Originally Posted by ftblbob5
The Baylor Bears’ defense got 4 turnovers (2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions) and had 5 other stops against the Red Raiders’ offense. These turnovers are critical because of the difficulty any team might have in stopping the Red Raiders’ highly-effective offense. Regardless of their 3-2 record, Tech has defeated Arkansas and played number two TCU to a 54-52 loss on a fluke play at the last seconds of the game. This is not last year’s Texas Tech team. These guys have a very balanced offense (in that they can throw the ball to any receiver and still run the ball fairly well) and a quarterback who is a true playmaker, probably better out of the pocket than in the pocket. They play a wide-open style of offensive football that tries to place defenders in wide open spaces, daring them to make a tackle on the quick footed offense skill players that Tech seems to have by the hundreds.
In addition, Tech was willing to play with more risk than most teams. The Red Raiders tried 6 different “trick plays” against the Bears. When you play a team that plays like they have nothing to lose, sometimes they can make plays when a more conservative team might be punting. The Red Raiders “went for it” on 4th down 5 times in the game. They made only two of those, but those two conversions kept drives alive that might otherwise have ended if the Bears were playing a team less willing to “live on the edge.” The Bears held the Red Raiders to less than a 50% conversion rate on 3rd down (8 of 18 for 44.4%).
On the negative side, the Bears did give up a lot of yards (but not many points, relatively speaking). Tech tallied 636 yards of total offense and 530 of it was through the air. The Red Raiders completed 62% of their passes (40 of 65) and averaged 13.2 yards per completion. They had four touchdowns through the air and one by rushing. From the beginning, it appears that Coach Bennett was planning on bringing the pressure on Mahomes because he was nursing a bad knee. This philosophy put defenders in one-on-one matchups with the quick footed Tech skill players. Those guys took full advantage of these opportunities (despite dropping several passes that could have gone for significant yardage).
The defensive line did a great job of controlling the Tech rushing attack and their quality running back, DeAndre Washington. Washington carried the ball 13 times for only 41 yards, a 3.0 yards per carry average. In playing the run, the Baylor line dominated the experienced Tech offensive linemen. There was just no place to go. Shawn Oakman (2) and Andrew Billings (75) were standouts against the run for the Bears. Oakman and Billings are not credited with many tackles or ANY sacks, but they did a great job of hemming in a dangerous quarterback and stuffing run blockers to reduce the effectiveness of Washington.
Against the pass, the Bears’ strategy appeared to be to try and keep the slippery Pat Mahomes within the pocket. We didn’t see much of the sprinter-style pass rush from the defensive ends. The defensive tackles appeared to be happy with a bull rush technique, keeping their relative position in their rush lanes occupied. This concentrated effort to keep Mahomes in the pocket probably reduced the amount of pressure that was applied directly to the quarterback, but it, also, reduced the number of times the Tech QB got outside of contain or was able to scramble. These were two huge goals for the Baylor defense going into the game.
Mahomes was most dangerous when he was able to extend plays by rolling to one side or the other. On Tech’s opening drive, the Bears appeared to be squeezing the pocket on the Tech quarterback when Jamal Palmer (92) was not able to mount much of a rush to Mahomes right. The Tech quarterback rolled away from pressure and heaved a ball deep and beyond a defending safety that misjudged the ball for a Tech touchdown. This was a harbinger of things to come. Whereas Tech was able to complete quite a few passes, the big plays came when the quarterback was able to roll to one side or the other, getting out of the pocket. To his credit, Jamal Palmer was the most productive pass rusher on the Baylor defense. Palmer is credited with 4 quarterback hurries on the afternoon. Jamal does a great job of using his hands to free him, like he did on his first quarterback hurry in the 1st quarter. In addition, Palmer is very good (like Oakman) of coming down the heel-line of the offensive line and making plays on inside dives or on runs away from their side for little or no gain.
Andrew Billings is becoming a much more effective pass rusher. Against the Tech center and guards, Andrew was giving those big guys the slip quite often. This forced the QB to unload the ball much earlier than he would have liked.
One thing I saw that I have never seen previously was the Tech right guard drive blocking Beau Blackshear (95) 4-5 yards down field. Usually, Beau is much too strong to be driven off the ball like this. Beau had a decent day. He is credited with 4 tackles on the afternoon, which is a little above his average production. KJ Smith (56) got 2 quarterback hurries in the snaps he received. KJ doesn’t get quite as many snaps as some of the others, so getting 2 hurries are very productive.
Taylor Young (1) is the bell cow at linebacker for the Bears. He leads the way. He sets the tempo. The Desoto product is as active as any linebacker in the conference. Against the Red Raiders, Taylor had 8 total tackles, two of which were for losses. Aiavion Edwards (20) came in for Taylor and got quarterback hurry on Davis.
Grant Campbell (5) had an active day, with 9 total tackle and quarterback hurry to his credit. Grant made some quality plays on the afternoon, but Grant continues to miss tackles in the hole at the line of scrimmage. He does this because he stops closing grass with his feet and reaches, diving at the runner’s ankles. Campbell needs to keep squeezing the ball carrier and run his eyes right through the opponent’s chest, rather than diving at their feet. A huge play early in the game was a blitz by Campbell, where the MLB was unblocked and had a bead on Mahomes. Campbell ran right at Mahomes and the Tech quarterback faked out the linebacker, rolled left and found a waiting receiver for a touchdown. Coach Bennett and Coach Briles both got after Campbell quite spiritedly when he got to the sidelines. My question is: how many more times are they going to chew him out rather than just seeing what another defender (Raaquan Davis - #19) might be able to do? The change to Chance Waz (18) is paying dividends. Another change might pay off, too. What how many times you see Campbell reaching with his feet stopped, arms extended as the ball carrier speeds past the Baylor defender. Grant made a foolish mistake when he took a late shot on Mahomes after the whistle blew at the end of the long interception return.
Travon Blanchard (48) continues to be very solid at the Bearbacker position for Baylor. Travon had some critical plays against the Red Raiders. Travon made a huge play late in the 2nd quarter with the Bears leading 49-21, but Tech was driving. Blanchard forced a fumble by Brown right on the Baylor sidelines. Safety Chance Waz (18) recovered the ball on the Tech 40-yard line (the play was reviewed by ruled to “stand”). While the offense didn’t score on that possession, it kept the margin at 28 going into halftime. Travon, also, got a good interception when he out-fought a fellow defender for a prayer thrown up by Mahomes under heavy pressure from Jamal Palmer.
Patrick Levels (21) was outstanding as the extra nickel linebacker in the 3-4 package Coach Bennett employed for some of the first half and most of the second half. Levels was used as an edge blitzer and tallied 2 tackles, 3 QB hurries, and almost had a pick six (he needs to work on his catching skills, LOL).
The overall coverage concept appeared to be to take away the deeper in-breaking routes and then react up on the check down routes Tech ran under those deeper routes. Tech is good at taking what you give them and they have displayed superior patience for an air-raid-type offense. This makes them doubly hard to contain. The Bears were very lucky that 2 or 3 passes (right on target) were dropped by the Red Raider receivers.
Orion Stewart (28) had a very active day. Against a passing offense like Tech’s, it is not surprising that a safety would be the leading tackler for the Bears. Stewart had 10 total tackles, and a forced fumble which he also recovered. Stewart made this big play on Tech’s first drive of the 2nd quarter. Just as the ball carrier was going to the ground, Orion yanked the ball loose and right into his arms, stopping the drive and giving the Baylor offense the ball at the Baylor 41-yard line. Baylor quickly turned this turnover into another touchdown. Early in the game, Orion made a “bonehead” play when he totally misjudged a deep ball thrown by Mahomes when he was able to get out of the pocket to the right. Mahomes hit Zach Austin for a way too easy 55 yard touchdown to tie the score, 7-7.
Chance Waz has taken over at the cover safety position (this is the safety that plays to the wide side of the field). Chance continues to be a solid player that has shown he is a sure tackler. Waz had 8 total tackles on the afternoon, plus a fumble recovery. Like Burt, Waz is struggling with covering the square-out (what many call the quarters beater, because it is so difficult to cover this route and not give up something deeper, if you do). In the 1st quarter, Giles beat Waz for 18 yards, but the true sophomore safety drove on the ball very well and made a quality tackle in the open field. Later, Chance gave up a touchdown when Mahomes got out of the pocket and found Brown just beyond the young safeties ability to reach the ball. At the end of the 1st half, Waz did a great job of reacting to the loose ball and corralling it prior to touching the out of bounds line (at least, that’s what they said on the field).
Xavien Howard (4) continues to have a good year (not perfect, but good). Against the Red Raiders, Xavien broke up 2 passes and had a big interception and return of 46-yards to flip the field for the Bears. Xavien, also, is credited with 4 tackles on the afternoon. Xavien was very quick to react up on a pass from Mahomes to Washington in the 1st quarter. Howard nailed the elusive running back for just a 1 yard gain. Xavien got tagged for a defensive holding penalty on a 4th and 8, giving the Red Raiders 10 yards and an automatic first down when he grabbed Austin as the Red Raider went by the cornerback.
Ryan Reid (9) had a decent, but not spectacular, game against the Red Raiders. Ryan broke up one pass against Tech and he was close in coverage on several more. On a post (that was dropped) in the first half, it seemed that Reid was gliding (not running full-out) behind the receiver like he thought the ball might not come that way. Corners have to be ready all the time against a team like Tech. I don’t know why Ryan didn’t come up with a tackle inside the 5-yard line on the Mahomes scramble. It seemed he just gave up on the play. Ryan got beaten by Grant for a 34-yard gain to open a late 3rd quarter drive for the Red Raiders. Grant is a terrific talent, but Ryan needs to be able to defend the ball better. Reid got nailed for pass interference when he made contact without turning for the ball, giving the Red Raiders the ball deep in the Baylor end of the field midway through the 4th quarter.
The first kickoff coverage of the afternoon saw Tech run a “lateral return” where one safety starts to return the ball and then stops and throws the ball across the field to the other return man. The Baylor coverage group way over-pursued the kick side of the coverage and were badly flanked by the play. To the coverage units credit, they did a great job of rallying back to the ball and kept this play from going the distance (which it easily could have done).
The Bears began to play a 3-man front late in the first quarter. This 3-man front took out a defensive lineman (usually Beau Blackshear) and added an extra nickel linebacker – Patrick Levels (21).
Kendall Ehrlich (14) deserves special recognition for fighting through a block in the back to make a high, sure tackle on the Tech punter return man at the Tech 2-yard line. That was a heck of an effort by Kendall on that play.
In the category of “here’s hoping,” the Bears were assessed only 8 penalties for a total of 72 yards. While this is still a significant total, it is so much improved from previous performances that one has to hope that Baylor can use this as a springboard for future improvement.
The Bears will be playing Kansas in Lawrence, KS on Saturday, October 10th, at 11 AM. The last time the Bears had an early game on the road was the WVU game from last season. Let’s hope that the Bears are more wide awake for this game. GO, Bears!
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
The Baylor Bears ran their record to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Big XII with a 63-35 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders, which was the Bears’ 5th straight win over their rivals from Lubbock. The Bears got out to a fast start in this game with a 49-21 halftime lead which they never relinquished. The Baylor offense was hitting on all cylinders on Saturday as they rolled up 333 yards of offense in the 1st quarter and 498 yards of offense by halftime.
The Baylor offense was hitting on all cylinders on Saturday as they rolled up 333 yards of offense in the 1st quarter and 498 yards of offense by halftime. The Bears are running the football so effectively that, for the 2nd week in a row, Baylor threw the ball less than 30 times. The Bears are the top rushing team in the nation; above all the option offenses and those run the ball down your throat offenses in the B1G. That’s amazing!
It wasn’t until the last play of the 1st quarter that I saw an offensive lineman from Baylor miss a block that directly affected a play in a significantly negative way. Up until that time, the Baylor offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage in a manner that I have rarely seen at the top levels of FBS football. As you watch the first quarter, notice that there is a body on a body on each and every play. Notice the movement that “Good ‘Ole Baylor Line” is getting on each and every play. Notice that they only players that are making plays for Tech are those that cannot be accounted for with the numbers available to the offense. Notice that the pass protection is impeccable. The quarterback has more than enough time to find where he wants to go with the ball. The only time the quarterback is under pressure in the 1st quarter is when his read is blitzing. That opens the vertical passing game, which the Bears took advantage of repeatedly.
Spencer Drango (58), Blake Muir (73), Kyle Fuller (55), Jarell Broxton (61), and Pat Colbert (69) were dominant. The movement that this group was getting in the first half was surprising. There were quite a few plays where 3 or 4 players out of the 5 interior guys were able to move their designated defender at least 3-4 yards backwards off of the original line of scrimmage. It wasn’t until Pat Colbert was beaten on an inside pinch on the backside of an off-tackle play to the left on the last play of the 1st quarter that the Red Raiders were able to get the Bears off-schedule significantly enough that it resulted in the first Baylor punt of the game.
Blake Muir continues to be the best offensive lineman in America that no one is talking about. Muir is a terrific drive blocker and very good in wrapping around on the power play. Muir is excellent in pass protection. He has great balance and is rarely out of position on a block. Kyle Fuller continues to improve his physicality. Fuller is getting more and more movement in the middle of the offensive line each week. He’s a big body that is surprisingly agile. Broxton is a great drive blocker and Pat Colbert has been my biggest surprise of all. I anticipated Pat to be the obvious weak link in the offensive line. Instead, the senior has brought is level of play up to the level of his peers and is having a good season.
Spencer Drango is a terrific player, but he’s having a little problem on his dart play pulls. He is having a tendency to swing wider than is optimal. He is still a physical player and is the anchor of the offensive line at the left tackle position.
Shock Linwood (32) was phenomenal. The junior running back carried the ball 20 times for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns. He never had a play in the game where he was thrown for a loss and he had a career-long touchdown of 79 yards on his first 3rd down carry of the day. Shock ended the game with a per carry average of 11.1 yards (more than a 1st down per carry – Wow!). Shock’s 221 yards was the 3rd most productive day carrying the football for the Bears in the history of the Baylor football program. Linwood ran by the Red Raiders, he ran over the Red Raiders and he ran through the Red Raiders all day long. He had his best combination of power and balance he has demonstrated in his career at Baylor. He looked like a big-time running back on Saturday. Shock’s 8-yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter was vintage Shock Linwood. Shock got in behind the big butts of the Baylor line and rode them, making a great cut to slither through an opening and then using power to remain upright and get the ball across the goal line.
Johnny Jefferson (5) had a quality day. He carried the ball 12 times for 42 yards. Johnny made a bad mistake on the last play of the first quarter. When a defender off of the backside beat his blocker, Johnny tried to go around the kickout block of the H-back on the end. This enabled the Red Raiders to tackle Johnny on the Baylor 2-yard line. In that field position, Johnny must minimize the loss my turning up into the hole inside the block of the H-back. If the backside defender catches you, at least you get back to the line of scrimmage. You might even gain a couple of yards or, if you’re lucky, beat the defender and get through the hole for positive yardage. Terence Williams (22) got only 4 carries for 21 yards late in the game. He did run over (and I do mean run over) the Texas Tech defensive end on his last carry. He’s a very impressive young man.
LaQuan McGowan (80) continues to be a work in progress. The good news is that most of the progress is good. McGowan is becoming a more reliable lead blocker in this offense. He is better at blocking (at least on the rushing plays) as a tight end. There are times where he just blows away defenders. On the other hand, LaQuan had more than a few whiffs in this game. These whiffs come when he gets his body over-extended and leans into the block too much. Because of this, he can’t maintain the ability to adjust as he gets to the block. Even with these misses, McGowan is still a real asset (I almost typed big, but that would have been redundant) to the offense. Even when he doesn’t get great contact, the defenders have to jump so far around him that they run themselves out of the play. LaQuan did make a big contribution to one of Russell’s touchdowns when he drove the Baylor QB and knocked the whole left side of the line into the end zone on a quarterback sneak.
Gus Penning (15) had his first instances of not being able to make some of the plays we have seen him make repeatedly this season, so far. Prior to now, Penning has been almost perfect on his blocking assignments. In this game, there were a few times where Gus was in position to make his block, but didn’t have the power or foot movement necessary to complete the assignment. On the other hand, Coach Kendal Briles appears to be very comfortable in utilizing Penning’s skills as a pass receiver. On two separate times, Briles dialed Gus Penning’s number on the tight end delay. Penning did a great job of selling the block prior to releasing and was wide open. On the first, the quarterback tried to feather the ball into Penning too much and the pass fell short. On the second, Penning caught the ball and turned upfield, carrying defenders with him.
Seth Russell (17) had another terrific day. Russell was 15 of 23 passing with 3 drops and 1 interception (with :07 left in the half, which was on a 4th down play). These 15 completions were good for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns. That is good for 19.5 yards per completion. That’s powerful offense. In addition, Seth pitched in 12 carries for 83 yards on scrambles and predetermined runs. Seth used a great fake to allow him to run naked around a flat-footed Red Raider cornerback for a touchdown.
Seth was more accurate in this game than he has been at any time this fall. Two great passes he made fell for incompletions when they might have been touchdowns or big gains. Seth has a strong arm. He can drive the ball, and is willing to drive the ball, into spaces where previous QBs for the Bears have been hesitant to try to place the ball. On a rail to Corey Coleman (1), Seth drove the ball into the back of the Tech defender when it appeared that it would have been better to arc the ball over the defender (a lighter touch on the ball). But for the most part, Russell was spot on during this game.
Seth Russell is the biggest run threat the Bears have had at the QB position since Robert Griffin III left. Like RGIII, there are times where Seth might choose to keep the ball when the read is 50-50 and probably should be a give. A couple of times, Seth came up short of a first down when he kept the ball on this kind of play. But Seth is explosive. He crosses those horizontal stripes on the field very quickly. Just go back and look at his first scramble. Seth gets out of the pocket and a few seconds later the Bears are a lot further downfield than they were previously. He’s special.
Corey Coleman is well on his way to becoming the next in a line of receivers that have had great careers at Baylor during Coach Briles’ tenure. Coleman is a man. Coach Lebby says that if Corey can catch the ball and turn around to see the defender, that it is probably a touchdown. For the second week in a row, Corey was able to turn a short hitch route into a touchdown in a scenario like Lebby described. Coleman caught 7 passes for 110 yards and 3 touchdowns of 24, 16 and 16 yards, respectively. Coleman will catch balls vertically over the middle, crossing routes, and down the sidelines (either short or long). He does a great job of fighting to the ball in the air. This quality earned a pass interference penalty when the defender rode Corey out of bounds. Had Corey not fought this effort, he wouldn’t have gotten that call. Coach Art Briles says Corey plays angry. It seems to be working.
KD Cannon (9) had 3 catches for 39 yards and 1 touchdown. KD did have two plays that could have been considered drops. On the first, Russell threw the ball over this outside shoulder and perfectly away from the safety trying to overlap. This is a tough catch, but receivers at WRU are expected to make this catch. A few plays later, Seth hit KD right on the hands as the Mt. Pleasant-product neared the goal line. Again, KD didn’t come up with the catch. KD has been the most inconsistent ball catcher in the receiving corps this fall. He needs to correct this.
Jay Lee (4) had 3 catches for 120 yards. Jay has become a very reliable receiver for the Bears. He has improved his blocking and is becoming a big-time playmaker. His 87 yard catch (he just couldn’t get that extra two yards, although it probably should have been marked at the 1-yard line) was a huge play for the Bears. The Red Raiders had just narrowed the lead to 21-14 and they had momentum. The Bears were pinned on their 11-yard line due to a penalty on the kickoff return. Russell hit the big receiver in stride and the horse race ensued. To the defenders credit, he was able to click the heels of Lee and felled him just short of the goal line.
Ishmael Zamora (8) had a great run after the catch late in the 4th quarter. Lynx Hawthorne (7) and Davian Hall (16) continue to make quality contributions to the Baylor offense with their blocking.
The Bears now lead in the all-time series against the Red Raiders, 37-36-1. In these neutral site games, Baylor holds a 5-2 lead. For the first time this season, the Bears did not gain over 700 yards of total offense, but it might have been their best offensive effort.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
Rice’s rushing attack has been very difficult to stop this fall. The Owls were able to get some of their rushing attack going against the Baylor defense, but only totaled 94 net yards rushing and 152 yards passing for the game, for a total of 246 yards of total offense. Statistically, that’s one of the better defensive efforts by Baylor in quite a few years.
Many were concerned about the fact that the much ballyhooed defensive line of the Baylor Bears had not quite lived up to the preseason expectations. While there is still room for improvement, the front four of the Bears dominated a pretty good Rice offense. Rice was able to gash this group a few times in the running game. But the discipline shown in the pass rush was a big improvement. There were a few times where the Bears lost their rush lane discipline, but overall they were much better than we have seen in the past. It appeared that the game plan was to hem in the dangerous scrambling quarterback the Owls possessed. This plan worked pretty well. In the end, the superior talent and conditioning of the Bears wore down a game Rice offense and the rout was on.
Andrew Billings (75) continues to be a man among boys on the Baylor defensive line interior. He is relentless. He is too strong to block with one man. In addition, it appears that he may have gotten faster (or at least quicker laterally). Andrew can get overly enthusiastic in attacking the QB. He did leave his rush lane with 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter. The Owl QB immediately took advantage of this for an 18-yard gain. But Blanchard caused a fumble and then recovered the ball. Blanchard’s outstanding play covered up Andrew’s mistake. Andrew was double-teamed on one rush, but looked like he was about to get away as the QB took off on a scramble. Despite being double-teamed, Andrew drew the holding penalty because the center didn’t think he could keep Andrew off of the QB as he ran past them. In the category of “worst nightmare ever,” on a speed option early in the second quarter, the Owls left Andrew Billings totally unblocked. Andrew pulled the trigger like he was shot out of a cannon and smash the Owl QB deep in the backfield for a 4-yard loss. In an inexplicable loss of poise, Andrew bent down and yelled right in the QBs face. Andrew has never done anything like this before. It drew (appropriately) a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and allowed a drive to sustain that might have been on its last legs with a loss like that. On a bubble screen, Andrew drove the guard all the way back to the quarterback before the QB could unload the ball to the inside receiver. That’s amazing.
Beau Blackshear (95) came around the corner on an E-T stunt and was face to face with Jackson (Owl QB). In most cases, you would say that this would be no contest. But Beau, bent his knees and shuffled to gain outside leverage, forcing the QB back into the pocket. This was a really athletic play by Blackshear. Jackson tried to get out of the pocket to the other side, but was forced back into the hustling Beau Blackshear’s arms. It was a heck of a play. On a read sweep, Beau played flat down the line, convincing the back that looked to cut upfield that it might not be a good idea. Beau didn’t give up on the play and eventually ran down the ball carrier when the perimeter defenders strung the play out almost all the way to the sidelines. Beau picked up a hands to the face penalty that cost the Bears 15 yards and an automatic first down.
The worst news of this afternoon was that Byron Bonds (96) broke his hand. It appears that this injury is not severe enough to limit his availability to play because he is probable for the Tech game. Bonds continues to be a quality backup for the DTs. Bonds has a tendency to come off of his gap control too quickly. He is a very agile player and loves to run down ball carriers as he works along the line of scrimmage. But he must maintain his gap control better. Byron looked very good on a bull rush between two offensive blockers which forced the QB to scramble and eventually throw the ball away due to the excellent coverage on the play. On a speed option, Byron broke past a reach block and downed Jackson 5 yards deep in the backfield on a play very similar to the one Andrew Billings made earlier in the game.
Shawn Oakman (2) had a good day. Offenses have not tested this 6’9”, 280 pound senior very often this fall. On Saturday, Shawn seemed to take matters into his own hands. On a T-E stunt, Shawn skated down the line of scrimmage and drill the Rice running back that was trying to cutback against the grain. We saw him bull rush the Owl left tackle, bending at the knees and hips so that he could get is 6’9” frame underneath the blocker’s pads. Shawn’s punch on that play lifted the tackle off the ground and right back into the quarterback’s lap. Shawn used his long arms to envelop the Owl for a sack. The Rice running back ran into a stone wall on the Baylor interior (Blackshear and Billings) and tried to bounce outside to his left – bad mistake. Shawn reached out a long right arm and reeled in the back like a spider catching a fly. Rice ran a dive play that got stacked up slightly by a linebacker. That was enough for Shawn Oakman to come off of a vertical rush, retrace his steps, and collapse on the running back just as he was about to negotiate around the pile the linebacker had created. There were several times where Shawn was so quick off the snap that he almost looked like he was offsides, but he’s just that fast. On an all-out blitz, Shawn came free to the quarterback and flushed him out to the QB’s left. There, Orion Stewart (28) tracked down the Owl and got credit for a sack and a tackle for a loss of 11 yards.
Jamal Palmer (92) got a great sack when he gave a head-and-shoulders fake to the tackle, ripped the hands away, and dipped his shoulder past the blocker to give him unfettered access to the QB’s chest and the ball. Jamal made a solid attempt to rip the ball from the QB, but had to settle for a sack and a 5-yard loss on the play. Jamal got a QB hurry when the running back chose to block the linebacker that was ready to cover the back, instead of blocking a full speed, motivated Jamal Palmer. You know, those guys at Rice are pretty smart.
With the return of Taylor Young (1), the Baylor linebacking corps looked to be much improved. Against the Rice Owls, the linebacker coverage was much improved (with the exception of two gaffs by the middle linebacker). The downhill attack was better because of the diminutive linebacker from DeSoto. This upsurge at level two provided a real kick in the pants for a defense that has been under the gun for the past couple of games.
Grant Campbell (5) ended his time in the game with 7 total tackles and a fumble recovery. He is playing better, but he’s still not up to the level of those defenders that are around him. On the first play of the game, I thought Coach Jim Gush was going to go on the field and throttle Campbell. Rice ran a jet sweep where the wide receiver comes in motion and takes the ball. Obviously (based on Gush’s reaction), Campbell had responsibility to stop the sweep on the play. But Grant took a couple of false steps inside prior to trying to get the sweep. By then, it was too late. This is a recurring theme with Grant. He’s just not quite sure of himself. Maybe he needs to watch more video, maybe he just needs to trust himself more; whatever the reason, he needs to pull the trigger faster. He needs to drive through blocks, not catch them. Grant’s biggest gaff in the passing game was not riding the vertical release of Rice’s best receiver on their first touchdown. With trips to the field, it is the MLB’s responsibility to drop underneath the inside receiver. Grant got caught checking for a crossing route underneath this route and opened a window that was much too large for Rice to miss. Grant is not as good of a tackler as you would like to have at MLB, either. He has a tendency to duck his head on tackles and he doesn’t completely commit to running through tackles (which makes him susceptible to shifty backs making him miss). It seems that Grant gets pinned inside on a lot of blocks, too – like he’s not quite aware of from where the blocks are coming.
I don’t want to stir up a MLB controversy, but Raaquan Davis (19) appears to deserve more of a look at the middle linebacker position. In limited play last week (against a team that was already beaten), Raaquan played downhill very well, appeared to be a natural tackler, and held up in coverage. I’m not sure that he’s any faster than Grant Campbell, but he’s a little more quick to pull the trigger. The competition at this position could get interesting.
When Taylor Young (1) blitzes, it doesn’t take him long to get to the QB. That guy is quick. Of course, it is much easier when your defensive coordinator is bringing one more defender than the offense has the ability to block on that particular play (and you are the “one more”). One of the best things about Taylor blitzing is that he usually doesn’t miss. Some linebackers get back to the QB, but never seem to sink the tackle, not Taylor. If Taylor can get to the QB, he usually makes it pay off (like this time with an 8 yard loss).
Travon Blanchard (48) was able to get in on 7 tackles and forced a fumble, which he recovered. Travon, also, broke up a pass. Travon did a great job of generating a turnover when he was the second man in on the tackle of the Owl quarterback right at midfield. Travon ripped the ball away and then scooped the ball into his chest, creating a very important turnover for the Bears. Like all of Baylor’s Bearbackers, Travon is terrific at fighting through the blocks of wide receivers to get to the bubble screens. Blanchard either makes the play or he turns the pass catcher back into the pursuit. By the way, Coach Bennett really gets great pursuit out of his players on defending screens of all types. On the “penalty drive,” it was Travon that made a great play by running with the receiver, staying right under the throw, not making contact, and obstructing the vision of the receiver enough to force the incompletion In the end zone – textbook coverage.
Originally Posted by Brickyard Bear
Some advice to Texas Monthly: Stuff like this is hard on what credibility you have left. You look like Agent Orange.
Let’s get this out of the way now. I am a Texas Longhorns fan. I have been one all my life. I’ve been watching the Horns since the 1977 Cotton Bowl, when Earl Campbell got shut down by the dreaded Fighting Irish. I cried that day. I was six.
I didn’t cry Saturday, despite the 30-27 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. In the end I wasn’t even angry. I was just stunned, flabbergasted, gobsmacked at the horrendous performance of the officiating crew on the field that day.
It looked to me like the Horns were getting a raw deal as early as the second quarter, when Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph demanded, and received, a roughing the passer call on Longhorn defensive tackle Paul Boyette that nullified a devastating interception and return. At 4:14 p.m., around halftime, I posted on a friend’s Facebook wall that the Horns would be in control if it weren’t for the refs, but I wasn’t too concerned. Usually these things even out over the course of a game. This time they did not. Not by a long shot.
There were phantom offensive holds on Patrick Vahe and Taylor Doyle, and a downright surreal defensive holding call on defensive tackle Poona Ford. And that was followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on irate head coach Charlie Strong.
When was the last time you saw a defensive tackle get called for holding on a running play, while he himself is being tackled and in no position to make a play? When was the last time you saw a belligerent zebra follow a raging coach, bump him, and then flag him?
When was the last time you saw both of those things on the same play, and at the key moment in a close game?
UT was flagged 16 times for 128 yards, the Cowboys seven for 40, every single one of them either an obvious jump offside or one of the most blatant intentional groundings in the history of sack avoidance. Longhorn tight end Andrew Beck was knocked off his route by a Cowboy defensive back on a catchable pass in the end zone. No flag. Cowboy QB JW Walsh fumbles, and one Longhorn pounces on it before the pile-up and another emerges from it with the ball? Cowboy ball. Walsh touched it in there at some point. And then all those bizarre holds...
Holding happens—somewhere, everywhere—on every single damn play. Competent refs only call the blatant holds that give a clear advantage to one team or the other. But dishonest and/or incompetent refs can throw those flags to swing games. Either by intention or ineptitude, this game hinged partially on holding calls. The whole thing reeked of the NBA, a league I swore off 20 years ago after seeing one too many unexplainable calls and whose very integrity as an actual sport I came to disavow. Since 1996, not much has happened to burnish the NBA’s credibility in my eyes; it’s little more than professional wrestling on hardwood, in my view, and Tim Donaghy, the 2006 Dallas Mavericks, and 2002 Sacramento Kings would agree.
This game was WWE on DKR’s turf. The outcome appeared pre-decided from the second quarter on, when it looked like 1-2 Texas was the better team than ranked 3-0 Oklahoma State.
Yeah, I know. Many fans of other Big 12 times and Texas haters in general will just tell me turnabout is fair play. Welcome to the club. Now you know what it feels like not to have the refs in your mighty burnt orange pocket.
And yes, there have been a few high-profile calls that have gone UT’s way since 2004, as Rodger Sherman of SB Nation pointed out. He cited seven examples spanning over a decade, including Colt McCoy’s pass out of bounds in the Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska that clearly left a second on the clock where he admitted that the refs overturned an obvious bad call. Another example was when a ref fist-pumped after Limas Sweed caught Vince Young’s touchdown pass against Colorado.
But seven bad calls in Texas’s favor over eleven years versus about that many in a single game on Saturday? Plus, all of the examples Sherman cited were debatable calls in close games, not a litany of one-sided whistles that swung what should have been a fairly easy Texas win to an unearned defeat.
Scipio Tex of Longhorn fansite Barking Carnival is no whiner. I’ve been reading his stuff there and at BC’s predecessors for over a decade. He’s made passing swipes at bad calls, but he’s also never failed to acknowledge ref mistakes in Texas’s favor either.
Here’s some of what he wrote Saturday evening:
This officiating crew had a clear bias problem, which means, by definition, a corruption problem and, perhaps, even a financial interest problem. At least one of those descriptives is inarguable.
The game outcome was determined by the officiating crew. Any other viewpoint is ignorant of objective and empirical reality. Right now, I'm simply interested in determining what kind of human garbage we're dealing with: pro Cowboy or anti-Texas game riggers, corrupt gamblers, straight up racists who want to undercut a predominantly black coaching staff at the state Flagship or simply petty small men who decided early on they were going to "get" Texas for some unknown slight. I truly don't know. I've just never seen anything so blatantly purposeful in a football game.
OK, those are some explosive charges, and Scipio is a fellow Horn fan, and if I quoted only him, you could justly accuse me of asking you all to see the world through our burnt orange-tinted glasses.
But we are not alone.
Here is Yahoo’s Shaun King:
These were phantom calls, these were bogus calls. Defensive holding on a guy who got pushed 10 yards down the field? ... This is ridiculous. Something needs to be done. This wasn't incompetence, to me, this was borderline fixing a game.
Jon Morse of Kansas State fan site Bring on the Cats:
One of the things we saw: the most egregious case of WTFery imaginable in the Oklahoma State-Texas game. We'd like to be clear on two things here: one, yes, Texas has been the recipient of a lot of bad calls over time, and there's a certain amount of karmic retribution at play. But two, and this is even more important, Saturday's game was an absolute travesty. That many bad calls going against one team is rancid, like the stench of carp left to bake in the summer sun. Is Scipio Tex right? Is there actual corruption at play here? Or is this simply an utterly incompetent crew of officials?
Now I’m inclined to think Scipio missed another theory: The Big 12 wants to protect its undefeated teams. Sure, Oklahoma State isn’t Baylor, TCU, or Oklahoma—this year’s big three contenders for postseason glory—but hey, they were 3-0 and ranked coming into this game, whereas UT was damaged goods, coming in 1-2 and a few weeks removed from a thorough thrashing on national TV.
The Big 12 needs the Cowboys to look like a better team than they really are, so that when they are inevitably beaten by the Bears, Sooners, and Horned Frogs, it will seem like those national contenders had accomplished something more than whooping up on Charlie Strong’s ragtag freshmen, the same ones who laid a rotten egg against Notre Dame. Parity is valued in the NFL. In the NCAA it means crappy bowl bids and less TV time.
I hate that I am reduced to these conspiratorial broodings about a sport I have followed closely for 38 years now, but this game was beyond poorly officiated, so much so that it opens the floor to debate about integrity. The whole season seems scripted. Horn fans, and fans of every other Big 12 team, should not be reassured by the fact that the Big 12’s director of officials claims to be “generally pleased” by the officiating in this travesty of a “game.”
The beauty of college football is that upsets are possible, even huge ones. Or at least they were when teams were matched eleven versus eleven, not eleven versus eleven plus the refs and the league office and the pollsters and the BCS’s computer algorithms. This year, the only games that seem to have a chance of honest officiating are one in which the two teams are similarly ranked (or unranked, in Texas’s case). So why even bother pretending Texas has a chance against TCU on Saturday?
Fall in Texas is one of our most pleasant seasons. Why spend it in front of a TV? Either offer up fair contests or watch as tens of thousands of us decide to enjoy the great outdoors, enhance our quality time with non-football fan loved ones, and grow out of being willing shills in carnival midway shell games.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
The Baylor Bears dominated a pretty good Rice Owl football team in a manner that Baylor fans had not seen the Bears accomplish in quite some time. The Owls are a team that pushed the University of Texas for 3 of the 4 quarters of their game. And the Longhorns had 2 punts they returned for a touchdown and 1 pick six to accomplish 21 points of their total.
On Saturday, the Baylor Bears needed none of those types of heroics. The Baylor offense was more dominant than at any time in recent memory. 70-17 says a lot, but it could have been so much worse. Coach Briles pulled the starters late in the 3rd quarter and, on the last drive, ran the football almost every time. Even though Rice committed as many as 8 players to stopping the run, the Bears chose to run the football for most of the afternoon. Had the Bears attacked the Owl secondary like they normally attack people, who knows how many touchdowns Seth Russell might have thrown and the receivers might have caught.
The Bears ran their home winning streak to 18 games, which is the best current streak in the nation. The Bears have yet to lose in the friendly confines of their new stadium – the Palace on the Brazos, McLane Stadium. This victory extends the Bears’ record to 3-0 (the 5th straight year that Baylor has started 3-0) and completes the non-conference portion of the schedule.
The 793 yards of offense (it could have easily been more) was the 2nd most in program history. The 427 yards rushing was the 5th most in program history. The 7 touchdown passes in a game set a new school record.
On the other hand, the dominance of the offensive line was too good to pass up. The ground game smashed through the Rice Owl defense for 427 yards, which was good enough to put the Baylor Bears at the top of NCAA football…IN RUSHING!!! Who would have believed? This was, by far, the best performance I have seen by the Baylor offensive line. Playing against a defense that stymied the Longhorn rushing attack for most of their game, that “Good ‘Ole Baylor Line” squashed the Owls time after time. If you would go back and focus on the 5 offensive linemen: 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, you would see that every player was locked on to their defender and getting quality movement on every rushing attempt of the first half. I have not seen any line with that type of precision since the Nebraska Cornhuskers of Tom Osborne’s era. I’m not saying that these guys were as good as those teams, but I am saying that they blocked with that kind of performance against Rice. The only Owls that were making tackles were the ones that were left unblocked because Rice was committing more players to the forcing unit that the offensive line could block.
The pass protection was similarly outstanding. Baylor quarterbacks had all day to throw. Speed rushers on the edge were pushed beyond the throwing point and at times forced to run into each other. The turnback protection was awesome. No one got close against that protection. Pat Colbert almost lost one of his defenders in the first half, but he did a great job of hanging on to his defender instead of giving up the pressure.
Some of the holes that were opened in the fierce-playing Rice defensive front were huge. Routinely, the Baylor running backs were getting to the second level (and often the 3rd level) without being touched. The interior 3 linemen were terrific on Saturday. Often, it is difficult to open crisp holes in the interior. There was no such problem with this against Rice. Fuller, Broxton, and Muir (especially) got great movement in the interior. When pulling, the guards and tackles were uniformly very good. The paths were much tighter this week and they ran through their blocks much better. The bigger Baylor blockers began to just roll up the Owl defensive linemen and linebackers. There were so many pancakes that you could not list them all for these blockers.
The second group of offensive linemen came into the game in the 3rd quarter at the 4:38 mark. These guys picked right up where the first group left off. Desmine Hilliard (67) looked really good pulling and leading Terence Williams (22) on power scheme plays. These guys don’t quite get the uniform movement of the first team, but they individually make quality plays. Ishmael Wilson (68) looked good on his Dart pulls. He’s very quick for a big man. On a 4th and 4, Ishmael drove his end but at the end of the play the end threw Ishmael off of him. Ishmael, stupidly, responded with a punch. Correctly, he was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. He was lucky that the officials didn’t throw him out of the game. A little later, Ishmael completed a forgettable 4th quarter when he was called for a personal foul, hands to the face, penalty. These mistakes are not acceptable. Rami Hammad (52) got a really good drive block on the first play of Baylor’s last touchdown drive. Patrick Lawrence (77) looked really good on a couple of Dart pulls, too.
Shock Linwood (32) was as good as I’ve ever seen him. He demonstrated speed, agility, toughness, and balance for the entire time he was in the game. He made several sterling runs and protected the ball well. Shock had 16 carries for 158 yards and 1 touchdown. Shock had only one carry on the day that did not gain positive yardage. As the top running back, Shock always gets his carries when the defense is at its freshest. In spite of that fact, Linwood averaged an astonishing 9.9 yards per carry on the afternoon. Shock started off the afternoon with a 7-yard carry that looked more like a rugby scrum. The offensive line and Shock just kept their feet moving and the whole pile of players moved for at least 3-4 additional yards.
Johnny Jefferson (5) has really improved this fall. He seems to have recovered his burst that was seen in high school. He appears to be a step faster, too. His lower body strength has improved tremendously. Johnny carried the ball 9 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. Early, it was apparent that Jefferson and Linwood were going to do the bulk of the ball carrying while the game was still in doubt. Johnny did a great job of converting an early 3rd and 1 into a 9-yard gain behind quality blocking from Drango, Muir, and Fuller. Johnny caught a pass from Jarrett Stidham (7) as he swung out from the backfield. This is versatility that the Bears sorely need from the running back position.
Terence Williams (22) just keeps getting better. For a tall running back, he does a great job of getting his pads down at the point of contact. He has done a very good job of protecting the football in his limited playing time. He runs with toughness and tries to get as much as possible out of every carry. Because the game got out of hand so early, Terence got a lot more carries than he might normally see. Williams carried the ball 19 times for 111 yards and a touchdown. Lee Bristow (34) came in as the lead blocker for Williams in the 4th quarter. It was Bristow’s block that led Williams, on a 4th and 2, into the end zone to cap the Baylor scoring. Bristow did a very good job of adjusting on his blocks; he’s just not quite as powerful as Penning.
Seth Russell (17) was outstanding on Saturday. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 6 touchdowns and 277 yards. Seth’s passer rating for this game was 344.18. That’s phenomenal. Seth hit KD Cannon (9) at full speed on an inside seam at the back of the end zone. Cannon did a great job of getting a foot down prior to stepping beyond the end line, but the throw was a very good example of the arm strength that Seth possesses. That ball got to Cannon just in time. On the next drive, Seth hit Jay Lee for a nifty 17-yard gain. With the score 14-10, Seth had back to back high throws causing the Bears to have to punt for the only time on Saturday. It appeared that Seth wasn’t transitioning to his front foot and this caused his release point to be too high. When Seth misses, it seems like he misses high more than any other way. A couple of times in the first half, Seth left deep balls inside of receivers (this is very dangerous). On the first, Corey Coleman (1) made a spectacular touchdown reception. On the second, Lynx Hawthorne fought back the ball enough to keep the defender from being able to make a play on the ball.
Baylor unveiled a delay Dart play that really allowed the defensive front to spread more prior to the back hitting the hole. Seth ran one of these plays (following the Blanchard fumble recovery) for 22 quick yards behind the lead blocking of Spencer Drango. This is a good looking play. This scheme can be run as a quarterback draw or as a delay draw to a running back.
Baylor’s 3rd touchdown of the 1st quarter was a great read of a blitz from the weakside by Seth Russell. The weak safety came on a blitz and Corey saw it all the way. The big quarterback from Garland sold the run fake and had to reload as the defender jumped in the way of his intended target. Seth quickly triggered the throw on target to a slanting Corey Coleman for a 16-yard touchdown pass. This is smooth operating. Seth showed terrific touch on the touchdown pass to Lynx Hawthorne (7). Lynx ran a slant and go that turned the safety around. Both the safety and the corner did a good job of recovering on the play. Seth rainbowed the ball over the heads of the defenders and into the arms of Hawthorne just prior to the Baylor receiver running beyond the end line for a 22-yard touchdown.
At the end of the 1st quarter, the Bears featured the Corey Coleman show when they went to a 5 wideout personnel group. Corey ran the ball off-tackle for 19 yards, caught a short pass for 4 yards, and then ran the football for 9 yards. The strategy in doing this is to be able to keep the defense in their dime package while the Bears are still able to run their base run/pass reads with Corey functioning as a running back against a defense that is short handed at linebacker. If the defense tried to get back into a conventional package against the Bears, then Coach Briles would then go 5 wideouts with the receivers matched up with linebackers.
How good is Corey Coleman? On Corey’s 35-yard touchdown catch from Seth Russell, Corey ran a slant and go against double coverage. Corey’s double move easily beat the corner. His speed got him at least a stalemate with the deep safety. Corey’s agility made it possible for the Baylor receiver to step by the safety to get inside leverage on an underthrown ball from Seth Russell. Coleman’s explosiveness made it possible for him to out jump (easily) the defender and make an acrobatic catch as he tumble into the end zone. This was a spectacular play. Corey’s third touchdown of the first half was a simple stop route in front of a corner that was giving Coleman just a little too much room. Corey turned around and just outran the defender to the outside and turned a short 6-yard catch into a 32-yard touchdown. If Corey can see the defender, he makes him miss most of the time.
Jay Lee’s (4) first catch of the day was a stop route toward the Baylor bench. The interesting thing about this play was that Jay decided to just run over the cornerback that was trying to tackle him. Jay ran into the corner and drove over the top of the defender for 6 more additional yards. It’s good to see Jay utilize his size against smaller players. On the very next play, Seth made his best throw of the afternoon when he caught sight of Jay bending a seam route into the middle of the field. Despite the linebacker having decent underneath coverage, Seth threw the ball just past the defender’s (who was looking at Jay) ear and hit Jay in full stride for a 57-yard touchdown.
KD Cannon (9) made a big mistake on a reverse at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. The reverse he was trying to run was well defended. But KD was trying to make a play when he began to hold the ball very loosely and swing it around. A Rice defender forced KD to fumble, giving the Owls excellent field position which they turned into their last touchdown.
Chris Johnson (13) made a nice catch on an in-breaking route for a 20-yard gain. It’s good to see Chris becoming acclimated to the receiver position and making a positive contribution to the offense. Chris Platt (14) did a great job of trying to come back to an underthrown pass from Jarrett Stidham. If Chris doesn’t fight hard to get back to the ball, the officials would probably let the contact go. But Chris really tried to come up with the ball and benefitted from the pass interference penalty on the defender. The next time Chris got behind defenders, Stidham, again, under threw the pass. This time Chris didn’t fight back to the ball and came up with neither the ball nor the interference penalty. Chris finally got a reception when he caught a crossing route and beat a tackle for a quality 22-yard gain. Ishmael Zamora (8) made a spectacular play on a quick hitch touchdown from the 8-yard line. Zamora took off from the 4-yard line and reached a long arm out (from a position 1-2 yards out of bounds) to touch the ball to the pylon, thus qualifying the play as a touchdown. Wow! Quan Jones (12) used his big body to shield the defender from a quick slant pass for a 25-yard reception. After the play, Quan stood over the defender. That action could have been called taunting and received a 15-yard penalty.
LaQuan McGowan (80) showed some improvement in his blocking in this game. LaQuan has to work really hard at getting his hips down so that he can get quality leverage on defenders that are 7-8 inches shorter than the big tight end. At times, LaQuan just falls over defenders that take his legs out from under him. When this happens, LaQuan becomes more of a road block than a blocker. In this game, more times than not, LaQuan found a way to complete his blocks and began to open quality holes for the running backs. It will be interesting how often defenders are willing to take on LaQuan’s blocks. They might try it once or twice, but will they be willing to meet him in the hole every time. LaQuan had two holding penalties on the afternoon. The first holding penalty was on a kickoff return where the big tight end was just a little out of position and he hooked the defender with a big arm. LaQuan has to get his hips down better. Being too high puts him in positions where he has to hold. LaQuan’s second holding penalty cam on the first play from scrimmage after halftime. LaQuan drove his man 6-7 yards downfield, but when the defender started to try to get away LaQuan reached and grabbed him – poor judgment. LaQuan’s best play of the day was as a lead blocker for Shock Linwood following Rice’s final touchdown. LaQuan led through the hole, blocking the linebacker and then picked up the backside linebacker. LaQuan wasn’t through on the play. LaQuan continued down the field, almost keeping up with Shock Linwood. It was an awesome display of athletic ability and surprising speed by a guy that is 6’8” and 403 pounds.
Gus Penning (15) is very effective at lead blocking. Gus is agile enough (probably more so than Armstead was and certainly more than McGowan) to make quick adjustments as a blocker. Penning makes good, quick decisions on whom to block and how and plays where he is the lead blocker. He does a great job of keeping his feet moving on contact and secures his blocks very well. I am very surprised at how effective he has been as a blocker, given that he is not even close to the size of Armstead or McGowan. It was Penning’s block that sprang Shock Linwood free for his 11-yard touchdown at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. One of Coach Briles’ favorite ways to get a running back (or an H-back) the ball is to make it appear his is the lead blocker on an isolation play (where he would block the linebacker). Penning ran right at the linebacker and then ran right by him. Seth Russell found the tight end all alone behind everyone for a 35-yard gain.
Baylor is the most penalized team in the Big XII. Most of the penalties are quality calls. Every once in a while though, you get the feeling that the officials just might be looking for a way to slow down Baylor’s offense to give the opponents a chance. Corey Coleman was called for an illegal procedure penalty at the Rice 6-yard line at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. I have watched that play several times and can see no movement from Corey prior to the snap.