Already faced with the difficult task of slowing down the Aggie offense, Rice’s defense will have to manage without the Conference USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Rice coach David Bailiff said Monday that senior cornerback Phillip Gaines will serve a one-game suspension for violation of a team rule. Details of the broken rule weren’t disclosed at Monday’s media gathering. Gaines will miss Saturday’s game at Texas A&M.
"Phillip is out for one game," Bailiff said. "We have high expectations here, especially for our captains. He’s going to travel with us but that’s a decision understands."
The Converse native finished last season with 18 pass breakups, the second highest total in the country. Gaines is the school record holder in career pass breakups. He was named to the All-Conference USA preseason team last month.
Bailff said Darrion Pollard, a redshirt freshman from Gilmer, will get the start at cornerback.
"We’re comfortable there too with three or four good young corners," he said. "Anthony Canady has played amazing as well as T.J. Blasingma, so we'll get those questions answered."
Rice also will be without the services of injured linebacker Cameron Nwosu, Bailiff said. Nwosu is still out of action with a knee injury that kept him out of fall camp. Junior Michael Kutzler will start in his place.
The Texas A&M defense also could be without two impact players as well. Junior safety Floyd Raven has been suspended for one game and junior cornerback Deshazor Everett will miss one half. Everett is a returning starter while Raven was projected to also start in the Aggie secondary.
According to an article on ESPN.com, both players were charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal mischief stemming from an April incident when they allegedly struck two men in the face during an apartment complex fight.
A&M has not announced which game(s) the pair will miss.
It is known that Aggie defensive tackle Kirby Ennis won’t play. He is suspended for his arrest on charges of flashing a firearm.
2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel’s eligibility for the Rice game has not been determined.
Kickoff for Saturday’s season opener is at noon. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.