Opening Day--Shooting for 7:05 first pitch

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openingdayrain.JPGLooks like we will have to wait a little longer to start the 2012 season....


The tarp is off the field, we are getting ready for a 7:05 first pitch

Happy Opening Day

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2012 opening day 1blog.jpg

The final touches to Reckling Park are being applied in advance to the first pitch of the 2012 baseball season at Reckling Park. First pitch set for 4:30 for Rice vs. FIU.  Come celebrate former Owl Kenny Baugh's induction into the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame during pregame ceremonies and then settle in for the first game of the season.


Owls Hoops Coach Previews the Tulane and SMU Games

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The Rice women's basketball team plays two games on the road this week. The Owls are at Tulane on Thursday (Feb. 16) for a 7 p.m. start. Rice then plays at SMU on Sunday (Feb. 19) at noon. The SMU contest will be televised by FSN.
Head coach Greg Williams previews the Tulane and SMU games.

Brianna Hypolite scored a team-high 19 points and freshman Nakachi Maduka registered career-highs in scoring and rebounding with 13 points and 10 boards to lead the Rice Owls to a 55-48 victory over Tulsa on Sunday afternoon inside Tudor Fieldhouse. Below is the post-game press conference:

2011 Rice Volleyball Highlight Video

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Here is the 2011 Rice Owls Volleyball highlight video that was created by Daniel Kole and shown Thursday evening (Feb. 9) at the end of the volleyball awards banquet.

Coach Jim Bevan Updates Women's Indoor Track&Field

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Rice women's track and field coach Jim Bevan updates his team's status as well previews Saturday's stiff competition at the Texas A&M Invitational.

Jon Warren Comments on Rice Men's Indoor Track&Field

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Rice men's track and field coach Jon Warren comments on his indoor track and field team and previews Saturday's action at the tough Texas A&M Invitational.

Rice head women's basketball coach Greg Williams previews Sunday's home contest vs. Tulsa (2 p.m.) as well as the stretch run as the Conference USA season winds down with six games remaining.

Martens and Solomon Bound For Indy

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MVP8-NFL-Combine-logo-300x287.jpgImagine you have a chance to interview for the top companies in your chosen field, but that interview will take place over several days and rather that take place behind closed doors, it's held on the same field as the Super Bowl and televised nationally.


Former Rice All-America punter Kyle Martens and former All C-USA defensive end Scott Solomon will have just that chance, having formally invited to participate in the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, which will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana from February 22-28.


This is the third time in the last four years the Owls have been represented at the Combine.  James Casey and Jarett Dillard participated in the 2009 Combine and both were taken in the fifth round of that year's draft.  Cheta Ozougwu participated last year and was taken by the Houston Texans with the final pick last April.


Over 300 players have been invited to this year's gathering of the top college draft prospects. The players will undergo audition and interview with executives, coaching staffs, player personnel departments and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams.


Their first two days are comprised of orientations, meetings with the NFL Players Association, physicals and other medical examinations and psychological testing.  The final day is when the bulk of the physical testing takes place.


Combine Schedule


Martens is one of 11 kickers who will participate, while Solomon will be in a group of 59 linemen.  Martens will be in the first grouping of prospects to be tested, arriving on Wednesday, February 22 and departing on Saturday.  The specialized testing for kickers and punters will take place on Friday, February 24. Solomon and the other defensive line candidates will arrive on Friday, February 24 and departing on Monday.  The bulk of their televised performance testing will take place on Monday, February 27.


Participants are determined annually by a Selection Committee. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent twenty-five NFL teams, are joined by members of various NFL player personnel departments to form the committee. The participating NFL executives can rotate on a yearly basis, and remain anonymous. ALL eligible players are reviewed and voted on by the committee members. Each athlete receiving the necessary number of votes, by position, is then extended an invitation.


The Combine began 1982 in Tampa, Florida and 163 players were evaluated by teams who belonged to National Football Scouting, Inc.  Two additional camps were held to allow teams who were not members of National Football Scouting.  By 1985, the camps were combined into one centralized camp, which was held in Arizona.  The event moved to Indianapolis in 1987

Rice's First NFL Champ

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Larry Izzo, no stranger to Super Bowls as a player thanks to his timely stint as a special teams superstar with the New England Patriots, is back in the NFL's multi-media championship spectacular in a new role as a coach and on the opposite sideline of his former team.


Izzo will be looking to collect a fourth Super Bowl ring, a total that no other Owl can match, but the purpose of this entry is to take a look back at the beginnings of the NFL's championship hunt and to take the best stab at determining the first Owl to play in the league's title tilt.


Research shows that Shirley Brick was the first Owl to play in the NFL. Brick, who lettered for Rice from 1915-17 and again in 1919, played one game for the Buffalo All Americans in 1920, the very first season of the fledgling National Football League. All that needs to be said about football at that time versus now is that Brick, all 5-8 and 165 pounds of him, was listed as a tight end.


Seaman Squyres (1933 Cincinnati Reds) and Ralph "Primo" Miller (Cleveland Rams 1937 & 38) were the next Owls to take the field in the league, but neither enjoyed great success. Squyres was on a Reds team that scored only a total of 48 points in 18 games the franchise existed (folding after 10 points and eight games in 1934).  Miller was on the team that first brought the NFL to Cleveland, but found only limited success in his two years.


In the early days of the NFL, Curly Lambeau had assembled a powerhouse team in Green Bay. The Packers won the title from 1929-32 and again in 1936.  In 1939, a former Rice end, Frank Steen, joined a team that featured the immortal Don Hutson.  Steen was listed as a tight end, and shows credit for three games in a season that saw the Packers go on to defeat the New York Giants 27-0 to win Lambeau's sixth NFL title.



Thumbnail image for Steen 1939_GreenBayPackers.jpg 

While there are no records of which three games Steen played in that season, he does appear in the official team photo and roster, thus we will anoint him as the first Rice Owl to become an NFL champion.  If he was a member of the winning team, Steen pocketed the princely sum of $703.97 as a winner's share that year, which was his only year in the NFL.


The years immediately after World War II saw an infusion of Owls into the league. Some (Fred Hartman and Bill Blackburn) had been standouts in the early 1940's and moved on to the pro ranks after returning home from the war, while others (Weldon Humble, John Magee, Hamilton Nichols and Virgil Eikenberg) saw their college careers interrupted by the war, careers they were thankful to pick up after surviving the war.


Blackburn and Nichols became the first pair of Owls to play for an NFL champion, as the Chicago Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles.  It marked the first NFL title appearance for both franchises, and it remains the only NFL title for the Cardinals franchise through the end of the 2011 season.


One year later Blackburn and Nichols were back on the field, facing the Eagles again and looking to repeat as NFL champions.  But this time, there were two Owls on the opposing sideline as Magee was in the starting lineup and Hartman was a backup lineman.  


The game was first NFL title game to be televised, but the new technology was certainly not prepared for the challenge that Mother Nature had in store The Eagles prevailed 7-0 on a Steve Van Buren touchdown run in the last minute.


In the years since that landmark game, other Owls have been a part of NFL title celebrations, including Humble with the Cleveland Browns in 1950, Tobin Rote with the Detroit Lions in 1957,  J.D. Smith with the Eagles in 1960, Frank Ryan with the Browns in 1964, Rodrigo Barnes with the Oakland Raiders in 1977, Earl Cooper in 1982 and 1985, Daryl Grant with Washington in 1983 and again in 1988, O.J. Brigance with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001 and Izzo's run of good fortune with the Patriots.   Outside the NFL, Rote lead the San Diego Chargers to an AFL title in 1963, becoming the only quarterback to win championships in the rival leagues, while Orville Trask was a member of the Oilers when Houston captured the first two AFL titles (1960-61).







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