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  1. Game Analysis: Baylor vs. TCU - Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by ftblbob5 View Post
    The Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs squared off in McLane Stadium for a good, old-fashion barn-burner of a game. These two top ten teams (a first in Waco since 1956) gave all of the 45K+ and a national television audience everything that they could have sought in a game of this magnitude. When it was all said and done, the Baylor Bears scored 24 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to complete the biggest comeback any Baylor Bear fan has seen to propel the home team to a 61-58 victory.


    The Baylor Bear offense was taking on a team that many thought was the best defense in the Big XII. This defense, filled with highly motivated and very quick players, had been highly touted by most of the national media. What the Bears did was to earn 39 first down (only 4 by penalty), 272 yards rushing, and a 2nd best in Baylor history 510 yards passing for a total offensive output of 782 yards and 61 points. Wow!

    Offensive Line

    The offensive line had an outstanding day. This TCU defense has been very difficult to run against, giving up an average of 2.5 yards per carry coming into the game. But almost from the beginning of the game, the Baylor line showed the Horned Frogs that they could get great movement at the point of attack. While they gave up 4 sacks (caused by quality tight coverage in the TCU secondary), for the most part the quarterback had plenty of time to deliver the ball. These capabilities meant that the entire playbook for the Bears was at the disposal of Coach Phil Montgomery, and he used all of his bullets against TCU.

    Troy Baker was mistreating the TCU linebackers when he pulled on the Dart play. Baker flattened Marcus Mallet on the first real quality breakaway run for the Bears on the afternoon. You just donít see pancake blocks like this at the elite level of college football. Troy was very alert on these plays. He saw a linebacker blitzing as the senior was pulling and Baker turned right into the blitzer rather than continuing his pull. This enabled the back to cut behind this block for a 1st down.

    While this seems to have been brewing since the off week earlier in the season, it appears we have a full-on competition for playing time at the right guard spot. Getting his first start, Jarell Broxton seems to have moved ahead of the returning starter at the position, Desmine Hilliard (67). Both of these guys have been playing fairly well, but Jarell appears to have taken over the starting job. Desmine is still having some trouble with his pulls. He has a tendency to swing too wide, not hugging the butt-line of his buddy blockers enough. This leaves a seam under which the good linebackers can scrape to make the play. Desmine is athletic enough to correct this issue, he just seems to wander a little too much. In the 4th quarter, Desmine did a great job of following the butt-line all the way outside and being in great position to kick out the scraping linebacker, freeing the back for big yardage on 2nd and 7. Hilliard duplicated this effort on the touchdown run that ended this momentum-swinging drive. Late in the game, it was Jarell Broxton at the left guard that was leading the running back on the power scheme. This three man rotation (Broxton, Hilliard, and Muir) is developing excellent depth at the guard position. This critical drive was primarily runs right at the heart of the highly-regarded run defense of TCU.

    The run action on the play action passing game was as good as I have seen the Bears execute. In addition, the offensive line was very disciplined about not going downfield on these run/pass reads off the zone play. This made it very difficult on the TCU linebackers. The fact that when the Bears did choose to run the running backs were often able to get quality yardage made the Frogs LBs have to step up, leaving a large area behind them for the crossing receivers to exploit.

    The delayed rush by the TCU linebackers caused the Bearsí offensive line some difficulty. When the linebackers saw that the back was not releasing into a route, they were blitzing. This late blitz would not be able to get the quarterback if he was able to get the ball to his first (or possibly even his second) progression. But when tight coverage made it impossible to get the ball thrown quickly, this tactic was tough of the Bears. Dawson was very good at this.

    What has to be said, at this point, is that when the game was on the line, the Baylor offensive line owned the TCU defense. The first scoring drive was a run-blocking clinic by the offensive line. They got great movement and the pulling blockers were exceptional in being in good position for picking up the remaining defender for the backs. When the Bears went to the pass on the next two drives, the protection was flawless. The quarterback had a clear field of vision almost every time he dropped back to throw. This resulted in the offense being able to find receivers on almost every play. Much of the run yardage came from the left side of the offensive line, behind the blocking of Spencer Drango (58) and Blake Muir (73) drive blocking. Muir, also, had a really good pull to get Linwood loose on the drive that tied the game. For all of these great plays, there was probably no play more important than the scrum that developed when the Bears had the ball at the TCU 22-yard line with a 3rd and 4. If the Bears donít get any more yardage, they have to ask their young kicker to line up at the 29-yard line for a field goal that is 10 yards longer than any he has made this fall. Instead, the Baylor offensive line (and a very tough running back) pushed the entire TCU defense for 5 additional yards after it appeared that Paul Dawson might have made the tackle (Baylor would have still had a 1st down) down to the TCU 13-yard line (well within Callahanís range).


    Shock Linwood (32) had the first big turnover of the game when he lost the ball as he was going down at the Baylor 36-yard line. Shock has to take better care of the football than this. Yes, TCU might have gotten away with a facemask pull on the play, but people are going to start targeting Shock if he canít resist the efforts of the defense to separate him from the football. Shock ran very tough for the second week in a row. Following excellent pulls by the tackles or the guards, Shock carried the ball 29 times for 178 yards (no lost yardage on the afternoon) for an average of 6.1 yards per carry against the highly-regarded TCU defense. Devin Chafin (28) contributed 10 carries for 43 yards in his second half work. This is just a theory of mine, but I believe that the reason we saw Coleman and Goodley carry the football in the first half was that the Baylor staff believed that Devinís ankle would only survive one half of work. Often when you have a tender ankle, the injury stiffens up during halftime. By utilizing the tough receivers, Baylor was able to save Devin for the second half and not have the ankle stiffen up on the big back.

    Bryce Petty (14) had a great day. With just a few exceptions, the Baylor quarterback was deadly accurate on the deep ball. He was very good at throwing the comebacks in the intermediate range. While Bryce struggle slightly with the short throws (this has been a struggle at times this fall), he got plenty of those to keep the sticks moving. Whether it was by design or by necessity, it appeared that early on Bryce was very willing to demonstrate the fact the Horned Frogs were going to have to be aware of the fact that the Baylor quarterback would be a run threat that they would have to consider. Petty scrambled on the 1st possession on two occasions where, in the past, he might have merely moved slightly in the pocket and thrown the ball. It could have been early nerves, but it seemed more intentional than that. Bryce contributed 10 carries for 45 yards on the afternoon. Bryceís arm strength was on display against TCU. Bryce was very good on comebacks to the short side, connecting with Goodley several times for quality yardage.

    At the beginning of the second half, Bryce had to roll out to the right sidelines away pressure in the pocket. Goodley was open on the sidelines, but Bryce threw the ball slightly to the inside and TCU came up with a quality interception. This gave the Frogs the ball at the Baylor 23-yard line. Thatís not the way you want to start the half. Another big booboo by Bryce was on a read/veer play where the quarterback has the option to give the ball to the back on the veer, keep it on the run, or throw to the receiver if the corner comes off of him. Goodley was the receiver. Bryce did a great job of reading the first two options, but when he tried to get the ball to Goodley, Petty air mailed the ball out of the end zone. Pettyís worst play of the day came on a 3rd and 10 (not a good down and distance against a good defense) when Bryce didnít see Marcus Mallet hanging in the middle, reading the quarterbackís eyes. Petty thought he had Hawthorne on an in-breaking route, but Mallet stepped in front of the receiver and returned the ball 49 yards for a pick six.

    As bad as this play was, it served as a catalyst for one of the best 4th quarter performances any quarterback has ever had. Rather than hang his head or sulk, Petty led his offense back on the field and proceeded to shred one of the top defenses in the nation. Utilizing a short field provided by Trevor Clemons-Valdezís fielding of a squib kick and returning it to the TCU 45-yard line, Petty engineered 3 straight drives to tie the score, leaning first on the strong play of the offensive line and the running of Shock Linwood. Bryce followed this score up with a perfect pass to Antwan Goodley for a 28-yard touchdown, despite pass interference on the play. Then the Bears got the ball on the Baylor 9-yard line. At this point, Bryce and the Bears REALLY went to work. Petty opened the drive with a strike to KD Cannon on a deep crossing route behind the linebackers and in front of the safety for a 26 yard gain (this play was added to by a ďhands to the faceĒ penalty against TCU). The Bears culminated this drive with a perfect pass from Bryce to Corey Coleman for a 25 yard touchdown when the safety bit on a play action fake.


    TCU relied upon its front 6 to play the run. This freed up the safeties to play deep in cover 2 for most of the afternoon. The Frogs locked up their corners on the Baylor wideouts and used their nickel linebacker to get leverage on the inside receivers. This has been a good strategy for TCU over the years. Usually TCU is able to hold up fairly well against the run and this makes the passing lanes fairly tight. This Saturday, the Baylor line was able to run fairly consistently and this made defending the pass much more difficult.

    Early in the game, the Bears had several opportunities to connect on big plays, but were just not quite able to get the ball caught. Antwan Goodley (5) appeared to have a step on double coverage, but Carter was able to pry the ball loose as the players tumbled to the ground. KD Cannon had a full step on the Frog defender on a go route from the inside receiver position. Petty threw the ball short and wide (usually a good place to put the ball because an overthrow is incomplete and a wide throw is putting the ball away from the defenderís reach). It appeared that Cannon anticipated contact, got his feet tangled, and couldnít come up with the catch. As the game progressed, this problem seemed to disappear as the Bears made big play after big play, especially in the 4th quarter.
    It was Antwan Goodley that broke the streak of near misses when he extended almost as far as he could and still maintain his balance, catching the ball with his finger tips and staggering into the end zone for a 66 yard touchdown reception. KD Cannon (9) got a huge block on the play to free up Goodley for the score. The Bears lined up in a wide bunch set and by the time the Frog DBs had sifted out the routes, Goodley had run by the TCU cornerback. With the safety taking the vertical threat of Cannon, there was no help for the corner on the play. By the way, Antwan continues to boogie in the end zone. Do the Bears really need more penalty yardage after touchdowns? Antwan was very productive on comebacks to the short side. Remember, he is a real load to tackle (650 pound squat) and can break a tackle and take one of these to the house at any time. These receptions keep the sticks moving and keep the defense under extreme pressure. Antwan had 8 catches for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of the best catches of the afternoon was the catch made by Antwan with 6:39 left in the game. Goodley was tightly covered by the TCU corner. Petty put the ball perfectly on Goodleyís outstretched hands. But the TCU defender had his hands at the point of the catch, too. Goodley demonstrated excellent coordination and hand strength to pull that pass in for the 28-yard score, despite the pass interference called on White on the play.

    Two of the Baylor receivers demonstrated that they are more than just receiving threats by lining up on the backfield and carrying the football. Baylor fans have seen Antwan Goodley (5) do this on several occasions in the past. But it was another receiver that made the strong first impression. Corey Coleman (1) surprised most Baylor fans with a very good run on the first 4th down conversion of the contest when he demonstrated excellent patience and then burst through a hole on the left side for an 11 yard gain. Corey came up with an outstanding 47 yard catch late in the 1st quarter down to the TCU 15-yard line when he maintained concentration despite the presence of a Frog defender between him and the ball that set up the 1st field goal. Coleman held off the Frog defender that was not able to locate the ball and then caught the ball just behind the defenderís backside. This was a great demonstration of concentration by a top-notch receiver. On the very next drive, Corey made another terrific catch when he ran a go route by the short side corner of the Frogs. Corey leaned into the route (turning the hips of the defender) and then ran by the CB, catching the ball just over the shoulder of the cornerback for a touchdown. On the touchdown to tie the game at 58, it was a great play action fake that froze the short side safety, springing the inside vertical route by Coleman open for a 25 yard score. The corner just didnít have a chance to stay with the speedy Baylor receiver. Corey had 8 catches for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns.

    KD Cannon (9) got into the scoring act with a terrific catch for a 67 yard touchdown. Cannon lined up as the middle receiver in trips. As the inside receiver occupied the safety and the outside receiver held the corner, Cannon took a vertical route between these two defenders and made a quality play on the ball for the score. Cannon demonstrated a little strength by stiff arming the safety that came over late to help. KD had what looked like a sure touchdown just go through his hands when the freshman just outran the defense with just a minute left in the 3rd quarter. This route was one that Tevin Reese used so successfully Ė the head fake inside and then the burst up the field vertically. All Petty needs is the safety to bite on the crossing route or dig for just an instant for it to become wide open. KD had 6 catches for 124 yards. That makes 3 Baylor receivers with over 100 yards in receptions. WOW!

    When the Bears wanted to put the press coverage of the corners in a bind, Montgomery used stacked receivers to make it difficult to determine which receiver would go inside and which would work vertically. Jay Lee (4) caught a terrific pass from Petty for a 47 yard touchdown when the safety took the inside cutting receiver and Jay just ran by the corner for the score. One of the facets that made this play so successful is that Lynx Hawthorne (7) has demonstrated himself to be a very real threat at the in-breaking routes. When Lynx turned for the square-in, the safety jumped that route and that meant that the corner (who lined up only a few yards off the LOS) was going to have to cover Lee by himself Ė which his original alignment made almost impossible.

    There were a few times where Bryce and the receivers were still not quite on the same page. The first time was 3rd and goal at the end of the 1st quarter. Montgomery sent motion to get quad receivers to the short side and had a one-on-one matchup with Goodley to the wide side. It appeared that Bryce anticipated a fade (with all that room outside), but Antwan went inside and the quarterback had to scramble and throw the ball away (making the first field goal necessary).

    The officials called a lot of pass interference penalties in this game. And they didnít call some pass interference penalties that should have been called. In my opinion, these calls evened out over the course of the game. I do appreciate how the Baylor receivers fought hard for the ball. When receivers contest for jump balls, they often get the calls.


    Chris Callahan (40) had a great day. Callahan was 4 for 4 on his field goals, including a 29-yarder with :01 left in the half and a 28-yarder as time expired to win the game. Chris has struggle mightily early this year, but appears (at least for this day) to have righted the ship and is performing at expected levels. Callahan had 4 relatively easy chances, hitting from 22, 29, 20, and 28 yards. But this game was tight throughout and Chris handled that pressure like a champ on Saturday.

    The kickoff return team is really under-performing. The front line of players made almost no contact with the wedge breakers from TCU. It is puzzling because they appear to be in position. It seems like they arenít willing to pay the price of making face to chest contact with coverage players that are running full speed. Because these critical blockers are making as many blocks as dead men do, the return game has been hit-and-miss at best. Until these players are willing to make solid contact and then stay on their blocks, the Bears wonít be able to take advantage of the highly skilled return men at their disposal.
  2. Help!!!!

    Hello all, I was not home on Saturday but recorded the game on my DVR and even extended the time to 90 minutes, but due to the length of the game it stopped recording at minute 10 in the 4th quarter!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I can't find the game on Youtube or anywhere else yet, does anyone have any suggestions or have a way to get me the last quarter of the game?? I REALLY want to see it for myself!!!

  3. Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Texas - Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by ftblbob5 View Post
    The fact that the Baylor Bear defense was able to keep the Texas Longhorns scoreless for all but 2:14 of the game in Austin is impressive. Like often happens, the Bearsí defense just finds a way to get off the field without allowing a score. The reputation (and reality) of the Baylor offense just continues to put pressure on the opponent to score touchdowns instead of kicking field goals (that might get blocked and returned for touchdowns Ė see Beau Blackshear and Terrell Burt).

    But the thing that just keeps going over and over in my mind is how well Texas ran the ball against this defense (especially in the 1st half). Texas was able to get adequate blocks on the defensive front quite often and sealed off the linebackers better than any team we have seen this season (of course they are the best team the Bears have played this season). With a simplified passing game that consisted of underneath routes and the waggle play that almost every high school in America runs, the Longhorns out-gained the Bears passing the football on the afternoon.

    It was surprising how often the Longhorn offense was able to get receivers open on the waggle play. Early on, the flat defenders almost never found the quick, flat receiver. Texas was using an inside receiver to block the Nickel Linebacker, running this play like a screen. As the game matured, the flat defender began to find that route only to have Swoopes go to open dragging receivers or to the out route on the sidelines. This is a play that every defense works on all the time. Of course, to be fair, it is a play that works at every level when the running game is occupying the defensive front and the safeties, which Texasí running game was very effectively doing in the 1st half.

    In the defensive strategy category, it seemed that Coach Bennett wanted to play Alfred Pullom (12) in for Orion Stewart (28) at the down safety (short side safety) position when he thought the Horns might be running the football. CPB played a 3-4 look on long yardage passing downs quite a bit. In that defense, it seemed the defensive line did a much better job of containing the quarterback than we have seen previously. In the 3-4, a defensive lineman comes out and Travon Blanchard (48) comes in to play the other nickel linebacker position.

    Overall, the Baylor defensive effort was good enough to hold Texas scoreless for 57:46 of the game. I predict that if the Gang Green is able to do this every week, Baylor will win all of its games.

    Defensive Line

    Beau Blackshear (95) has to be the cover boy of the defensive line this week for his performance at critical times during the game. When the Longhorns drove deep into Baylorís end of the field early in the game, it was Beauís big hand that reached up and swatted the line-drive kick meant to give Texas the early lead. This play led to a return of the blocked kick for the only score of the first half Ė a defensively generated score that has become a hallmark of the Phil Bennett-coached group over the last couple of years. When the Longhorns drove the ball 98 yards and were poised on the 1-yard line to even the score with less than a minute in the 1st half, it was Beau Blackshear that found a way to get to the ball that had squirted free on the center-QB exchange. This created a huge momentum shift in the emotional dynamics of the game. Had Texas been able to knot the score up, they might have built confidence on their home field that could have been difficult to stop. Because of Beauís heads up play, that boost was denied to the Longhorns and given to the Baylor Bears. Beau was in on 4 tackles, had one tackle for a 5 yard loss, recovered a fumble, and blocked a kick on the afternoon. Thatís a quality contribution for a defensive tackle.

    Andrew Billings (75) continues to be the immovable force in the center of the Baylor defensive line. As he did last fall, Billings was able to drive the UT guards back into the offensive backfield, clogging up the works for the Longhorn offense. Billings continues to struggle with maintaining contain on the quarterback when the Bears run an E-T stunt that brings the end inside and asks the DT to loop around outside for contain. Heís just getting out-athleted on those plays. Andrew, also, had trouble maintaining his B gap when he had to get to the stretch. Gray was able to run into the expanded A gap and under the stretch of Jamal Palmer. This leaves the middle linebacker way too much territory to cover on this play. Palmer needs to set a tighter edge and Billings must not allow the ball to be run right outside of him in the expanded A gap.

    Javonte Magee (90) continues to make his presence felt when the offense tries to run at his A or B gap. Magee got an early tackle for a loss when he drove the young center for the Horns into the backfield and paired with KJ Smith (56) to tackle the UT back. Magee did a great job of disengaging from the blocker and driving through the ball carrier on this play.

    It seemed that Texas wanted to run toward Jamal Palmer (92) at the beginning of the game. Jamal kept contain on the opening play, but he was ridden all the way to the sidelines by the UT tackle. A lot of the UT sweeps were run at Jamal and he really struggled with getting this play turned back inside quickly enough. As he expanded, the A and B gaps inside of him just got too big for the DT or the middle linebacker to cover. Heís got to set a better edge than that. On the first 3rd down of the game, Jamal got caught up inside on his pass rush and lost contain, allowing Swoopes to scramble around him for a 1st down. Jamal caused a holding penalty to be called when tried to get outside for contain in the 2nd quarter. Palmer missed Swoopes on a zone read inside the Baylor 10-yard line, that set up the fumbled snap play. Jamal did a great job on a swing pass to Gray. Palmer got out in front of the back and completely bottled the ball carrier up until help arrived. This is a very athletic play.

    Shawn Oakman got his first quarterback pressure when he ripped inside with a linebacker blitz to his outside and got right in the face of the Longhorn quarterback. This forced a throw that had too much loft and was thrown short to a receiver racing down the sidelines. When the Horns tried Shawnís side on the sweep play, Oakman was no better than Palmer at containing. In fact Oakman stood up and then waved at the ball carrier as he went by. Oakman must be more physical than this. Shawn seemed to just wave at Swoopes as he got outside of the big defensive end on an early 3rd quarter waggle play. Shawn has to be more physical than this, too. One play where Shawn WAS physical enough was the 3rd quarter sack of Swoopes where Oakman ripped inside of the tackle and ran right over the top of the poor UT back to swallow up the UT quarterback. This was awesome. In the 4th quarter, Shawn really came off the ball and caused a stretch play to cutback right in the arms of a hustling Beau Blackshear for a loss of yardage.

    KJ SMith (56) had a chance at a sack with a speed rush off the edge, but didnít get the corner turned tight enough and Swoopes escaped for a quality gain late in the 2nd quarter. When KJ came in for Jamal in the 4th quarter, he did a great job of stuffing a veer read play on the 1st UT possession of that quarter. On the Texas touchdown, KJ got up too high and the Texas tight end and tackle drove the defensive end 3-4 yards deep into the end zone. KJ has to stay lower.


    Bryce Hager (44) had a good afternoon of work against the Longhorns. He had 8 tackles, 1 Ĺ tackles behind the LOS for losses of a total of 8 yards, and 2 quarterback hurries. He, also, picked up an onside kick attempt by the Longhorns and almost returned it all the way for a touchdown. Thatís a pretty good day for a young man that was playing his Dadís alma mater for the last time. Bryce had to really take on a lot of blocks and still fight through to make the play against the Horns. When Bryce was able to get his shoulders by the blocker, he was very successful. There were a few times that Bryce didnít quite get through and the Horns benefitted from that. Bryce is very good at timing his blitzes. On one 1st quarter blitz, he almost beat Swoopes back to the drop point. Swoopes threw the ball up for grabs, but the Baylor corner couldnít quite get the pick. After his two buddy linebackers missed a chance to tackle Swoopes in the backfield, it was Bryce that got the QB for an 8-yard loss. In the 4th quarter, Bryce came right downhill and got to the LOS on a speed option. Bryce must have closed his eyes (or something like this) because Swoopes ran right past the All-Conference player - I have no other explanation.

    Aiavion Edwards (20) had a solid day. He totaled up a lot of tackles prior to leaving the game with an injury (ankle?), but he had a tendency to wait back for the ball to come to him instead of attacking downhill. If you watched Aiavion on the long drive UT had at the end of the 1st half, you saw the weakside linebacker do a lot of lateral or even backward running on rushing plays, instead of playing downhill. Aiavion has to be better than this. Aiavion did a great job of beating the linemanís block and driving through the tackle when Swoopes looked to have room to run on a 1st quarter QB draw. If Aiavion gets blocked on that play, Swoopes might have gone a long way. Aiavion could improve on keeping his feet alive on his tackles. Edwards has a tendency to reach for tackles and then get dragged for additional yardage by the ball carrier. This would be a major improvement for him. In man-to-man, Aiavion was too easily picked by the tight end when the Horns ran a scat play to Malcolm Brown on the Baylor sidelines. Youíd like to see Aiavion really drive on the route when the back flattens out to the sidelines. When Texas was backed up on their own goal line (after their goal line stand), the Horns ran a flood route (3 receivers to the play side) out of a wing formation. This means that the outside linebacker to that side has to have the 3rd man out (the back). Aiavion dropped this coverage and he didnít get to the QB before the ball was thrown. If you miss your coverage, you need to get to the QB. That was a big play in changing field position late in the 2nd quarter. Edwards continued to miss seeing the back out of the backfield on the 1st possession of the 2nd half.

    Taylor Young (11) came in for Edwards after the starter twisted his ankle. Taylor showed very good instincts and coverage ability when he got under a deep slant and knocked the ball down. Taylor did a good job of working downhill and through trash in the 4th quarter. Taylor was reaching for tackles instead of running through them late in the 4th quarter. Heís got to be better than that.

    Shawn Oakman was using a spill technique where he wrong-shoulders a kick out block. It is the outside linebackerís responsibility to squeeze quickly to cover that technique. Collin Brence (38) was a little slow in squeezing on an off-tackle play late in the 1st quarter. On the last drive by UT, Collin did a great job of holding his leverage on a swing pass to Gray. He made the tackle (with a little help) for no gain.

    Travon Blanchard (48) did a great job of drawing the holding penalty when UT tried to run the stretch outside of the nickel linebacker. Blanchard would have made the play on this run, had the UT tight end not held him. On 3rd and long in the 4th quarter, Travon did a great job of blitzing off the edge untouched and getting there in enough time to cause the incompletion.


    The Baylor secondary continues to receive close scrutiny from the Big XII officials for the manner in which they make contact with receivers. The Texas Longhorn offense was given 5 1st downs as a result of penalties on Saturday. Most of these were as a result of defensive holding or pass interference calls on the Baylor secondary. There was one pass interference penalty that was called against Ryan Reid (9) by the back judge (20 yards away when the side judge was 5 yards away) that was picked up because the side judge knew that there had been no significant contact. Baylorís secondary of last year has made a difficult bed in which these players have to sleep. It will require this yearís DBs to be very scrupulous in their technique not to draw penalties from officials that have become convinced that Baylor is too physical on receivers. One thing that might help this situation is to not play quite as much ďpress manĒ coverage. If the man -to-man defenders backed off a little, they might be able to read the release and the pattern better. The press defenders usually get penalties when they are beaten off of the release at the line of scrimmage.

    Terrell Burt (13) had a huge play early in the game when he picked up the blocked kick and motored 62 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bears the early 7-0 lead. Burt was very alert and very fast on this play. Burt, also, had the first pass breakup of the afternoon when he picked up a crossing route and timed the pass perfectly (maybe a little early) to separate the potential receiver from the football. When Shipley tried to run a skinny post on Burt, both safeties (Burt and Pullom) did a very good job of breaking on the ball and contesting the ball that was thrown over everyone. In the 3rd quarter when he was slightly beaten on a crossing route, Terrell pulled off a great slight of hand when he stripped the ball as the receiver slid and rolled over on a catch. Had Terrell not raked the ball loose, it would not have come loose on its own. On a similar play on the last Texas drive, Terrell got called for being a little too early and this interference penalty set up Texas at the 2-yard line with a 1st down.

    Orion Stewart (28) had a big day for the Bears, intercepting two passes. Stewartís first interception came on a throw that was slightly behind the intended target. Stewart was in great position on the play and drove through the big tight end to get to the ball. When Gray knocked Stewart on his backside at the end of a run late in the 2nd quarter, Gray stood over Stewart (which could have been a penalty). Stewart responded with a slight push and was tagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty. Orion needs to be smarter than that. Orion took a really bad angle when Texas tried a 1-receiver route to the short side. Although Howard was in good position underneath the route, Stewart was not over the top of it where he should have been. The Texas receiver made a very good catch on this play. As Orion has more success in coverage, he has been getting more aggressive. He did a great job of beating a square-in to the spot in the 3rd quarter, causing an incompletion. On the last Texas drive, Orion got another interception that was very similar to his first of the game. He, also, made a very nice return on the play.

    It seemed that Coach Bennett might have been playing Alfred Pullom (12) for Stewart in run down situations. Pullem was playing a support safety technique where he was very quick to get into the box from the short side safety position.

    Xavien Howard (4) continues to be very solid in coverage. Even when he gives up a completion, Howard in right on the potential receiver. For the most part, he has been doing a good job of playing within the rules and not giving away a cheap interference or holding penalty. But in the 1st quarter, Xavien was beaten on an outside vertical release and got nailed for grabbing the UT receiverís jersey as he went by Howard. Later, another holding penalty on Xavien extended the 98-yard drive of UT at the end of the half. In the 4th quarter, he was called for a jam on the wide receiver on a ball that was way overthrown. It just wasnít Xavienís day. Late in the 4th quarter, Xavien was beaten by Johnson on a slant. Howard has made the play on a lot of balls like this one, but not this time.

    When the Horns ran a reverse to the wide side of the field, it was Ryan Reid (9) that drove through the block of Swoopes to force the receiver to bubble back slightly. This enabled his help to come. Reid should maintain better outside leverage than that, but he showed a lot of toughness to blow up the block rather than try to play it off by giving up more ground. Reid had a possible interception go right through his hands in the 2nd quarter. On the play, the back judge threw a flag for interference, but the officials correctly overruled the out of position official.


    Baylor was playing the University of Texas in Austin. Baylorís defense held the Longhorns to only 7 points scored with less than 3 minutes left in the game. Thatís a pretty good dayís work.
  4. Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Texas - Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by ftblbob5 View Post
    The Baylor offense certainly didnít measure up to its previous standard of performance on Saturday in Austin. But the team played well enough to earn a hard-fought 28-7 victory over the Texas Longhorns. This victory sets up a battle of unbeatens in Waco on this coming Saturday against the TCU Horned Frogs, who have been playing very well.

    Helped by two huge special teams plays, the Baylor Bears were able to hold a hard-playing Texas squad. The first big play on special teams was a Beau Blackshear (95) block of a 52-yard field goal attempt. This blocked kick bounced right into the hands of Terrell Burt (13), who used his speed to out-distance the entire field goal unit of the Longhorns on a 62-yard return of the blocked kick for the opening touchdown of the afternoon. The second huge special teams play was (according to Coach Briles) an unscripted fake punt pulled off by All-American punter, Spencer Roth (36). Roth noticed that Texas was only rushing one defender and took off to his right for a 19-yard run for a Baylor first down. This conversion later resulted in Baylorís first offensive touchdown of the game and made it a two-score game against the offensively-challenged Longhorns.

    An enthusiastic Baylor contingent traveled the short drive down Interstate 35 and did a great job of supporting the team all afternoon. The green and gold was no more apparent than in the 4th quarter as the burnt orange fans began to depart the stadium. While the last moments of the game ticked away, those Baylor fans proudly proclaimed, ďWeíre still Baylor.Ē


    Coach Art Briles has always been about two major concepts on offense: (1) he wants to put people in a situation where they do the things they do well, not what a system dictates and (2) he wants to take what the defense has chosen to give you. On Saturday, it was never more evident that Art Briles believes in that second concept very strongly. His Baylor offense, known for its high flying passing attack featuring swift receivers, pounded out 60 rushing plays against a very game defensive front. The Texas defensive front has some exceptional players. Their defensive tackles are as good as you can find anywhere. But the Texas squad doesnít have the ďBig XII-depthĒ that is necessary to stand up to the pounding you take from the Baylor offense playing tempo football. This concept began to tell late in the 3rd quarter and in the 4th quarter.

    Offensive Line

    Even though the offensive line gave up the first sacks of the season, the line acquitted itself extremely well on the afternoon. Going up against Brown and Ridgeway in the Longhorn interior and Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks at level two, the Baylor offensive line continued to grind out play after play for solid, if not spectacular yardage. As the game moved into its final half, the lack of depth on the Longhorn defense, the radiant heat of the afternoon, and the pounding of that offensive line began to tell on the burnt orange defenders. In the 3rd and 4th quarters, previous runs that had been 3-4 yard runs began to multiply into 8, 10, and 12-yard gains. Baylor earned 17 of its 22 first downs by rushing the football on Saturday, thatís an impressive total (the Bears got 5 1st downs passing and ZERO on penalties). Although the time of possession was largely in favor of the Longhorns in the first half, the second half saw the Baylor Bears possess the ball for 15 minutes and 22 seconds despite utilizing an up-tempo style for almost all the entire half.

    Donít under-estimate the conditioning level it takes for the 300+ pound offensive linemen to maintain the up-tempo offense of the Baylor Bears. Starters Spencer Drango (58) at left tackle, Blake Muir (73) at left guard, Kyle Fuller (55) at center, Desmine Hilliard (67) at right guard, and Troy Baker (75) at right tackle is a group of elite athletes that keep up a high level of performance for a complete game. In addition, the Bears have begun to develop reliable depth that can be plugged in when necessary to keep people fresh.

    Spencer Drango was a little less successful than usual in picking up the scraping linebackers as the play got wider against the read/sweep. He must be ready to work more vertically to cutoff a LB that is trying to work outside. Spencer is very quick to establish position when he needs to cutoff the defensive end. Drango is very good at working his feet into the hole and turning out the DE. Despite the fact that Spencer had to down block on one of the best defensive tackles Texas offers, the big tackle got excellent movement. He continued to move his feet throughout most of his drive blocks. As the pounding continued, the movement improved.

    It was great to see Blake Muir pick up a blitzing linebacker on a power scheme play. Blake caught the blitzer right up under his armpit and drove the linebacker into the ground. Blake was able to do this more than once and every time he picked up the blitz, the Bears got big yardage out of the play. I love stuff like that. I always told my linemen that the defense blitzes because they think you will become confuse or overpowered. When you pick up a blitz, they donít have anyone at level two to make the play. Picking up the blitz on a run play means a big play almost every time. Blakeís drive blocking got better and better as the game progressed. Blake is a big man that pounds on DTs until he just wears them down.

    Kyle Fuller had a very good second half. As the Longhorn defensive tackles began to tire, the sophomore center began to get excellent drive block after drive block, creating great movement on the inside. This was a great improvement from the 1st half. Kyle is getting better, but he continues to work too high and with too narrow of a base. These two things make it difficult to get quality movement and make it difficult to sustain contact because the blocker is often losing balance.

    Desmine Hilliard got one of the best blocks of the day on a power scheme play to begin the Bearsí second possession. Desmine blocked down on an inside technique and just made the entire right side disappear, opening up a huge hole for the back and a gain of 12 yards. On the opening play of the 2nd quarter, Desmine did a great job of finding the linebacker on a wrap block, opening the way for the back to get a critical 1st down on a 4th down play. Jarell Broxton (61) did a very good job of subbing for Desmine. Broxton is a very effective drive blocker and quality pass protector. The big sack by Edmonds came between the right guard and center (Broxton and Fuller). It is difficult to determine which player should have picked this up, but it was the only big sack of the afternoon (the other two were 1-yard losses on an attempted pass).

    Troy Baker was very effective at blocking the very tough Longhorn linebackers. He is doing a much better job of keeping good knee bend and keeping his hips locked and running into and through the linebacker. He was consistently good at this all afternoon. Troy picked up a holding penalty when he grabbed a Longhorn defensive end that tried to escape to the outside as the quarterback scrambled for what would have been a 1st down. Troy was very effective on his wrap blocks on the Dart scheme. Troy did a great job of following the butts down the line of scrimmage until he found the first unblocked supporting player. As the game progressed, I donít know if Iíve ever seen a Baylor tackle does a better job of adjusting his path on a wrap pull as the blocks progress. Backs love to be able to rely upon this kind of read from an offensive lineman. Baker dropped his head on a backside block and missed a blitz pickup, but Petty read the play as a keep and bounced outside of the blitz for positive yardage. On the touchdown on 3rd and 1 from the Texas 1-yard line, Baker and Broxton would not be denied. They drove the Texas DT 4 yards deep into the end zone and the running back dove over their heads for the touchdown.


    Watching the video, there were several times in the game that the Baylor running backs tended to drive straight up the middle, following blocks in tight spaces rather than see daylight just outside of the tackleís block. Usually, youíd love to see running backs take the vertical cut behind blocks. But Texas was playing to take away the inside cuts. Later in the game, the backs began to see those bounce cuts more and found bigger yardage. Iím not one that usually second-guesses running backsí cuts because they are in the heat of battle and are trying their best to run away from darkness. Itís just what I was seeing. In addition, there were a few instances of backs breaking past level two and then trying to flatten out to the sidelines rather than attacking vertically for more yardage. This was usually a bad strategy against the swarming Texas defense.

    Shock Linwood (32) was the go-to-guy in Austin. He carried the ball 28 times for a net of 148 yards and one touchdown. Against a very tough defensive front, Shock averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Shock is a very good back and had a good day. In the first half, Shock had a couple of plays where it appeared there was an opportunity to bounce slightly outside for additional yardage that Shock didnít see. In addition, Shock got too flat on a couple of bounce out opportunities. Iíd like to see Shock bounce and then get vertical more quickly. It didnít appear that Shock did a very good job on 3rd and goal of keeping his feet alive and driving deeper into the end zone. Although it appeared that Shock did get across the goal line on that play (no review), Shock lost his leg drive too easily on that play. The start of the second half brought out a better version of Shock Linwood. The number one running back began to see more daylight and surged through the holes with his characteristic abandon, ripping off quality yardage.

    Johnny Jefferson (2) had another quality day carrying the football. Johnny had 11 carries for 72 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Johnny appeared to do a very good job of reading available blocks and making quality cuts. When the blocking got plugged up, Johnny demonstrated the ability to bounce outside for additional yardage. This might have been Johnnyís best day as a running back at Baylor. Late in the game it appeared Johnny might have been bent backwards. He was replaced by Devin Chafin (28), coming off of a high ankle sprain.

    Devin Chafin did a great job of bouncing to the edges against a pinching defensive front, finding quality yardage. Chafinís rushing efforts made it possible for the Bears to control the football for much of the 4th quarter. Devin is a very fast and powerful running back. He has improved on finding seams in the defense and has continued to be a great ďone-cutĒ back Ė he sees a hole, plants a foot, and sprints toward the goal line. Chafin is a bigger body and punishes tacklers that try to tackle him. On his last carry (4th and 1 at the Texas 21-yard line), it appeared that the Longhorns might have torqued Devinís ankle slightly.

    Bryce Petty (14) had his worst statistical afternoon of his starting career at Baylor University. The Baylor senior went 7 for 22 passing attempts for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns, while suffering 3 sacks. Petty struggled (by his own admission) at dissecting the Longhorn coverages and the accuracy of his throws. In addition to these difficulties, Petty had at least 4 on-target throws dropped by the usually sure-handed receivers. The first drop was when Bryce Petty was taking a hit from an unblocked 4th defender off of a 3-man protection side. Petty hung in there very well and delivered a strike to the outstretched hands of Levi Norwood (42). Norwood, just coming back from a broken wrist, had the ball glance off of the finger tips Ė a ball youíd expect Levi to catch at least 9 out of 10 times. In the category of alibis not offered by any in a Baylor uniform (but offered by this author), it might be that it will take a little time to get back to the chemistry we have seen with these receivers in the past now that Bryce has spent most of this fall working with the younger group of receivers. It seemed that Petty was rushing his sets and throws off of play action. This led to poorly thrown balls that are very uncharacteristic for Bryce. Most of these throws were low. On plays where he held the ball a long time, it seemed like he was over-striding when he threw. Over-striding makes the ball take off on the quarterback. On the first 3rd down play of the 2nd half, it appeared that Bryce and Shock were mixed up on the play action. As a result, Bryce had to try to make a play by the pass. Texas got a quality rush out of the left defensive end, right into Bryceís face. Bryce tried to throw the ball to the sidelines, but the ball slipped out of his hand. The official called intentional grounding on this play.

    Bryce is doing a good job of allowing the defense to dictate when he pulls the ball for a quarterback run. Heís being judicious about picking his spots. One concern is that he continues to get too much of a body lean and has a tendency to fall down. Bryce has to remember that heís a big guy. If heíll just stay upright, defensive backs will be fairly careful about how they tackle him. In addition, if he stays balanced, he can choose to slide when necessary. By the way, Petty was down short of the goal on his scramble in the 2nd quarter. The ball appeared to be 6Ē outside the goal line when Bryceís knee touched down. On the 4th and goal play where the Bears didnít get in, it seemed that Bryce rushed the sneak. This means that he didnít allow the block to take place prior to surging forward. As a result, Bryce lost his legs very quickly and didnít get across the goal line. The other thing that Bryce did was duck his head. Youíd like for the quarterback to keep his chin up as long as possible to sustain forward movement. As soon as the head ducks, the body begins to fall. When Bryce tried the quarterback draw, the Texas linebackers were very good at making the tackle in the open field.


    Antwan Goodley (5) did not have a great day, but he was the Bears' leading receiver with 4 catches for 69 yard and 1 touchdown. On a memorable play, Linwood bounced outside on a power scheme run and found a great block by Antwan, peeling back to pick up a supporting DB. Itís not just on peel-back blocks that Antwan is doing a good job supporting the run. Antwan is an excellent stalk blocker, too. He is very good at maintaining contact and moving his feet. Antwan had two clear drops in the second half. This is totally uncharacteristic of the senior All-American. He was looking back into a very bright setting sun, but Antwan usually handles most difficulties very well. On the first offensive touchdown of the game, Antwan did a great job of setting up his cut with a move that looked like he was going to try to beat the CB to the outside. Antwan quickly ducked inside and got vertically up the field, getting 3 yards behind the trailing defender. Bryce did a great job of putting the ball perfectly on target (this is a very small window on this throw) for the 30-yard touchdown reception.

    The combination of KD Cannon (9) and Antwan Goodley on the same side is a very difficult challenge for any defense. On the first pairing of these two outstanding receivers, KD went vertical out of the slot and took the corner and the safety with him. This left Baylorís best receiver (Goodley) all alone on the sidelines for a big gain on a simple stop route. In the second half, KD benefitted from this pairing by running an easy slant route for a 1st down on 3rd and long. A little later, KD streaked past a supporting safety, but Bryce threw to Antwan Goodley. Bryce had to throw the pass too wide due to the safety buzzing under the out route. This is a good example of Bryce being fooled on the coverage. What could have been a Baylor touchdown went as an incompletion because Bryce had to throw wide to avoid the interception.

    On 4th down, with the Bears leading 21-0 and with 6:37 to go, Bryce Petty found Corey Coleman (1) slightly behind good coverage and thread the needle to the Richardson Pearce product for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Corey made a terrific catch on this play. Corey caught the ball just over the shoulder of the Longhorn defender and got his foot down in the burnt orange end zone. Corey had a clear drop on a slip screen in the 3rd quarter (and the sun wasnít in his face). These guys returning from rehab just arenít quite up to hitting on all cylinders, yet.

    TreVon Armstead (41) continues to struggle with his consistency in blocking as an ďHĒ back. There are times when he just buries people. There are times when he almost whiffs on blocks. On the opening play of the game, Troy Baker got great movement at the point of attack. But, TreVon went too flat on his trap block of the linebacker scraping to the ďCĒ gap. Had TreVon followed the butt-line in a more downhill angle, he could have easily kicked out the linebacker and Shock Linwood would have had a great hole through which to run. On the next play, TreVon steps outside against an inside leverage defender and almost allows that young man to play flat down the line to the play going the opposite side. When he was asked to wrap around to the far side, this 6í6Ē, 270 pound tight end tried to cut block linebackers, allowing the LBer to play over the top of the block and plug the hole. A guy like TreVon needs to bury those guys. Later in the game, TreVon began to stay on his feet on these blocks and the big Baylor tight end became much more effective.

    Gus Penning (15) is not quite as big of a load as TreVon, but he is a little better at adjusting his path on his trap and wrap blocks. He needs to become a better drive blocker.


    One of the most troubling statistics coming out of this game was the fact that Baylor was 1 for 3 in the red zone in a tight, tough football game. In addition, with two shots at the end zone from less than 1-yard away, the Bears failed to score (although Shock Linwood appeared to be laying with half of his body in the end zone on 3rd down Ė with no replay stoppage on that play). Baylor is usually better than this.

    The new headsets the officials are using didnít seem to enhance communication very well. Several times during the contest, Referee Reggie Smith seemed to either get incorrect information or got that information mixed up. This leads to the kind of confusion we saw when Smith incorrectly said that Baylor had one more down when it came up short on the goal line on 4th down.

    When Texas tried an onside kickoff after narrowing the score to 28-7, it was Bryce Hager (44) that picked up the deflected ball and sprinted toward the end zone. He would have gone all the way, except for a very heads up play by Shipley (8).

    The Baylor victory means that the Bears have won 4 of their last 5 games with the University of Texas. In addition, the win was the 3rd road victory in a row (2 of these games were conference games in venues that have traditionally been very tough for the Baylor Bears). The Bears have won 16 straight games played in Texas and are 27-3 in the Lone Star State over the last 4 years. Baylor has started 5-0 in 2 straight years for the first time since 1916/1917.
  5. Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Iowa State - Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by ftblbob5 View Post
    Despite the fact that the Baylor defense allowed a first half touchdown for the first time this season, the first group had a very impressive first half. They held the Cyclones to 7 points, caused 6 3-and-outs, and caused an interception. They held the running backs of ISU to a mere 36 yards rushing for the entire game. The pass defense held the Cyclones to a 44% completion percentage.

    But there were concerns. For the second week in a row, the opponent moved the ball much more freely in the second half. As in the Buffalo game, the Cyclones moved the ball fairly well against the number one defense in the second half and moved it well when the second group began to enter the game en mass. It appeared that the mobility of the Cyclone quarterback, Richardson, must have caught the Bears by surprise. There didnít seem to be a consistent plan of utilizing a spy (a player designated to mirror the quarterback to guard against a scramble) and they were not consistent in maintaining their interior rush lanes. They allowed 8 of 18 3rd down conversions (still good, but much higher than we have previously seen).

    Defensive Line

    The defensive line was just suffocating against the traditional run offense. They dominated the ISU linemen on every run play and gave the Cyclone running backs nowhere to go. The front is very good against outside run. This group of defensive linemen can run laterally very well. For the most part, they are very good at maintaining their leverage on the ball and not creating any cutback lanes. Inside, it seemed that the DTs got tangled up with the offensive linemen a few times so that they couldnít disengage and make a play as the back ran by them.

    Shawn Oakman (2) continues to look very good against the run to his side. He is getting better and better at controlling the blocker (tight end or tackle) and maintaining his leverage, to string out the play and allow help to come. Shawn usually doesnít need that help because he discards the blocker and makes most plays by himself. Shawn got the first sack of the evening when he beat the tackle with a combination bull rush with a speed move. Shawn got the tackle off balance with a power move and then ripped by the blocker to bring down Richardson. Shawn took a good swipe at the football, but couldnít dislodge it. This was set up by good rush lane integrity demonstrated by the DTs, despite the fact that they ran a twist stunt in the middle. When the pocket collapses from every angle, it leaves no place for the quarterback to run. Shawn lost outside leverage when he stumbled and fell, allowing the quarterback to scramble out to the left for a sizeable gain. With the Cyclones facing a 3rd and 2 and seeing an all-out blitz coming, Richardson audibled to a speed option to Oakmanís side. Shawn was probably getting his best pass rush move ready and came off too high. The ISU tackle got his pads under Oakmanís armpit and drove the big defensive end down the field 5 yards before planting the DE on his back. Richardson used this hole to scamper down the sidelines for a sizeable gain.

    Jamal Palmer (92) was the first defensive end to lose leverage on Richardson. Jamal buried his face in the chest of the tackle and couldnít get disengaged to get outside to stop the agile quarterback from scrambling out to the right for a downfield throw. Luckily the pass was broken up. It was Jamal that got the early pressure that eventually forced an interception. Jamal came under the tackle and dove for the QB. Richardson fled to his left and was very effectively contained by the rest of the defensive line. Having no place to go, the Cyclone unwisely tried a ďTony Romo-typeĒ toss to a receiver waiting on the ISU sidelines Ė bad idea. This was a huge play in the game. It ended the Cyclone bid to tie the game and led to a Baylor touchdown that moved the score to 21-7. The second sack of the game by the Bears was credited to Jamal, but it could be considered a sack by the entire defensive line. Richardson appeared to be fleeing the shadow of Shawn Oakman when he tried to move to his right and directly into the other three defensive linemen who were doing a great job of maintaining their rush lanes and leverage. Jamal just got to the quarterback first. Jamalís pressure caused Richardson to suffer an intentional grounding call that resulted from the QB trying to avoid Palmerís pressure and finding that he was running into the other 3 Baylor defensive linemen that had done a great job of maintaining their rush lanes.

    Javonte Magee (90) and KJ Smith (56) combined to get a quarterback hurry that forced Richardson to harmlessly heave the ball to an open space on the field to avoid a sack. Magee split a double team to get pressure at the QBís feet and Smith contained the QB to force the throwaway. In the 3rd quarter, with Magee and Beau Blackshear at the DTs, both of the interior linemen took outside rush lanes, opening a huge space in the middle that Richardson took full advantage. The DTs must maintain their rush lanes against mobile quarterbacks. If this doesnít improve, the quarterbacks at OU, TCU, and Texas will be even more difficult to contain.

    Andrew Billings (75) is getting better at understanding how responsibilities can change on the run. When Oakman took an inside rush when he was fooled on play action, Andrew immediately swung wide to the outside to replace Oakman in contain. This is a heady play for a young player. Andrew got a good rush on a roll left by Richardson. The big sophomore chased the QB down from behind and pushed him directly into a blitzing linebacker just after the QB let go of the ball. As the game matured, Andrew became more dominant against the run. Just after the ISU interception, Billings squashed two blocks by different offensive linemen to force the Cyclone running back to slip down trying to make a cut to get away from the big DT. With ISU driving in the 3rd quarter, Andrew split another double team to get a hit on the QBís chest just as he released the ball. Itís tough to throw good passes with a 300 pound defensive tackle pinned to your chest. Andrew had 1 tackle for a loss and 2 quarterback hurries to go with 3 tackles on the evening.

    When Byron Bonds (96) had an E-T stunt where the end took and inside rush, the young DT didnít contain the quarterback and allowed Richardson to get outside him on a scramble for another sizeable gain. Byron has to make the quarterback pull up when he has contain.

    Beau Blackshear (95) continues to be a quality force in the interior of the defensive line. One of the things that Beau continues to need to improve upon is being able to flatten out as the run play gets outside of him. He sometimes takes one or two false steps upfield when he should be getting flat down the heel line in pursuit of the ball carrier. Against the run when he is fighting a block, Beau is very steady. He always does a good job of squeezing the hole so the running back is left with no alternative but to run back into Beauís waiting arms. Thatís quality defensive line run defense. Beau had 5 tackles with one sack for a 17 yard loss.


    The Linebacking positions continue to be a question mark on this highly effective defense. For most of the time, the linebacking corps is terrific. They do a great job of working downhill to the ball, they keep their leverage on the ball, and they are very effective against the pass Ė both on the blitz and in coverage. Their underneath coverage on crossing routes and outlet routes by the backs was very good. On the other hand, we continue to see crucial errors in judgment or a lack of ability to close on the football that result in big plays for the opponents when the Bears are being very aggressive with their schemes. At times, the tackling hasnít been as crisp as you would like.

    Bryce Hager (44) is the heart and soul of the Baylor defense. His ability to range from sidelines to sidelines and fit perfectly where the ball is going to be is priceless for the Bears. He has good size and brings a significant payload when he makes a tackle. He has good range in pass coverage. Bryce is surprisingly able to take on big offensive linemen and stuff their blocks Ė not all LBs can do this. When the Cyclones tried a 1st quarter screen, it was Bryce Hager that was right on top of it (along with Orion Stewart Ė 28 Ė the down safety). Hager has earned such respect in the eyes of Coach Bennett that the defensive coordinator doesnít worry about checking out of a blitz when it is tipped to the offense. Some coaches donít feel that can get this communicated effectively. Coach Bennett checked out several times on Saturday and Bryce got all of that communicated in just seconds prior to the snap. This really gives Baylor the ďchalk lastĒ in the cat-and-mouse game between the offense and the defense. One play that worried me was when Richardson was able to outrun the angle that Hager had on him when the ISU QB scrambled all the way down to the 1 yard line, setting up their last touchdown. It seemed Hager couldnít make up the ground.

    Aiavion Edwards (20) continues to get better each week. He appears to be much more comfortable in the WLB position. He does a good job of maintaining leverage on outside runs, while continuing to play downhill to the football. Aiavion did a great job of diagnosing the play on an attempted outside run by the ISU running back, tackling the back for a sizeable loss on the play. On the next play, Aiavion had terrific coverage on an in-breaking route by the inside, short side receiver, forcing an incompletion. Late in the 2nd quarter, it appeared that Aiavion began to either get a little confused or he was gassed. He began to play much softer, sitting back and letting the plays come to him. This is not the way he plays best. He is a speed linebacker that must attack the LOS. After ending the half with less than stellar play, Aiavion crushed a lead block and stoned the ball carrier for a short gain on his first opportunity in the second half. Aiavion got beaten on a quick route and didnít come up with the tackle in the 3rd quarter. Getting beaten on the route is not the problem Ė it happens. What is concerning is that Aiavion was not able to redirect quickly enough to make the tackle on the tight end.

    Collin Brence (38) has done a quality job of fitting from outside-in against the run. He doesnít over commit and allow runners to bounce out around him. He looks much more at home than Ahmad Dixon did at an inside linebacker position when the offensive formation dictates that he come inside. He is a good athlete that plays well within the scheme. What I havenít seen yet is the instincts for what the offense is doing that we came to love from last yearís NLB Ė Sam Holl. In addition, Collin was blown off the face of the Earth by a tackle on a slip screen. You might remember how tough both Dixon and Holl were against the screens to the wide side receivers. Collin did a very good job in coverage on receivers, even when the play broke down and the receiver resorted to their scramble drill efforts.


    The secondary did a very good job of disguising their coverages against ISU. They gave a lot of looks that appeared they were in straight man-to-man and then converted into a two-deep look. This can force the opposing QB to check out to a ďman-beaterĒ only to discover that he has umbrella zone coverage. On the other hand, Baylor did play a lot of press man-to-man bump and run coverage on the evening.

    Xavien Howard (4) appears to be a star in the making. This young man isnít quite perfect, but it appears he has the speed to run with fleet wideouts, the size to match them in the air, the instincts to get a hand on the ball at the point of the catch, and good hands to get the interception with the opportunity presents itself. Xavien had 5 tackles on the game and was credited with 3 passes broken up. Thatís a pretty good total for a DB. Even when he might get beaten on a route break, Xavien has excellent closing speed to make up the ground and get to the ball (as he did in the middle of the 1st quarter on a deep square-in). Xavien has a real feel for undercutting the post and square-ins. For all of the troubles that the other cornerback had in this contest, it was Xavien that was beaten by an excellent throw and catch on a fade in the 1st quarter. While he was cleanly beaten on the release, Xavien didnít play it too badly, but the Cyclones were just too good on this play. Xavien was beaten on a back shoulder fade for a first down in the 2nd quarter. On both of these plays, Xavien had forced the receivers to the sidelines and the receiver was barely able to get one foot down in bounds on the catch Ė very close. When the Cyclones tried a slip screen to Xavienís side, the big Baylor corner was all over it, making the tackle for a loss on the play.

    Because Xavien has been so good, opponents have turned to throwing at the wide side cornerback, Ryan Reid (9). Ryan is not quite as big as Xavien and, therefore, has trouble covering the big wide receivers we have seen thus far. Ryanís technique is usually very good, but he is getting beaten because he has to work so hard to make up for his lack of stature. Teams have been throwing high to throw over him, throwing back-shoulder-fades to take advantage of the fact that he is working so hard to stay over the top of the vertical route, and using double moves to get by him because he has to be so aggressive. Ryan is going to have to work through these issues to be able to balance the coverage for the Bears. Ryan was called for a holding when he thought he was beaten by a vertical move in the 1st quarter. Ryan was called for pass interference in the 3rd quarter when he tried to use the big receiverís body to climb up to the point of the throw. It seemed he should have been getting more help from the wide side safety than he got on this play. Reid might have had the ďbone-headĒ play of the game when he jumped offside way out at the wide side corner position when he was trying to time the snap count and get a jam on the receiver.

    Because Ryan is having so much trouble, he might be needing more help from the safeties when they donít have a receiver in their area. Orion Stewart tried to provide some of that help when he was paired with Reid, but it was too little, too late. Orion was made to look pretty bad by Richardson when the QB faked the down safety to his knees on a zone/read keep. Orion has to keep his leverage on the QB in those instances. You get faked out when you allow the player to have a two-way go on you instead of leaving them with only one directional choice by the way you play your leverage. To be honest, Orion seems to have improved his physicality from last fall, despite this play.

    Orion probably made the play of the game when he and Collin Brence successfully sifted through crossing receivers and ended up covering both of them. It was the man that Stewart was covering that the ISU QB tried to unwisely throw a desperation pass. Stewart did a great job of stepping in front of the receiver (who didnít even come back to the ball) for the interception. The score was 14-7 at that point and ISU was having success moving the football. After this point, the Cyclones didnít mount much of a threat until the opening of the 2nd half. This play really turned the tide in the 1st half. Late in the 2nd quarter, Orion almost made an unbelievable play from his down safety position. The Cyclones tried a bubble screen to the short side. Stewart diagnosed it so quickly that he took a shot at trying to either intercept the pass or at least bat it down. Stewart came up empty, but the pursuit was so good that this play netted very little. Stewart showed a lot of savvy on that play. Coach Bennettís aggressive defense play calling got Orion in trouble when the down safety lined up just 5 yards off of a short side, inside receiver with no linebacker help inside. ISU ran the zone/read and the middle linebacker (Hager) was not quick enough on the scrape to make the play (itís the LBís play). Because Orion was so close to the LOS, he got passed too quickly and there was no one deep on that side to stop the big play. Richardson is a lot faster than I thought he was.

    Terrell Burt (13) didnít have many chances in this game. He had one corner route that he was a little late getting to that went for a first down. Collin Brence had done a very effective job of rerouting the receiver, but Terrell just didnít beat the ball to the receiver. Terrell was beaten in man-to-man on a speed out for short yardage. This is an acceptable play because what you donít want to happen is a double move beating you deep. The safety should wait for the delivery of the ball to break on this short route. Terrell was caught hanging on the inside receiver when the Cyclones missed an open post route to the wide side that went right over the cover safetyís head. Brence had done another good job of rerouting the inside receiver and that threat wasnít too severe. Burt should have been able to provide much more help to the wide side corner on this play. Terrell made the tackle on Richardson when he made that big gain on the speed option.


    The Baylor defense has recorded at least 3 sacks in all 4 games this season. This is the longest streak of games with 3 or more sacks since 2001. The pressure that the front four is able to get on the quarterbacks leads me to wonder if the Bears need all of the blitzing that we have seen in the early games this fall. I donít mean that the Bears should totally get away from blitzing. I just think that when Baylor has a 28 point lead, Coach Bennett might want to trust his front four and play more conservative coverages.

    Chris Callahan (40) continues to struggle with his kicking. Hopefully he can get out of this funk and become the kicker that almost everyone knows he can be. Weíre with you, Chris.

    Baylor has a tough game this Saturday. While it is possible for the Bears to put up big numbers in Austin, it probably will be a much closer game than most Baylor fans expect. Look for a tough, physical game that could go all the way down to the wire. Mrs. ftblbob5 and I will be there rooting the Bears on to victory. Go, Bears!
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