The last time Sam Glaesmann took a football snap that counted the opponent was Lake Travis High School.
The next snap will be against the Stanford Cardinal halfway across the world with an ESPN prime time audience.
Is he ready? The Rice coaching staff thinks so. With three options to pick from, Glaesmann will get the call at quarterback when the Owls face Stanford on Aug. 26 in Sydney, Australia.
Glaesmann, a 6-3 redshirt freshman quarterback from Waco, beat out Jackson Tyner and J.T. Granato for the job. Tyner is second on the depth chart and could also see time on the field against Stanford. Granato decided to transfer to Missouri State.
Tyner may have been the betting favorite going into fall camp. He completed 32-of-67 passes for 318 yards with two touchdowns in limited action last season. With Tyler Stehling hurt, he started against Stanford in the final game of 2016. Rice lost 41-17, though Tyner gained the experience of facing a Top 25 team.
But it was Glaesmann who turned heads in the Rice spring game. He threw for 178 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, including one on a 70-yard run. And he’s ready to make a statement.
Rice coach David Bailiff said the coaches considered everything, including spring practices. What set Glaesmann apart was his ability to make plays.
He made plenty of plays at Midway High School in Waco where he was a 6A third-time all-state selection. He threw for 3,017 yards and 29 touchdowns and ran for an additional 605 yards and four scores. Tyner wasn’t much of a running threat last season, gaining 44 rushing yards.
It’s not that unusual in college football these days to turn the quarterback position over to a redshirt freshman. And if he has the biggest upside, then it makes sense to give him the job sooner rather than later. Doing so may bode well for the future, especially when that freshman is a junior and senior.
The downside of course for this season is inexperience, complicated by a tough early-season schedule. If Glaesmann’s development is slow, then Bailiff may not be around to coach him the next three years.