Originally Posted by ftblbob5
A new era of football is upon us. Throughout my career, I was taught and believed that if you keep an opponent from scoring more than 21 points you will win almost all of your games. Baylor has led the charge into a new, expanded concept of what is good football by maintaining the following statistic: Since 2010, Baylor is 41-0 when allowing less than 35 points. Baylor is 14-20 when allowing 35+ points. The football concept of what is a good defense, at least with an offense like Baylor’s, has changed. In Stillwater, on Saturday, Baylor played very good defense holding OSU’s undefeated team to only 19 first downs. The Bears totally took away the Cowboy rushing attack, allowing 8 net yards rushing on 23 attempts. That’s 0.3 yards per carry for the entire game. While the Bears did give up 433 yards passing, the Cowboys only completed 28 out of 51 passes for a relatively short 8.5 yards per attempt. The Cowboys only had 74 offensive plays compared to 104 by the Baylor offense. The Bears forced the Cowboys to punt 10 times in the game – TEN! 5 of those possession for the Cowboys were 3-and-outs. 7 of those punts were on consecutive OSU possessions. That’s dominance. The Bears dominated the time of possession (not something Baylor usually is able to do) by allowing the Cowboys to have the ball only 24:31 of the 60 minute game. While the Bears were converting on 16 out of 25 times on 3rd or 4th down, the Cowboys were 5 for 15 on 3rd down (they were 1 of 1 on 4th down). The Bears had 6 sacks in the game, far and away the best pass rushing performance by the Bears in recent years.
Andrew Billings (75) was awesome in the game against the Cowboys. Billings had a 10-yard sack and a 7-yard sack during the game, giving him 3.5 sacks this season (5.5 sacks in his short career). Andrew drove through a Cowboy double team to nail the OSU QB for a sack he was credited with when the officials declared that Rudolph was guilty of “intentional grounding” on the play. Andrew just drove both the center and the guard right back into the lap of Rudolph on this play. It was very impressive. Billings teamed up with the Baylor Bearbacker to make a tackle for a loss of 3 yards on a sweep below the numbers on the wide side of the field. This is a very impressive play by a nose tackle and highlights the importance of the nickel backer turning the play back into pursuing defenders. Billings cleanly beat the Cowboy center for a sack of 7 yards back to the Baylor 45-yard line putting the Cowboys off-schedule, again. Billings was just too quick for a single block of the center. Billings was just FAST on that play.
Jamal Palmer (92) had a 6-yard sack, giving him 4.5 sacks on the season and 12.0 in his career. He’s now tied for 8th on the career sacks list for the Baylor football program. Jamal got great pressure on the QB with a rip move, but Rudolph was able to get the ball off just in time with 1:12 in the 3rd quarter. On his first sack of the 4th quarter, Palmer missed Rudolph the first time, but kept after him and got the Cowboy quarterback on the second time around on that play. It was an excellent example of persistence.
Shawn Oakman (2) had 4 tackles, one for a loss of 2 yards. Shawn set the tempo for the Baylor defense when he knifed in on OSU’s opening play of the game and helped stack up Carson for a short 2-yard gain. Oakman made a spectacular play on the opening series of the next Cowboy possession following OSU tying the score at 14. Shawn was running a stunt that asked the big DE to circle around the nose tackle. Just as Oakman made it around his teammate, the big DE from Pennsylvania ran right into Raymond Taylor, the OSU running back, for a 2 yard loss, putting the Cowboys off-schedule in a critical possession for momentum. Oakman sniffed out another give/keep play stopping Walsh for no gain on 3rd and 2 on a critical second quarter OSU possession. This play by Shawn where he was able to play both the give and the keep forced another punt.
Taylor Young had a 4-yard sack. This gave Taylor 3.0 sacks for the season and 7.0 sacks for his career. When he blitzes, he seems to be shot out of a rifle. Young had only 4 tackles on the evening (a very low total for him), but 2 of those accounted for tackles for a loss. On his sack, Taylor ran a great angle from the outside and reached out to just clip the foot of the Cowboy QB, spilling him for the sack. You’d like to see Young get better at his underneath coverage. He isn’t picking up the inside dig routes as well as you would want, making it too easy for offenses to complete the in-breaking route in front of deeper covering defensive backs. Taylor was terrific on a quick pass on the first play after the Linwood fumble. Young dropped next to the stop route of the inside receiver (taking that option away) and then broke up on the swing pass to the running back. The key for the linebacker is when the QB turns his back to you to throw to the swing pass. You tell linebackers that once he turns his back to you, he’s never coming back to look at the field. Pull the trigger and run your best 40 to the target. That’s just what Young did on this play for no gain.
Grant Campbell (5) continued his improved play on Saturday. He only accounted for 4 tackles, but his performance was improved. Grant made a great play on the Bears’ second defensive snap of the evening when he worked flat down the line and cut off Sheperd for a 5-yard gain. As Grant was tackling Shepherd, Campbell pulled the ball away from the Cowboy receiver and gained what appeared to be a fumble recovery. On the field it was ruled a fumble recovery and a touchdown. As seen by replay, Grant was clearly down with the football in his possession. But the replay official chose to say that he had absolute video evidence that the receiver was down prior to Campbell working the ball lose. I have yet to see conclusive proof that this evidence was available from any of the video clips I have seen of the play. I do not believe that the replay official adhered to his charge to let the call on the field stand if there was no conclusive evidence. I do not know whether the player was down or not, but I do not believe I’ve seen any evidence that meets the prescribed standard to overturn the call on the field. Grant has become much better at recognizing when the QB is outside contain. He is pulling the trigger much faster on these plays and is generating quality pressure on QBs that previously were able to run wild outside the pocket. Grant Campbell got great pressure on Rudolph in the 4th quarter, forcing a pass to be thrown well short of its intended target. Because of this pressure, OSU had to punt, again. Grant has improved his coverage immensely. He was right on top of an out route by a back in the 4th quarter.
Travon Blanchard (48) led the team in tackles with 7 and had 1 ½ tackles for losses. Blanchard had a 9-yard sack, giving him sacks in consecutive games. These were the first sacks of his career. Blanchard is doing a better job of creating contact on inside receivers running vertical to his outside. This makes it much easier for Chance Waz to cover the speed out (the most difficult route for a safety to cover). Chance has always been close on these plays (it’s the reason he starts instead of Burt), but he’s right on top of those guys when Blanchard is able to reroute the vertical stem of the route. Blanchard did a very good job of beating the blocks of lead blockers and perimeter receivers on the attempts by OSU at getting their offense outside of the smothering interior defensive unit. It’s these plays which either turn the play back into pursuing defenders or come up with the stop himself. Travon got his sack when Andrew Billings just bench pressed the Cowboy offensive lineman back into the lap of Rudolph. Rudolph tried to roll out to his left and ran straight into the waiting arms of the Baylor Bearbacker for a 9-yard loss. Billings was a beast in the 1st half last Saturday. Blanchard was called for a face mask penalty which was incorrectly identified as Chance Waz on the opening play of the second half. Blanchard just got his hand tangled in the face mask and got it right out, but the official correctly nailed Travon for the penalty. On the next play, Blanchard was right on top of a swing pass to Carson which the Cowboy running back turned down. Travon was beaten on an inside move by Glidden for a 14-yard gain when the Cowboy receiver sneaked inside with a good move.
Aiavion Edwards (20) had a 6-yard sack (his first of the season and 3rd of his career). On a late 2nd quarter drive, Aiavion came on a delayed blitz when he saw a lane open up in front of him. Aiavion came like a rifle shot and nailed the Cowboy QB for a big loss, putting the Cowboys off schedule. Aiavion got a lot of playing time because of the use of the 3-4 defense, which helped cover up for a lack of quality depth in the defensive line due to the injuries to Beau Blackshear and Byron Bonds. Aiavion came up with a huge stop on 3rd and 1 when he correctly diagnosed a QB keep on a read sweep. Edwards made the play for no gain, forcing an OSU punt. Aiavion came up empty on a tackle attempt on a draw play that led to a gain of 9 yards, turning a possible 3rd and 8 into a 3rd and 1. Aiavion needed to close the distance on that tackle better.
The days of Eddie Lackey and Bryce Hager blowing up every screen pass an offense might try are over. The Baylor linebackers were nowhere to be found on two screen passes tried by the Cowboys.
Xavien Howard (4) had a very good evening. Howard had 6 tackles and was able to break up 2 passes in coverage. Xavien was beaten by an excellent back-shoulder fade down the Cowboy sideline. Rudolph put the ball right behind Howard’s backside ear and just inside the boundary. Howard’s coverage was good, but the OSU execution on this play was better. This play might have been aided by an arm bar by Ateman that held off Howard, but you’d like to see Xavien be more focused with positioning his hands right at the hand placement of the receiver. Howard flailed at where he thought the ball might be ineffectively. Xavien Howard made a huge mistake on an OSU screen pass into the boundary. One major tenant of cornerback play is to NEVER come inside a block and allow the ball to get outside of you and down the boundary. This mental mistake by Xavien allowed the screen to run down the OSU sidelines for a 25-yard gain to the Baylor 42-yard line. On a pass deep into Baylor’s end of the field to Washington, Howard had excellent coverage position, but again failed to really get his hands to the right spot when he stumbled just as the ball was arriving. Luckily, Washington was out of bounds on the play, which forced another Cowboy punt. With time running out in the 1st half, the Cowboys tried to go down the OSU sidelines to Washington. Howard couldn’t have had better position on the elite Cowboy receiver. Xavien made a great play, batting the ball away at the Baylor 20-yard line. Seales made a great catch for a 41-yard gain to the Baylor 38-yard line on a perfectly thrown pass by Rudolph over the outside shoulder of the Cowboy receiver despite quality coverage by Howard. Just a few plays later, Howard was more up to the task when Rudolph had to overthrow Seales against better coverage by Xavien. Xavien was beaten a little too easily on a speed out by Ateman on the Baylor sidelines. The correctly thrown speed out is very difficult to defend, but you’d like Howard to contest that throw a little more closely. On Xavien’s behalf, the Bears had a 24-point lead at that point and he probably wasn’t wanting to be beaten by a double move. On 1st and goal from the Baylor 9-yard line, Howard ran a better route than Seales and might have come up with the interception except for a very good play form the Cowboy receiver to break up the interception (possibly another offensive pass interference that was not called). On a throw into the Baylor end zone with a little over 5 minutes to go in the game, Xavien did a great job of playing the fade route to Sheperd. Howard kept his leverage and batted the ball down about 5-yards deep in the end zone. This was a terrific play.
Ryan Reid (9) was very good on Saturday evening. He accounted for 5 tackles and 1 big pass deflected. One of the things that I was very glad to see is Ryan Reid coming off of wide side coverage on the widest receiver and breaking up on the quick out throw (OSU’s first 3rd down attempt). The quick out has been a very difficult play for Baylor to stop due to the man coverage on the outside by the wide side corner (Blanchard has intercepted one of these passes on a terrific play). On this play, Coach Bennett chose to call halves coverage which allowed Reid to be responsible for the outside flat, with Waz being responsible for the vertical threat. Usually this flat coverage responsibility is based upon reading the inside receiver going to the flat. Reid read the play perfectly and the Cowboys didn’t return to this concept for the rest of the game. For much of the evening, Ryan was in tight bump-and-run coverage. Reid did a very good job of mirroring his receivers and redirecting back to make the play on short throws. The Cowboy receivers are very adept at using the near hand to push off defenders to gain space. Ryan gave up a post on OSU’s first touchdown drive where Ateman was able to create room for the catch by getting a quality push on the route break. On the very next drive, Ryan was victimized by Washington for a 39-yard touchdown. Reid was in good coverage position, but I was surprised that there was no offensive pass interference penalty on Washington for what I thought was a flagrant pushoff on Reid’s shoulder that created just enough space for the completion just beyond the reaching arm of Ryan Reid. Had not Stewart created space, it appeared that Ryan’s excellent placement of his hand at the point of the catch would have knocked this ball away from the receiver. I realize that I have called for two offensive pass interference penalties on the Cowboys (something people that read my analysis know that I seldom do), but I feel both of these were fairly obvious and should have been made (especially the one on the Washington touchdown). Reid finally got the official to throw the flag for offensive pass interference when the Baylor corner completely cut off Ateman on a vertical route. Ateman took both of his hands and pushed Reid in the back to create space. Reid had good coverage on a post route to Sheperd which flew over the heads of both Sheperd and Reid at the Baylor 5-yard line for an incompletion. Reid had good coverage on a fade route to Seales at the Baylor pylon. Reid’s close coverage forced the ball to be thrown out of bounds. On the next drive, Washington cleanly beat Reid, but Rudolph overthrew the pass, fortunately. I don’t know if Washington didn’t get away with another pushoff on that play. From the stands, I thought he did it, but the video didn’t clearly show that point in the route. On the last drive of the evening for the Cowboys, Ryan got beaten on a double move. Reid jumped the speed out and it turned into an out-and-up for a big 48-yard gain for Seales and the Cowboys. At that situation in the game (Baylor leading 45-28 with 1:45 left in the game), you can’t make that mistake. Making that mistake gives OSU a chance to beat you when they had no chance prior to allowing that play.
Tion Wright (3) did a good job in spot duty in relief of Ryan Reid when Wright cutoff Ateman on a vertical route down the Baylor sidelines, causing the ball to fall harmlessly incomplete. It was excellent technique on the play.
Taion Sells (26) had a very good evening in standing in for the injured Orion Stewart. Sells has prepared for this opportunity very well with a great spring and early fall camp. On Saturday, Taion did a very good job of finding the football and making 5 tackles. While Taion is doing a good job, he continues to miss several tackles in his time on the field. He has a tendency (probably due to his size) to tackle very low. The level of difficulty on these tackles is very high. Those backs keep moving their feet and it’s hard to grab them. If Taion could raise the level of his aiming point, he might become much more of a sure tackler. It’s the kind of tackling I remember seeing from him in the spring.
Chance Waz (18) did a very good job of coming off of his injury and played a decent football game. He had a pass deflected. Waz gave up a touchdown on a corner route from the 9-yard line. Waz was in man-to-man coverage and this is a very difficult route to cover when it is executed that well. Waz had close coverage, but not close enough. On one of his best plays all night, Chance Waz did a great job of overlapping in coverage over the top of a vertical throw down the OSU sidelines right at the end of the 3rd quarter. Waz could have possibly been called for helmet-to-helmet contact on the play. He needs to be careful to put his shoulder below the shoulder of the receiver on those plays. By the way, Waz powdered the Cowboy receiver on that play. In the 4th quarter on 4th and 12, Chance was beaten badly when Glidden gave the sophomore safety a great corner fake and then broke to the post. Waz got turned completely around, but hustled back to the receiver and made a critical ankle tackle.
On Washington’s 19-yard touchdown to narrow the score to 38-28, three Baylor Bears missed tackles that could have stopped the Cowboy receiver short of the goal line. These missed tackles could be critical in a tighter ball game. Anytime you tackle an opponent short of the goal line, it gives you another opportunity to stop them. They might fumble, throw an interception, or have to kick a field goal instead of score a touchdown because you are able to make that tackle.
JW Walsh (OSU’s backup quarterback) is very good at the deception of ball faking and handoff mechanics. Even on replay it is very difficult to see where the ball is going until you know the result of the play.
Baylor could have gone in at halftime with 42 points, but didn’t because of two turnovers forced by the Cowboy defense. Baylor did not force a turnover for the first time in 25 games. This streak of games was the longest active turnover streak by a defense in the nation. Baylor was 21-4 during that streak. This is what kept the Cowboys in this game that was dominated by both the Baylor offense and the Baylor defense.
I feel there was significant difference in how the coverage of defensive backs was handle by the deep officiating crew. OSU defenders were allowed to arm bar vertical receivers numerous times, while the Baylor defenders were called for pass interference a couple of times. Even more telling was the fact that only 1 OSU receiver was called for offensive pass interference despite several push offs by Cowboy receivers. I feel that this is one area where most home teams (not named Baylor) get a significant home field advantage.
The Bears play the TCU Horned Frogs in the Revivalry Game in Ft. Worth. This is personal. I know the weather reports are not good. There’s a 100% chance of rain on Friday night. But it is important for the Baylor crowd to overcome these elements and support these guys in person at the stadium. Go, Bears!
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
On a clear, cold night in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the Baylor Bears put to rest one of the most heinous milestones – the hated phrase “the Baylor Bears have not won in Stillwater since 1939.” Despite the fact that the Bears had to play without the services of two of the top defensive tackles on the team (Blackshear and Bonds), the starting All-Conference down safety (Orion Stewart), and the quarterback many were beginning to tout as a possible Heisman prospect (Seth Russell), the battered and bruised Baylor Bears pounded the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 45-35. Subscribing to the “nobody’s a backup, everyone’s a starter” philosophy espoused by Baylor strength coach Kaz Kazadi, the Bears continued to utilize the increased depth developed by the staff of Coach Briles over the past few seasons as starters began to fall by the wayside because of the intense hitting that was going on in the game.
The Baylor Bears were behind the proverbial “8-ball” resulting from a 44-34 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners the previous Saturday in Waco. They were facing an undefeated 4th ranked (AP and USA Today) Oklahoma State Cowboy team in Stillwater, a place where the Bears had lost 11-straight times, dating back to 1939. The Bears had not won back-to-back contests against OSU since winning 9 in a row in the series from 1915-1942 (I wasn’t around for those games). The Cowboys were on a 12-game winning streak (2nd-longest in the nation) coming into this contest. All of that didn’t matter to this current crop of Baylor Bears. The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
With this win, the Bears become the 2nd team (Alabama) to have beaten an AP Top 10 team in each of the last 5 seasons. The Bears are now 41-0 when allowing 35 or less points and are currently undefeated in games played away from Waco in 2015 (5-0). Since 2011, the Baylor Bears are an FBS-best 22-3 in the months of November and December (undefeated in December with a 6-0 mark).
Despite the fact that the Bears lost the turnover battle with the Cowboys (3-0), the Baylor defense put together one of its finest performances in recent years to totally stuff the OSU running game and limit the entire Cowboy offense to a meager (at least by Big XII standards) 441 yards of total offense. Because of the performance of the Baylor defense, the Bears’ offense held a time of possession advantage of 17:07 in the first half. Baylor hasn’t totaled a time of possession mark that high in the first half since the Nick Florence game against Missouri on November 5, 2011.
Baylor continues to be the only team in the nation that has scored on its first drive in every game this fall. The Bears have not only scored, but they have scored a touchdown on each of its opening drives. That is the textbook definition of “starting fast.” On the evening, Baylor gained 700 yards in total offense (12th most in program history) and totaled 32 first downs on a total of 104 plays against an undefeated, 4th ranked opponent, gaining an average of 6.7 yards per play. Wow! Had it not been for those 3 turnovers, this game would have been a total rout.
This was probably the best game of the season for an offensive line that has had many very good games. The Bears mashed the Cowboys’ highly respected defensive line for 304 net rushing yards on 73 rushing attempts for a 4.2 yards per carry average. In addition, the Bears gave up only 1 sack on the evening against a Cowboy front that has terrorized Big XII quarterbacks this season. The quality of pass protection in this game was very impressive. The Baylor quarterbacks were able to take their time (especially the true freshman quarterback in the first half) and survey the field most of the evening. This was a quality performance against a quality opponent.
The game was a very good rebound from an up-and-down performance the previous week against the Sooners. On Saturday, the Bears were able to maintain control of the football due to the ability to convert 14 of 22 3rd downs and 2 of 3 4th downs to continue to keep possession of the football from the explosive Cowboys.
The starting group of Spencer Drango (58) at left tackle, Blake Muir (73) at left guard, Kyle Fuller (55) at center, Jarell Broxton (61) at right guard, and Pat Colbert (69) at right tackle were terrific on Saturday. Desmine Hilliard (67) contributed some quality time at right guard.
At least a portion of the time, Spencer Drango had to block what many consider to be the best pass rushing defensive end in college football, Ogbah. Drango dominated this matchup. In fact, this eye-opening performance might have won several post-season awards for the big tackle from Cedar Park. Drango was almost never in jeopardy of losing his protection against this lethal pass rusher. The balance and control exhibited by Spencer against a player like Ogbah in this game was very, very impressive. Drango was so dominant that OSU chose to move Ogbah to the other side of the defensive line to see if he could have more success. Spencer continues to be a little wider on his wrap blocks (the Dart play) than I would like him to be. Usually, Spencer is athletic enough to still get his block, but a tighter path would make this much easier for him. Spencer has always been very good at pinning defensive ends that choose to stunt inside. With backs like the Bears possess, this means that quickly the Bears are crossing the white stripes on the field outside the forcing unit of the defense. Drango was slightly beaten by Ogbah on a 2nd and 7 pass in the 2nd half, but the quarterback saved him by stepping up in the pocket and delivering the ball for a 6-yard gain.
On Baylor’s first touchdown, Blake Muir and Kyle Fuller opened a huge hole in the left A gap for the H-back to lead through. The H-back got the remaining linebacker and the running back streaked into the end zone, untouched. Kyle did a very effective job of chipping off of defensive linemen and picking up linebackers that were trying to run through gaps made by the apparent double-teams. In fact a large portion of the success the Bears were able to have in the interior of the OSU defensive line should be credited to Kyle’s ability to help the guards on their DT and then work vertically to pick up a quality block on the middle linebacker. Kyle did this well for most of the evening. When Blake Muir gets a chance to pull on power scheme (or the delayed draw), it is usually very bad news for the opposing linebackers. Blake doesn’t just block them, he buries them. He probably gets as many pancakes on these blocks as all of the other offensive linemen combined. Blake is almost always perfect in his wrap technique. He follows the butt line of his buddy offensive linemen until he finds and unblocked color and takes the leverage the positioning of that defender dictates. If there is space between the butt of the down blocker, Blake kicks that defender out. If the defender is squeezing the down blocker, Blake turns up and logs (blocks the outside edge of) the defender and frees the ball carrier to the outside. His blocks are very easy for the running backs to read because he doesn’t try to dictate where the back needs to go – he lets the reaction of the defense dictate this.
Jarell Broxton continues to get great movement on his drive blocks, but he is improving on his pulls, as well. On the opening play of Baylor’s second series, Jarell was pulling and the playside linebacker stunted through the B gap. Often this will catch a player by surprise, especially one like Jarell that does less pulling than others. On this play, Jarell did a terrific job of looking in his block and then maintaining quality contact on the play. Jarell did have another false start penalty. Jarell lost his drive block on a delay draw (by the way, this play shows a lot of promise for future quality yardage for the Bears) that appeared to be head for a big play. Drive blocking is Jarell’s claim to fame. He needs to be better than this. Jarell sprung the running back for a big 15-yard gain on a power play to the left side when the big guard ran a great wrap path and picked up the linebacker with a terrific block that drilled the defender. In the 2nd quarter, Desmine Hilliard got some quality playing time and did a good job of drive blocking.
Pat Colbert played much better against OSU than the previous week against OU. Colbert continues to struggle, at times, with maintaining quality leverage in both run and pass blocking on quicker defenders. Pat lost a block at the point of attack in Baylor’s 3rd series that resulted in a minimal gain. Pat’s base is too narrow and he’s carrying his hips too high. He’s got to get better knee bend and work from a wider base (feet wider) if he is to become more effective on a consistent basis. Like Drango, Colbert was a little wide on his wrap blocks on the Dart play. On Colbert’s first attempt at a Dart pull, the linebacker was able to get underneath Pat as the big tackle came around. A tighter path to the down blocks eliminates this opportunity for the linebacker. On a second quarter pass play, Pat was victimized by Ogbah (who had moved over to the defensive left side), who drilled the quarterback just as the throwing motion was started. This kind of hit on a QB just beginning the throwing motion can cause possible injury on occasions. With 45 seconds left in the 1st half, Pat got beaten on a speed rush by Ogbah. The OSU defensive end turned the corner, stripped the ball as he was sacking the quarterback, and recovered the ball. Pat struggles with speed players and the quarterback didn’t help Pat much when he did not step up in the pocket (probably because he was playing with a broken bone chip in his heel at that point). Pat missed another block on Ogbah in the 3rd quarter which led to a 1 yard loss for Devin Chafin. Ogbah is a quality defensive lineman and many people struggle to block him.
Scheme-wise, the Bears utilized a lot of tackle over formation where one of the tackles lined up as an ineligible tight end (because the receiver on that side was one the line of scrimmage) and the tight end lined up at the opposite tackle position as an eligible receiver (because the wide receiver to that side was off of the line of scrimmage. The Bears use this scheme to check secondary coverage. If the secondary doesn’t account for the eligible tight end, the Bears will throw to him. If the defense accounts for the tight end, then the Bears usually run to the double tackle side, giving them excellent drive blocking potential behind Colbert and Drango. This tactic worked very well on Saturday.
Another tactic that surfaced this week was putting the quarterback under center on the goal line. You might remember that this tactic allowed for Baylor to utilize the unique talents of their big H-back last fall. On Saturday, Baylor went against the tendency to use the H-back as a kickout blocker and ran the tailback vertically, inside the H-back’s alignment. This formation brings the kickout play back into the Baylor arsenal. It, also, might open up a pass to the H-back from this formation…just saying.
Shock Linwood (32) continues to have an amazing year. Shock carried the ball 20 times (some after tweaking his ankle) for a 93 yard total, leading the Baylor backs with a 4.6 yards per carry average. Linwood has become a special back. He has a low center of gravity that makes him difficult to knock off of his feet. Shock has built up his lower body to the point where defenders often bounce off of those thighs and Shock just continues on up the field for additional yardage. He becomes a “rolling ball of butcher knives” to tackle – that’s hard for any defender. In addition, Shock has become more of an all-round running back in that he has improved his pass protection, demonstrated his ability to catch the football in a variety of circumstances, and continues to do a quality job of carrying out his fakes when he doesn’t get the ball. On the second play of Baylor’s second series, Coach Kendal Briles tried a trick play. The play was designed to catch the defense off-guard by simulating the look of the quarterback trying to get additional instructions from the sidelines. The idea was to snap the ball directly to Shock for a quick hitting play by the defenders that were expecting the quarterback to eventually come back to start the play. Fuller snapped the ball over the head of a leaping Shock Linwood, but the heady running back tracked the ball down, turned upfield, and turned what could have been a disaster into a quality 8-yard gain and a Baylor first down. While Shock is a good pass protector most of the time, there are times when he could develop a little more space between himself and the quarterback rather than waiting on the defender at the QB’s feet. Even when a back makes a block, if he’s in close proximity to the QB, it can result in the QB feeling pressure, especially if the running back utilizes a cut block. Shock had a fumble which stopped a promising drive. The ball came loose just as Linwood was nearing the ground. Shock tries very hard to get every available yard out of a play and probably got a little loose with the ball as he was falling. He must protect the ball all the way to the ground against ball-hawking teams like OSU (and TCU, by the way). Finally, with less than 2 minutes to go in the 1st half, Shock came out of the game trying not to put any weight on his left leg. Any leg injury (ankle or knee) to a running back is very troublesome. His status against TCU on Friday has to be very doubtful despite the fact that Shock tried to come back in the game later.
The Bears did a great job of sharing the carries on this evening between the top 3 running backs. Each one of these guys gave second and third effort on almost every one of their carries. They just refused to be taken down by the first tackler. Johnny Jefferson (5) had 17 carries for 63 yards and Devin Chafin (28) had 16 carries for 61 yards. Jefferson did a great job of picking up a corner blitz to Johnson’s backside on a short pass to Jay Lee. If Jefferson doesn’t get that block, Chris gets hit right in the back, possibly fumbling the ball. Devin Chafin gets tough yardage carries like the 4th and 2 on Baylor’s opening drive of the 2nd half. If the Bears fail to gain the line to gain on this play, Baylor give the ball to OSU on the OSU 41 yard line with the Cowboys trailing by only 10 points and the Bears playing with their 3rd string quarterback. Like almost always happens, Devin drove through quality contact, kept his legs churning and fell forward for the first down, keeping the Baylor drive alive. There were several plays in the late 3rd and early 4th quarters where Devin was able to get outside and punish defensive backs. I’m sure that the Cowboy DBs enjoyed that a lot. On the last meaningful drive for Baylor in the game, it was Devin that pounded the ball into an OSU defense that knew the Bears were going to run for carries of 2, 4, and 4 yards to keep the clock and the sticks moving.
Gus Penning (15) appears to have taken over the starting H-back/tight end spot from LaQuan McGowan (80). Penning is just more reliable. His pass protection is more than adequate and his run blocking is far more consistent than the biggest H-back in football. Penning was very weak on the incomplete pass to Coleman in the Baylor corner of the end zone in the 1st quarter. The OSU defensive end was able to drive Gus right back into the quarterback’s lap. When McGowan gets his block, those blocks are awesome. It’s the swing and misses that are rendering the Baylor offense inconsistent in the running attack. This week, with Penning getting the majority of snaps, the running attack was running on all cylinders.
In one of the more interesting moves all evening, Jordan Fuerbacher (85) came into the game as an H-back/tight end. This burned his red-shirt that he had kept on for the entire season in the 9th game of the year. I think that this shows the level of discontent with the performance of LaQuan McGowan. Jordan is a bigger body than Penning and has the potential to bring more impact on his blocks. But Fuerbacher tended to stop his feet on contact and not follow through with his blocks as well as you would want him to do. This was Jordan’s first live action since last fall, so he gets a break on this. Next week, he should be better. To his credit, he did begin to play more physically in the 4th quarter. Jordan did a great job of releasing out of the back field vertically and getting open behind the linebackers for a quality gain that was called back due to an “ineligible receiver downfield” penalty (Drango).
Jarrett Stidham (3) was 12 of 21 passing for 258 yards, 1 touchdown pass, and no interceptions. Jarrett opened the game on the first play from scrimmage with a 48-yard perfect pass over the outside shoulder of the receiver. Stidham followed that pass up with a touchdown pass on his next completion on a double move to KD Cannon. Jarrett pumped faked throwing the short hitch route. When the safety took the bait, Jarrett gave a quick roll to the right and threw the ball over the head of the defender and into the waiting arms of Cannon for a 59-yard touchdown pass, making the score 14-0. That’s starting fast. Jarrett missed another opportunity at a big play and possible touchdown when he threw too wide on an inside vertical route to Chris Platt. Platt clearly had the safety beaten, but Jarrett threw too wide for Platt to make the play (Chris didn’t appear to pick up the ball as quickly as you might have liked and was unable to make this adjustment). Jarrett has shown the tendency to miss wide on vertical routes close to the boundary. On 4th and 4, Jarrett probably misread the coverage and chose to go to a pressed Corey Coleman instead of KD Cannon lined up on the short side with a safety in softer coverage. Corey tried to deek the corner by coming off slowly and then bursting to get the corner to bail. The OSU corner was not fooled and was so close that Stidham threw high and over everyone’s head, turning the ball back to OSU after the Cowboys had scored to narrow the spread to 14-7 on their previous possession. On the next possession, Stidham wisely threw the ball away on 1st down when Corey Coleman ran a double move that clearly beat the OSU corner but tripped as he was running past the defender. Instead of forcing the ball into a “muddy” situation, Stidham allowed the Baylor offense to line up again. The pressure on that play probably caused Jarrett to leave the pocket a little too quickly on the next. Jay Lee appeared to be open for a moment on a curl (Jarrett would have had to throw it on the break to beat the inside safety help). But Stidham was already flushing out of the pocket despite the fact that only a DT might have been able to apply pressure (and that only happened after Jarrett had pulled the ball down and started to move in the pocket). As if to demonstrate that he COULD stand in the pocket, on the next play Jarrett stood in the pocket very strongly and threw a strike to KD Cannon for a 42-yard gain when the inside receiver had beaten (ever so slightly) the safety on another vertical route. While there are things that Jarrett could do better, you have to admire the way he stands in the pocket (most of the time) and is willing to take the hit while delivering the ball downfield. The best revenge a quarterback can get on a blitzing defender is to complete the pass. On a late 1st quarter play, Jarrett flushed quickly again when the receiver came open behind the linebacker and in front of the safety just a moment later. This play followed a previous pass play where the receiver allowed himself to be taken out of a crossing route, so it might have been that Jarrett got a little “antsy” on this one. There was pressure on him across his face, but he could have and should have stepped slightly to his right and thrown the ball. To his credit, Jarrett did pick up 8 yards on the scramble and a Baylor 1st down. While he might have been a little “antsy,” it doesn’t take long for Jarrett to stop and set his feet to throw. The best example of this is a dig route to Lynx Hawthorne (7). Stidham probably didn’t have to move, but he started to flush to his left. Hawthorne was open when Jarrett started to move but the receiver became even more open that split second later. Stidham immediately set his feet and delivered a laser to Lynx for a 17-yard gain. Jarrett and KD Cannon teamed up for a great throw and catch in the 2nd quarter on a back shoulder fade. Cannon couldn’t get on top of the corner, so Jarrett threw the ball high and to Cannon’s back shoulder. KD went high to grab the ball over the top of the OSU defender who had done a great job in coverage. This was a terrific play by both of these young Baylor Bears. Jarrett has done a very good job when he has had to implement the “scramble drill.” In the 2nd quarter, Jarrett found Jay Lee as Stidham had to scramble to his right. Lee had pressed in on his route and then pushed out, opening himself up for the throw. This bit of ad lib netted the Bears 17 yards and a 1st down. On a 3rd and 9 at the OSU 21-yard line, Jarrett ran a veer read and kept the ball. He picked up 4 yards on the play, but had his foot caught underneath the defender’s legs, which twisted his ankle. Jarrett had his ankle taped and came back to run the last series of the half (he also did the kneel down play with :12 left). On this final series, Jarrett handed the ball off 4 times, but was sacked by Ogbah for the only OSU sack of the game (despite the fact that the Cowboys led the conference in sacks). Jarrett fumbled on that play and Ogbah recovered it. On that play, Jarrett needs to do a better job of holding the ball a little higher and using a more secure two-handed grip prior to starting his throwing motion. Subsequently, we have found out that Jarrett chip a bone in his ankle and will have to miss the next two ball games. Baylor will miss this talented true freshman.
Chris Johnson (13) was 5 for 10 passing for 138 yards, 2 touchdown passes, and 1 interception. Remember, the Bears were only up 24-14 (despite dominating most of the action) in the first half. Chris came into the game when the outcome was very much in doubt. Most teams would have struggled when they had to bring in a quarterback who was 3rd on the depth chart (and had spent much of the year as a wide receiver) – not the Bears. On the 2nd play from scrimmage with Chris at QB, the Bryan-product tried to hit KD Cannon on a vertical route behind the safety. Chris might have slightly underthrown the pass, but a terrific play by the DB kept this play from going the distance. It was a hint of things to come from this young man getting his first significant playing time of his career. On the next play (3rd and 8), Coach Kendal Briles dialed Chris’ number on zone fake opposite with Fuerbacher leading on the defensive end. Johnson demonstrated his formidable running ability with a quality 10 yard run for a 1st down. Remember, Chris is 6’5” and 240 pounds, with good speed. That’s intimidating to the average defensive back. On Saturday, one of the things that Chris did (probably better than Jarrett) was throw on time. Chris was seeing what Coach Kendal Briles was expecting to be seen on almost every play. Johnson made a quick decision and threw on time. This is a real help to pass protection. With the Bears on the OSU 39-yard line, Johnson threw a perfect pass beating double coverage on the short side and putting the ball neatly in the outstretched hands of Jay Lee for a 39-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears up 31-14. This play was awesome and it was huge in the context of the game. Johnson got a big psychological lift in his confidence, the team got a surge from his performance and the QB’s elated reaction to the play, and the Cowboys went down 3 scores to a Baylor team that was hitting on all cylinders. On the next possession, Chris duplicated the quality of his previous throw by hitting KD Cannon on a dig-and-go. Johnson placed the ball right on the stretched out hands of KD (not an underthrown ball like the initial throw to KD earlier in the half) for a 71-yard touchdown that placed the Bears a little more comfortably ahead of the Cowboys. In the give/keep read portion of the game, Chris was very solid with his reads. He didn’t seem to predetermine these plays and allowed the positioning of the defender to tell him whether to give or keep the ball. With backs like Baylor possesses and with the power running ability of a player like Chris Johnson, this portion of the Baylor offense looks very good. Johnson seemed to get a little “antsy” in the pocket when he had to wait for Corey Coleman to complete a stop route to the wide side of the field on 3rd and 10 at the BU 49-yard line. Chris drilled his pass into the ground about 5 yards in front of the Baylor receiver. This led to Baylor’s first punt of the evening. Like Stidham, there were times where this young quarterback chose to tuck the ball and run when just a .1 second of patience would have opened up his desired receiver. These young guys need to be patient and let their primary reads uncover themselves out from behind linebacker drops. Right now, they see “muddy” and they run. On Chris’ worst play of the night, the Bears tried a double move with the inside receiver that did not fool the safety. Chris was forced to roll left (the harder way to roll and throw on the run). Under duress and running left, Chris unwisely tried to heave the ball deep to Coleman. He badly underthrew the pass and had it intercepted and returned 34 yards to the Baylor 48-yard line. This is mistake that doesn’t need to be repeated. Throw the ball away, young man. Throw it away. The Bears took over possession of the football following an OSU touchdown which narrowed the Baylor lead to 38-28 with 5 minutes left in the contest. The Bears methodically ran the ball with a combination of running back runs and quarterback keeps the remaining 30 yards and ended the drive with 2:10 left on the clock on a 4-yard run by Chris Johnson (the 3rd touchdown the BU QB was part of in the 2nd half). On that drive, Chris had two big carries for 7 yards and the touchdown run for 4 yards. That is finishing off a game.
The quarterbacks did a great job of spreading around the catches between the top receivers for Baylor.
KD Cannon (9) led the Bears with 210 receiving yards on 5 catches, with 2 touchdown receptions. KD did a great job of selling the short stop route which drew the safety in to the point that Cannon was so far behind the next defender available that the Mt. Pleasant-product could jog into the end zone. On the next series, Cannon and Stidham were right on the same page with each other when they read the bail coverage of the corner that had lined up as if to press KD. Rather than continue to use his speed in an effort to outrun a defender that was clearly defending deep, KD stopped at 10 yards and was wide open for a quality gain of 14 yards. On KD’s 42-yard gain later in the 1st quarter, KD had to fight through an arm bar by the safety (who drew a flag for pass interference) to get to the ball. KD curled back toward the ball and made the catch at a point below his knees. Last fall, KD would have allowed that contact to take him off of his path and then asked for a flag. A few plays later, when the OSU corner came off of his short coverage, KD had to go up for the ball at its highest point to out-fight the defender for a ball on a corner route. The pass was thrown out of bounds, but KD came up with the catch against two contending defenders. The fact that KD has learned to keep fighting back to the ball through whatever contact he may be getting is a huge step in his maturation. KD was the receiver that should have been on the line of scrimmage on the 2nd quarter “illegal formation” penalty. In the 2nd half, KD beat the safety on the Bears 2nd play from scrimmage, but did not go up to catch the ball. I’m sure he felt that the safety was completely beaten and he just needed to keep running. But to the DB’s credit, he hustled back and somehow got a hand on the ball to deflect away what appeared to be a sure 79-yard touchdown. On KD’s 71-yard touchdown reception from Chris Johnson, KD completely sold the safety that he was going to run a dig or a bend route inside of the safety. The safety turned his hips inside and KD sprinted by to the outside, passing the safety vertically. KD did a great job of stretching for the football, hauled it in, and sprinted the rest of the way to the goal line, putting the Bears up 38-14.
Jay Lee (4) had 5 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. Jay’s first catch of the night was a bend route behind the linebacker and in front of the safety. Jay knew he was going to take a hit, but held on to the ball. I highlight this play because that is an indication of Jay’s maturation. Early in Jay’s career, that play most certainly would have been a drop. This season, Jay is making most of the tough catches. Lee did a great job of running off the corner and stopping to give Johnson an easy 6 yard toss for 16-yard gain and an early completion.
A lot of people are concerned about Corey Coleman (1) not being able to mount the numbers Baylor fans have seen previously this season. What is happening is that Coleman is being double-teamed almost every play with either a corner and a safety or a corner and an outside linebacker. Despite this, Corey had 5 receptions for 77 yards. Corey had another drop. This one was a crossing route…again. Corey needs to prove that he is willing to catch those kinds of routes if he wants to realize all of his hopes and dreams. On a 2nd quarter play, Corey forced Stidham to have to scramble when the junior receiver from Richardson Pearce ran into the nickel linebacker and couldn’t get into the open space behind the linebacker and in front of the safety. Corey should be a more alert route runner than that. These receiver errors caused the hits to mount up on a quarterback that already had a tender back from the vicious late hit given to him by the OU safety on the 3rd play of the game last week. Corey looked very good on inside look at the OSU 4-yard line. With a 1st down on the OSU 18, Corey ran a bend from an inside receiver position on the safety. Coleman knew that he was going to take a quality hit, but sill caught the ball, giving the Bears a 1st down deep inside Cowboy territory. Midway through the 2nd quarter, Corey had an opportunity against the OSU safety where the safety was able to hold off Corey from getting to the football for a touchdown catch. While video replay shows that the safety without a doubt used an arm bar (which should have been penalized), Corey didn’t get the corner turned to be able to get his hands on the ball like we discussed KD Cannon had done earlier in the game. Because of this, Corey didn’t get the benefit of the doubt on the pass interference penalty (but it still should have been a penalty). Corey had another clear drop on a deep pass from Johnson down the Baylor sidelines. Corey was well defended and might have felt like the defender was going to bat the ball away. But the ball got through to the junior’s hands and should have been caught for what would have been a 35-yard gain. Corey came up HUGE on the onside kickoff attempt by the Cowboys following the OSU touchdown that narrowed the lead to 38-28. Not only did Corey catch the big hop cleanly, but he returned the ball 18 yards to the OSU 30-yard line. The front line players did a great job of blocking the quickest coverage men, so that Corey was not contested when he was trying to catch the ball. When you execute like that it makes very difficult plays seem to be very easy. There is nothing easy about gaining possession of the ball on an onside kick.
Lynx Hawthorne (7) had 1 reception for 17 yards. Ishmael Zamora (8) got to catch one pass for 5 yards.
Lynx Hawthorne did a great job of fair catching the 10 punts the Cowboys were forced to try by the stout Baylor defense. Chris Platt (14) and Ishmael Zamora did a good job of returning the kickoffs of the Cowboys. It was great to see Chris use his speed to run outside of the angled kickoff coverage employed by OSU on the opening kickoff. This type of coverage is used by most collegiate programs. Its purpose is to reduce the percentage of the field available to the return team by pinning the returner on one side of the field. Chris looked like he was going to come up the near hash, but then used his jets to bounce around the coverage men responsible for keeping Platt on the side of the field they wanted to overload. Chris almost succeeded in getting around everyone and taking the opening kickoff to the house. He got the ball out to the Baylor 36-yard line, but he almost went much further.
Chris Callahan missed a 45-yard field goal in the 1st quarter, but came back to make a 34-yarder in the 2nd quarter. Drew Galitz (36), whose head coach was a former assistant for me, punted the ball very well. He doesn’t get called on very often in most games, but when he does, this young punter is money. Galitz’ first punt was a 40-yard punt that rolled dead at the ½ yard line – Awesome. His next punt was designed to be another chip shot. He didn’t quite hit that one right, but still had the ball at the 20-yard line, giving the Cowboys an 80-yard field to negotiate against a Baylor defense that was playing its best game of the year.
As part of the crowd in our corner of Boone Pickens Stadium, I want to say that I thought the support given by these hearty fans that traveled to Stillwater that evening was great to see. The support was uniformly positive and consistent. The fans in the stands initiated many of the supportive cheers. It is my opinion that the young men on the field noticed this, because several times in the game after touchdowns scored in that end of the field, the Bears pointed to the Baylor crowd in that corner to thank them for the support. It was a very fun night.
Originally Posted by blackie
This is why they want to delay the start of the season until December.
Not sure how that would help.
Originally Posted by JGTBH
Did TU start a true freshman QB?
Did OU have the Tulsa game circled in red since last November?
comparing the two is just silly...
what is your point?
Do you want us to pay Kendall less?
Do you really want Briles to get rid of both coordinators right now or are you just screaming at the rain?
x, I'm really sad we lost to OU too...
Originally Posted by HotDog
Originally Posted by beejee
I thought peanuts would be safe. Wrong, wrong, wrong. RANCID peanuts are not good.
Again I can't say how how sorry I am if you got an out of date product. I do hope that you brought it our attention so we could make it right.
I've searched all of the sites. Certainly I saw a few things that were really disappointing. I'll fix those. But with that we said Hello to more than 30,000 fans on Saturday Night! I've posted my phone / text and email information on the site. If you run to something - call me, text me. I'll get all over it!
Some serious advice. Volunteers are fine, but the less consistent your staff, the more prepared you will have to be. Pre-prepared and prestocked. The battle was lost before the game even started. Register must be complicated because every time I have ordered something they look like they are trying to launch a rocket.