Team preview: Rice

The Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook previews the 2007 Rice Owls, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: July 1, 2008, 9:37 AM ET
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(All information as of June 20, 2008)

COACH AND PROGRAM

There is finally familiarity at Rice again, and it isn't breeding contempt.

When David Bailiff was hired last year, he became the Owls' third head coach in as many years. And while he was inheriting a seven-win team that had gone to a bowl for the first time since 1961, Bailiff was also taking over a thin, 48-man roster filled with skeptical players suddenly wondering if all head coaches take the Rice job with one eye already on the next opportunity.

So the fact that Bailiff was still around for a second spring camp has the Owls ready to run through walls for him, or at least pass over them. Rice returns nine starters on each side of the ball from last year's 3-9 team, including record setting, dual-threat quarterback Chase Clement and honorable mention All-America receiver Jarett Dillard. The roster was also fifty percent larger during Bailiff's second spring, and a year together yielded exponential gains in efficiency.

"We were better this spring than we were at any point last season," Bailiff said. "We had a lot of energy. I think some of that was our players just being happy to have some continuity."

The coaches were just happy to have some depth.