with each practice. I like the feeling we have this year.  It's so much different than last year. Even when we are not at practice, everybody is together, laughing and joking around.  We had some of that last year, but this year feels like everybody is on the same page. It's not just one group that is leading. You see a lot of the younger guys coaching each other up."

Defensive End Graysen Schantz : (after Tuesday's practice) "I'm excited to be back out there with the team, playing fast, playing hard.  I ready for the season. You can't really think about that stuff (pacing yourself because of past injury). If you get hurt, you get hurt, but you have to play fast. The guys did well last year with what they had.  They didn't have much experience, but now that everybody has a year under their belt, we're ready to get after them this year and really start putting the pressure on. I wish I could have been with them last year but that's in the past now and we have to move forward.  I try to be a role model for the younger guys and someone to model their game after. I try to work hard and lead by example."

 Up Next:  O-Week activities come to Tudor Fieldhouse on Tuesday Night with the Rice Rally.   





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