Originally Posted by ftblbob5
The Oklahoma State defense, led by defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, did a great job of being able to defend against the run and still be able to get into the best throwing lanes the Bears prefer to use. In addition, the big cornerbacks of the Cowboys were able to stand up to the man-to-man matchups they had on the outside good enough to keep the Bears from being able to get open on the outside enough to keep the sticks moving or to light up the scoreboard. Better than any team the Bears have seen so far, the Cowboys were able to limit the ability of the Baylor running backs to get enough yards per carry to keep the chains moving consistently.
Certainly the losses of Tevin Reese and the loss of Spencer Drango were felt more deeply in this matchup than any we have seen previously. Against the Cowboys, the inside receiver vs. the safety matchup wasn’t nearly as explosive as it might have been with a healthy Tevin Reese. The loss of Spencer Drango might have been more of a confidence factor than it was a physical factor. While Pat Colbert (69) did get beaten a few times, his play was not a tipping point in execution. But the fact that Spencer wasn’t on the field might have factored into a loss of confidence in execution that bled over into the quarterback’s performance.
Mistakes and lack of execution on 1st and 2nd down caused the Bears to be behind the sticks way too often in the 1st half. This forced the Bears to have to throw into a 3-man front, dropping 8 defense where the linebackers were very well-schooled on the zones the Bears want to attack in their empty and 4-wide packages. In addition, getting off-schedule caused the Bears to resort to a much slower tempo (something Baylor often does in long yardage) to help get the best play for the coverage and the personnel group that is on the field. This slower tempo is at a cost. The defense is able to dial up all kinds of exotic coverages and blitzes, forcing the Bears to have to block and run routes against more difficult looks than Baylor normally sees when the defense is having to get ready in 10-12 seconds.
The starting offensive line was Pat Colbert (69) at left tackle, Cyril Richardson (68) at left guard, Stefan Huber (54) at center, Desmine Hilliard (67) at right guard, and Kelvin Palmer (77) at right tackle. On the first drive of the game, playing in tempo, the Baylor offensive line started out the evening opening the kinds of holes Baylor fans have come to expect from this group. Overall, the pass protection by this group was very good for most of the evening. But there were too many noticeable mistakes in fundamentals or assignment recognition that contributed to an overall feel that the quarterback was under siege.
Pat Colbert (69) had trouble with the quick defensive end from OSU. The DE was too easily able to clear Pat’s hands in protection, making it way too easy for the defender to speed rush outside and around the big tackle. Pat gave up the first sack of the game when he didn’t move his feet, but reached with his hands. When the DE stripped Pat’s hands off, he had an easy speed rush around the corner and to the QB, who probably held the ball too long, too. On the play where the running back fumbled extending the ball, it was Pat that got beaten badly on an inside pinch from the 5-technique (outside shade of the tackle). Pat came off too high and seemed to be surprised that the defender was going inside. Had Pat come off lower and taken away the gap that would hurt this play the most (the inside gap), the running back probably could have gotten an inside crease good enough to score. If you remember the big run by Devin Chafin on 3rd and 1 at the beginning of the 4th quarter, you might be interested to know that it was Pat Colbert chasing down a linebacker that was the vital block in clearing the Baylor ball carrier for a 19-yard gain.
Cyril Richardson got his jaw jacked in this game – it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it happen. With just a few seconds left in the 3rd quarter, it appeared to be number 98 or 99 that came off and rocked the All-American guard backwards. It was just that kind of night. Cyril had a couple of plays where he seemed to predetermine what he thought the DT was going to do. Because of this, the big guard got over-extended and was not able to keep his feet when the DT slanted outside, indicating he should work to level two. Cyril had a critical error on 3rd and 10 from the Baylor 17-yard line just after the Cowboys had scored their first touchdown on a 99-yard drive. Cyril was called for illegal procedure when he anticipated the silent snap of the center. He must wait for the ball to move. Cyril was beaten badly with 7:30 to go in the 2nd quarter when the big guard reached for a stunting DT and came up empty. The running back tried to help pick the DT up, but the quarterback bailed both of those guys out by getting rid of the ball on time and on target. On a down block on a nose, Cyril inexplicably allowed the defender to roll off back into the hole and make the play for a short 4-yard gain, instead of what could have been a big gain. Cyril got over-extended and when the defender spun, the Baylor blocker lost his leverage. On what was one of the best blocks you might ever see, the running back ran for 10 yards behind Cyril as the big guard drove his man and pancaked him 10 yards downfield. This guy is a road grader. In the 4th quarter, Cyril got beaten on an inside rush, but Chafin picked up the leak keep the defender off of the quarterback.
Stefan Huber did a quality job of working to level two, early on. His pickup of the inside linebacker allowed the running back to pick up the initial first down of the game. Stefan was probably better at getting to level two in this game than any he has previously played. Huber has a tendency to chase defensive linemen that are slanting away from his rather than working up toward level two (where he would find the folding defensive lineman on the complimentary stunt or a linebacker replacing that DT).
Desmine Hilliard allowed penetration on the 1-yard line that kept Cyril Richardson from being able to cleanly get round to the outside, allowing the unblocked edge player to keep the running back out of the end zone on the Bear’s first attempt to score. I would like to see Desmine get to the inside edge of the defender when he wraps around on the power scheme. Doing this would keep the defender from being able to cross his face to where the ball carrier is trying to go. On 3rd and 10, with 2 defenders coming outside the tackle, Desmine got confused and didn’t fan to help Kelvin. He instead appeared to believe that Petty would read hot off of that side. This resulted in a sack and another 3-and-out.
On 4th and 4 from the Cowboy 20-yard line, Kelvin took a really bad angle to cut off the Cowboy linebacker and allowed the defender to leak out, forcing the tight end to pick him up. This meant that there was at least one too many defenders outside for this play to succeed. Kelvin gave up a sack when he was beaten on a speed rush by the OSU DE. It appeared that Kelvin was setting quickly and square anticipating an inside move, but the DE went vertical quickly and beat the tackle around the outside. The Cowboy defensive end got around Troy Baker (75) in the middle of the 4th quarter, forcing the quarterback to scramble, coming up short of the line to gain on 3rd down.
Jordan Najvar (18) played tight end and H-back. Jordan made a terrific block on the quarterback’s long run to the OSU 1-yard line. He by-passed the edge player that was committed to the running back and picked up the scraping linebacker, logging him to give the quarterback a clear running lane all the way down the field. When Palmer missed the linebacker on 4th and 4, Jordan didn’t ever get his shoulders square on his effort to pick up that block. This forced the play too wide and the Bears lost 3 yards on that important play. For the first time all year, we saw defensive ends that could stand up Jordan at the point of attack. Jordan struggled to get movement against these physical defenders. The Cowboys did a great job of making it very difficult for Jordan to get a clean release off of the ball when the Bears went to 2 tight ends and began to try to get Najvar involved into the passing game.
When the Bears went to two tight ends, TreVon Armstead (41) and Jerod Monk (20) came in at the other tight end position. TreVon struggled with the stout Cowboy defensive ends, too.
Neither team was able to run the perimeter sweeps very effectively against each other due to some great support from the safeties and excellent inside out pursuit from the interior players. Due to that, the Bears had to run most of their rush offense between the tackles.
Shock Linwood (32) carried the ball 14 times for 35 yards and a 2.1 yards per carry average, with 2 costly fumbles. Early in the game, Shock was running very effectively. He was finding his blocks and squeezing through the holes just like we have seen him do all season. On the 2nd and goal from the OSU 1-yard line, the Cowboys were pinching their entire front inside. The offensive line did a decent job of driving them down, but Shock still tried to go straight ahead. Given the fact that the tackle got beaten on an inside pinch, it would have been better if Shock had been able to bounce outside, following the block of the H-back on the edge defender, but it appeared he was trying to ride the big back of Desmine Hilliard. In a real rookie mistake, Shock tried to extend the ball with one hand to get it across the goal line. The alert OSU defender (91 – Castleman) simply knocked the ball out of the back’s hand and recovered it, ending the Baylor threat to score first. After running well early in the game, it appeared that on the 6th Baylor possession Shock began to get tentative. He missed a quick cut on a well-defended power on 1st down. On a solid 5-yard run in the middle of the 3rd quarter, Shock allowed the ball to be stripped from him for his second fumble of the game. This is part of the learning experience of a young back. When your momentum is stopped, go down or bad things can happen. It appeared that Shock might have not quite had the back end of the ball secured like you should, giving Lavey (OSU LB) an opportunity to get to the ball.
Devin Chafin (28) carried the ball 7 times for 33 yards and a 4.7 yards per carry average. Devin came into the game after the Cowboys had been able to stretch out their lead. He did find some extra running room outside the tackles that Shock was not seeing, but it was still tough sledding for the Bears.
In a pre-game interview, Bryce Petty (14) told the reporter that he felt that this was the most important game of his life and he was dedicating himself to playing perfectly. While the sentiment is admirable, this kind of self-induced pressure is not conducive to playing your best. It can result in the kind of tight, forced performance that we saw on Saturday. Many of Bryce’s early throws were high. Quarterbacks throw high when their release point is not right, when they aren’t following through, and when they are aiming the ball. These are all attributes of a player that is not relaxed and is trying too hard. Despite the tough coverage and more intense pressure (as well as the pressure he was obviously placing upon himself), Bryce still complete 28 or 48 pass for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions. In addition, Bryce was the Bears’ leading ground gainer for the evening with 11 carries for 46 yards. Bryce might have been staring down his receivers like this all season (I’m sorry, I hadn’t noticed), but the Cowboys’ linebackers were very good at reading the QB’s eyes and getting underneath coverage on the Baylor intermediate routes. Bryce was very lucky early on when his pass to a wide receiver went right through the linebacker’s hands and into the waiting arms of the Baylor receiver. On a 3rd and 15 at the Baylor 13-yard line (after the Cowboys had scored the opening touchdown), Bryce couldn’t pull the trigger when he was working the two inside receivers to the trips to the wide side. He seemed to hang on the inside vertical too long, not being willing to check it down to the middle receiver. This pressed the protection too much and the OSU DE was able to come all the way around Pat Colbert (with a 3-man rush) to sack the quarterback forcing the first 3-and-out of the game. Coming into the game, the Bears had only seven 3-and-outs on the season. The Cowboys were able to force five 3-and-outs in this game. Trailing 7-0, Bryce had a 1st down opportunity to connect with a wide receiver behind the Cowboy cornerback. Bryce left this ball inside and a little too long for an incompletion, throwing off of his back foot a little too much, instead of following through and finishing the throw. This might have been a touchdown. After just missing this throw, Bryce fired a bullet on a slant by the outside receiver for a first down, just beating the stretch from the inside linebacker. On the next play, Bryce was a little high again. A well thrown ball on this play could have netted additional yards after the catch. Bryce drilled a wheel-and-stop to Norwood for a 12-yard gain, despite having a DT hit him right in the ribs as he threw the ball. When Fuller was man-on-man with the safety, the Bears ran him from inside receiver on a wheel. Fuller had a step, but Bryce left the ball just a little too far inside, giving the beaten defender a chance to contest for the pass. Had the ball been thrown over the outside shoulder, it would have been a first down. On 3rd and 10 from the Baylor -20, the inside receiver to the wide side went in motion. The NLB to that side went with the motion to the edge of the tackle. He then set up to blitz. Petty looked to the short side where they had 4 on 2 instead of looking to the wide side where they had no short coverage on the inside receiver and the safety was deep. Bryce might not have had an option on that play to go to the wide side, but the resulting sack caused the third 3-and-out of the game for the Bears. On Baylor’s drive at the end of the 1st half, Petty’s 1st down throw was just off of the finger tips of the Baylor receiver (again, the receiver only gets one hand up, not two) matched up against a safety that was soundly beaten. On second down, neither short side receiver could get a clean release against press coverage and Petty had to throw the ball away. On 3rd and 10, Bryce completed a quick slant but came up 2 yards short of the line to gain, forcing a field goal. When Bryce did a good job of selling his 1st down play fakes, he found the safeties out of position for quality gains (like the opening play for the Bears in the 2nd half). When the Bears went to a more intermediate passing game, rather than trying to get vertical seams quite so often, the Baylor offense began to click a little better. Bryce was very accurate in comebacks and stops. On one of Bryce’s best plays of the day, the quarterback had to scramble when he got slight pressure from his right. Petty rolled out to his left and then threw back (and old quarterback axiom is “never throw back to the middle late”) and found a very open Clay Fuller for a big gain. Both of these guys did a good job of making a play under tough circumstances. The next time Bryce had to scramble, he went to his right and found Antwan Goodley for an apparent touchdown – except Antwan had just barely stepped out of bounds further upfield.
Bryce did a great job of keeping the ball early in the game. This aspect of the Baylor offense is critical to forcing the edge players to play the running back honestly. If Bryce doesn’t keep the ball when the edge players crash, there will be too many players at the point of attack for the Bears to block. It didn’t look like much (and it certainly wasn’t the way the play was supposed to be run), but Bryce did a great job of protecting the ball and getting what he could get when the quarterback juggled the snap and couldn’t get the ball handed off to Linwood. Bryce immediately followed Linwood into the hole for only a short gain (not a turnover). On 4th and 10 at the Cowboy 40-yard line, Bryce scrambled for 8 yards. It appeared that Bryce thought it was 3rd down. Petty slipped and fell at the 5-yard line on that same end of the field where he fell on his first big run. Bryce might not have scored on this run, but he would have gotten closer than the 5-yard line. On the next play, Bryce was very physical in getting down close to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Huber rifled the snap low and to the left. Bryce ran back an appeared to be ready to fall on the ball. But the ball slipped away from the Baylor quarterback and was returned by the Cowboys for a touchdown. You have to get possession of the ball on that type of play.
One thought: for as tight of coverage as the Bears were seeing Saturday, we didn’t see that many double moves. Usually you want to go to double moves when defenders are jumping the first fake as quickly as the Cowboy defenders were against the Bears.
Antwan Goodley (5) had a quality day receiving. He caught 10 passes for 118 yards and a 24-yard touchdown catch (his 12th of the season, placing him tied for 2nd on BU’s single-season list). Antwan’s 1,193 yards receiving this season moves him into 3rd place on the Baylor all-time single-season receiving yards list. On the 1st critical down of the game (3rd and 13 from the OSU 48-yard line), Petty threw a quick slant to Antwan, but Goodley could not hold on to the catch. While this route would have been short of the line to gain, Baylor has seen Antwan often break tackles after the catch and get the needed yardage. Whether or not he could have done this on this occasion, we will never know. Trailing 7-0, Antwan got behind the cornerback on a go route with no safety help over the top. Petty left it a little inside, but it appeared that Antwan got to the ball. Goodley didn’t dive for the catch and he didn’t extend two hands. It would have been an excellent catch, but it appeared to be a catch Baylor fans have come to expect this receiver to make. Most of the time, when you need a 1st down, Antwan Goodley is a great receiver to visit. On 3rd and 6 in the 2nd, Antwan beat very tight coverage and caught the quick slant route right at the sticks. On 2nd and 10, the last drive of the 1st half, Antwan didn’t get any separation on a post or the additional corner move as the second part of the route and Petty had to throw the ball away. Antwan made the catch on 3rd and 10, but the sinking linebacker was able to make the play 2 yards short of the line to gain, forcing a field goal. Antwan does a very good job of pressing the defender to get out of his back pedal when the receiver is trying to run a slant. He gets as close as he can to the defender and as the opponent begins to turn his hips, Antwan goes by him to the inside. On a really inexplicable play, Antwan got vertical down the Baylor sidelines. Petty threw the ball away from the defender, over Antwan’s outside shoulder. The ball appeared to be perfectly thrown but Antwan played it like it was going to be a jump ball. The ball landed outside the two players, right where Antwan should have been. My only explanation for that play is that Antwan lost it in the lights. In the category of being versatile, Antwan Goodley was met in the hole by a linebacker on 3rd and 3. Goodley ran over the LB and got 4 yards on the play. Antwan finally got to score when he ran a good comeback and then neatly stepped around the sprawling defender to get in the end zone from 24 yards out. Late in the 4th quarter, when Bryce Petty obviously didn’t see the safety in a robber technique, Antwan did a great job of coming back to the ball to prevent the interception. That’s being a quality receiver.
Levi Norwood (42) caught 6 passes for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. Levi, as always, was very reliable on the intermediate routes. One thing that I noticed was Levi was not quite as quick to get vertical after these intermediate catches. He did a little more dancing than turning up quickly. Levi does a great job of finding open spaces. He settled in a big open area on a square-in that took the ball down to the Cowboy 7-yard line. Levi and Bryce Petty hooked up for a late touchdown when they caught the safety in man-to-man coverage. Levi ran a fade route from the inside receiver position and took it for a 32-yard touchdown reception to end the Baylor scoring for the evening.
Corey Coleman (1) was able to catch 5 balls for 54 yards. Corey’s first big contribution to the Baylor effort came in concert with Robbie Rhodes (3) as this duo totally locked out the coverage players on Bryce Petty’s long, but ill-fated run down to the OSU 1-yard line. These two receivers forced the man coverage deep and, when the defenders realized it was a run, maintained quality blocks that would have resulted in a touchdown had Petty not stumbled and fallen. Corey made an excellent catch for a 1st down on a 2nd and 10 in the 2nd quarter. This ball was thrown like a bullet in a narrow window. Corey kept his focus despite a linebacker stretching out underneath the Baylor receiver and fell forward for the first down. On the next play, Corey couldn’t come down with a high throw that appeared catchable. Receivers need to get their fingers on top of high throws so that the ball doesn’t skip off their fingers for a deflection. Corey didn’t get on top of that ball. Corey came off of a slant route when the safety jumped inside, but Bryce didn’t throw the corresponding swirl cut (instead choosing to bring it down, scramble, and throw the ball away). It’s difficult to know if this change on the route was a surprise to Petty or not. Corey got the interference call when Lowe hit him as the ball came in on his vertical route on Baylor’s opening possession of the 2nd half. But Corey must learn to attack the ball in the air rather than fall away from it as the ball arrives. He can’t expect that kind of help from the back judge every time. On 3rd and 10 at the Cowboy 40-yard line, Corey dropped a ball that would have made it a 4th and 2. He has to make that catch. Corey did come up with a slant route catch for a 1st down on the next series. In the 4th quarter, Corey ran a terrific stop-and-go-and-stop catch on the Baylor sidelines. The young receiver ran the first stem of the route and the corner stayed off, rather than getting beaten. So Corey stopped again and Bryce hit him right on the money. As the game progressed and got a little more out of hand, Corey got became the target more and more. Hopefully this will make this young player a little more relaxed and will encourage him to be more aggressive against tough coverage.
Clay Fuller (23) caught 3 passes for 90 yards (a career high), with a career-longest 53-yard catch. Clay got matched up with Lowe (#8 – safety) on a wheel route on 3rd down. The ball was thrown a little too far inside and Clay was not able to beat Lowe’s coverage. Clay is a physical guy and you’d expect him to be able to take a jump ball away from a defender more times than not. Clay did a great job of beating the safety coverage (Lowe) on a fake dig-and-go. He was well behind everyone on the playside but got tackled after a 53-yard gain by the safety from the backside. On 2nd down at the Cowboy 20-yard line with :40 seconds to go in the half, Clay couldn’t get a clean release against safety coverage and Petty had to throw the ball away. On the scramble play late in the 3rd quarter, Clay did an awesome job of getting his hands under the ball and coming back to the quarterback to get open. Clay caught a quality slant route against good coverage for a 1st down several plays later. On the next play, he couldn’t quite come up with the low throw on a much tougher catch.
In a critical error early in the game, Jay Lee (4) was obviously confused about the play call because he left Patman (28), the OSU cornerback, completely unblocked on a Shock Linwood attempt to run a sweep. Had Lee blocked this player, the ball carrier could have gotten the edge because Pat Colbert did a good enough job of reaching the defensive end to get him the edge. These are the kinds of mistakes we continually see from this talented, big wide receiver from Allen High School. Later, on the swing pass to Linwood, Lee misses his block on Patman, again. This leaves two defenders for Shock to beat instead of one. On another bubble screen to Norwood, Lee quickly lost his block making it possible for the guy he was supposed to be blocking to wrap up the ball carrier until help arrived. On a quick slant from the short side, Jay didn’t really give much of an effort at the ball when it appeared that the linebacker was going to redirect and get a big hit on the Baylor receiver. The ball looked like it got by him before his hands came up.
When Robbie Rhodes caught a quick slant on 2nd down, he and Corey Coleman did not coordinate their “pick” very well, at all. Rhodes has to come tighter off Coleman’s vertical route. Rhodes broke this route off much too quickly and made it possible for the corner (Tyler Patman) to easily beat the “rub” and make the play far short of the line to gain. Robbie also failed to get his fingers on top of a high throw on a stop route.
In my opinion, Baylor needs to focus on their elite receivers (Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood). To a lesser degree they need to involve Clay Fuller and Corey Coleman. For the most part, the other receivers have been a disappointment in performance and create confusion for the quarterback. Until these other players are ready to compete with top-notch defensive backs with quality man-to-man moves that can create space and are ready to attack the ball aggressively, playing the other receivers on the depth chart will create a situation where the quarterback will be waiting on a product that we have yet to see fulfilled.
A telling statistic is that the Bears only earned 6 first downs carrying the football (18 first downs were earned by passing, 2 by penalty). The Bears were only able to average 2.6 yards per rush, way below their season average.
It might surprise you to know that Baylor had more first downs than the Cowboys, they ran more plays than the Cowboys, and only punted 6 times – the same number as the Cowboys. Of course the big difference is that Baylor put the ball on the ground 4 times and lost 3 of them (twice in the Red Zone).
On 3rd and 2 from the Baylor 20-yard line, the Bears ran a jet sweep with two defenders outside the tackle to the playside. Either the tackle busted his responsibility by not reaching the nearest defender (he blocked inside) or Petty should have checked out of it to a pass to the short side. You can’t run that play and leave two defenders outside the tackle for the running back to beat. This caused the 2nd early 3-and out in a row.
Sometimes it’s just not your day. Bryce Petty stumbles when he looks inside to see if there is a defender closing on him and falls at the 1-yard line on a sure walk-in touchdown. Shock Linwood extends the ball on the 1-yard line and it is ruled a fumble by the head linesman when it could have been ruled down by loss of forward momentum. Charlie Moore catches a big 29-yard pass off of the Cowboy 1-yard line that is ruled in bounds. When Chelf keeps the ball to the right, he loses the ball. Miraculously, the ball bounces right up to the Cowboy QB just prior to him being hit by a couple of pursuing Bears. Chelf never sees Burt breaking on the post throw, but the ball travels just over Terrell’s out-stretched hand and into the arms of the receiver just in front of Stewart’s decent coverage – inches. Goodson is stride for stride with Moore and Chelf throws the ball low and inside, usually meaning the corner is about to intercept the ball. Instead, Goodson falls, misses the ball and the tackle and gives up a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half when the Bears desperately needed a stop. Antwan Goodley catches an apparent touchdown pass late in the 3rd quarter that would have narrowed the score to 28-10, but he barely stepped out of bounds when he broke to the end zone. Baylor on the 1 ½ yard line with 3rd down and a low snap gets by the quarterback and is returned by the Cowboys for a touchdown. Like I said: It wasn’t Baylor’s night.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Oklahoma State – November 23, 2013
On a cold November evening in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the national title hopes for the undefeated Baylor Bears came crashing to a definitive end when the favored Bears were out-hit on both sides of the ball. A national television audience got to see a game that did not even closely represent the kind of football the Baylor Bears have been able to play this fall. Whether it was the loss of just enough front line players, the lack of some players to rise to the occasion of the bigger stage, or if Oklahoma State is just that much better than Baylor at this specific point in time, the end result was a 49-17 defeat that was staggering to Baylor hopes of a Big XII championship.
With Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit doing the commentary for ABC television, the Bears struggled throughout the first half and most of the early portions of the second half to match the intensity with which the Cowboys were playing. Spurred on by their first sellout crowd, the Cowboys seemed to beat the higher-rated Bears to the punch at every turn. Even when the Bears might get a quality play, it was too difficult to sustain that kind of performance and it seemed that Oklahoma State would find a way of turning each circumstance to their favor.
Early last week, I found out that Coach Bennett and the defensive staff was planning to make four positions shifts on the defensive side of the ball to account for the fact that Bryce Hager was not going to be able to play defense. The plan was for Eddie Lackey (5) to move from WLB to MLB, Sam Holl (25) to move from NLB to WLB, Ahmad Dixon to move from down safety to his old position of NLB, and for Orion Stewart (28) to move into the starting down safety position. These kinds of decisions are very difficult. Do you go with a second line player that obviously the staff feels is just not quite ready or do you make several position shifts for players that are performing well to new positions (or positions they have not been playing for most of the year)? Hindsight is always 20/20. Honestly, I have to say that I have never had good success when we tried the multiple position shifts. On the other hand, many times when we played the second line player, it didn’t work out too well for us, either. Sometimes, losing the one player where your depth is a little suspect can make a world of difference. The Bears have been able to weather the storm of losses due to injury, but this week it was evident that the adjustments made by the staff were not going to be enough to stop a stout Cowboy offensive unit.
In a vital area for success as a team, Baylor lost the turnover battle 3-0. In another vital area, there was not one quarter where Baylor came within 1 minute of matching the Cowboys in time of possession. While time of possession is not totally important to Baylor, the Bears have been winning at least one quarter, if not more in time of possession as the game progresses. The Bears gave up 594 yards of total offense: 198 rushing and 440 passing. Chelf was 19 of 25 passing for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Cowboys chose to utilize two tight ends or two fullbacks to force the lightning quick Baylor defense to play big-boy football. By lining up in tight ends to each side, it allowed the offense to have 7 quick blockers and a running back and a quarterback in the backfield against 4 defensive linemen and two linebackers (one of which was playing a different inside linebacker position and the other was coming in from the NLB position to the new techniques of having to play downhill through blocks of 300 pound linemen.
It seemed like the Cowboys were always running to the backside of the Baylor slant. This means that the Bears were slanting away from where the Cowboys ended up running the football. This means that the linebackers had to replace the slant end. OSU was very good at picking up the scrape linebackers. The two fullback offense allowed the Cowboys to utilize misdirection in the backfield to confound the defensive reads. Some of this was breaking tendencies that I’m sure the Baylor defensive personnel had been well-schooled on throughout their work in the week prior to the game. The use of Kye Staley (9) was a ball carrier was very effective for the Cowboys.
Beau Blackshear (95) has been able to stand up to every guard he has met this fall. The Midway product has been stout, but against the right guard (71 - Graham) for OSU and the first time Beau was the point of attack, Baylor’s nose tackle got driven. You can see Beau hoping on his right foot, unable to get his left foot in the turf because of the power of the Cowboy’s block. At times, Beau was allowed to use his own read to run himself out of the play. On the Cowboys’ first touchdown, Beau read “reach” and attacked it, only to have the back cut underneath him and into the end zone through the large hole created by Beau’s effort to defeat the block of the center. On 3rd and 3, Beau made his best play of the evening. OSU tried a sweep toward Baylor’s sidelines. Beau was playing an inside shade of Graham (yes, that guy). Beau jacked the guard backwards then pursued down the line of scrimmage, making the tackle behind the line of scrimmage almost all the way outside to the numbers. This is a quality nose tackle play. In the department of “never quitting,” Beau made a similar play toward the end of the 4th quarter.
Andrew Billings (75) continues to impress. Andrew slanted to the field, but he play was going behind the big nose tackle. Andrew ran around the guard and came flat down the line, making the tackle on a crucial 3rd and 2. Andrew got held (big-time) by the right guard, but didn’t get the call from the alternate official who should have seen it.
Byron Bonds (96) continues to struggle with regaining the power and explosive play we saw earlier in this season. The play we have seen over the past couple of weeks is too high and over-extended. He’s not bending his knees nearly enough, playing too straight legged. This is a very poor position for developing power. Both Byron and Beau Blackshear did a terrific job of sniffing out a QB draw in the second quarter. They defeated their blockers, released and made the play on a play that has given the Bears trouble in the past. Byron got a real quick pressure on Chelf when they dropped their protection against the defensive tackle early in the 3rd quarter. This pressure forced Chelf to scramble for a short gain.
Terrance had a tendency to squeeze just a little too hard as a 5-technique and the Cowboys took advantage of that by running a veer read at him. With Terrance squeezing so hard, he wasn’t able to take either the running back or the quarterback on the play that looks like it’s going away from the defensive end, but actually he is the read and the point of attack. As always, Terrance was very good at denying the outside edge to the offense. On 3rd and 3, he set the corner very well to allow Beau Blackshear to make a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, denying the Cowboys a 3rd down conversion. Later Terrance corralled the sweep again, leading to another big loss because of the great pursuit of the Baylor defense.
On a critical 3rd and 1 at the Baylor 11-yard line, Chris was not even ready as the ball was snapped on a quick tempo play. Running a sweep across the backfield, Chris should have easily been able to make this play. But because the senior wasn’t even in his stance, the play got outside and down the sidelines for a Cowboy 1st down at the 5-yard line. Chris tied the Baylor all-time career record for sacks with his 15th sack – tying Daryl Gardener. Chris wasn’t in on a lot of plays, but when he got there, it was important. The defensive end had 2 ½ tackles for a loss and ½ a sack. It was Chris teaming up with Andrew Billings that threw Chelf for a quality sack on 1st and 10 after a turnover. Both Bears just ran by their blockers and met at the quarterback. Chris got a tackle for a loss when he ran a sweep down from behind in the 4th quarter.
Jamal Palmer (92) still does as good a job of coming hard down off the backside of a play to run it down from behind as any player on the defensive line. Jamal duplicated this feat on a 3rd quarter 3rd and 2, getting a tackle for a loss on the play. This young man is just QUICK.
Finally…where has the Baylor defensive pass rush gone? Throughout most of the year, the Bears have been terrific at bringing pressure. Even when they rushed only four, the Baylor defensive line was pretty good at making the QB uncomfortable. Against the Cowboys, the QB had way too much time to throw deep go route, square-ins, and comebacks.
On the 1st possession, on 4th and 1, the linebackers both scraped off of the slant defensive end’s backside and stuffed the OSU running back for a loss, giving the ball back to the Bears’ offense. The quick reaction, downhill attacking, and physical play that this stop demonstrated was seen far too little from the Baylor defense on Saturday night.
Eddie Lackey (5) played his heart out. The Baylor senior had 12 total tackles, 1 ½ tackles for a loss, and ½ a sack. Lackey was trying to play downhill from a new position and made several quality plays. His hit on the 4th and 1, stopping the first Cowboy possession, was textbook. His play on a quarterback keeper toward the Baylor sidelines was a powerful hit that resulted in a 4-yard loss. Eddie isn’t quite as big as Bryce and a couple of times this evidenced itself in tackles that fell forward for two more yards rather than being immediately stopped at the point of contact. Without the help of his buddy Bryce Hager, tackles like these just weren’t quite as effective. In fact, Eddie may have been feeling the pressure of having to play middle linebacker. He missed several tackles that you would expect him to make in most cases. The misdirection (and the giving of the ball to Staley – his first rushing touchdown of the season) really confused Eddie. On the first touchdown, Eddie is completely unblocked and standing right in the hole, but he can’t locate the ball. The ball carrier runs right by Lackey and into the end zone. If you ever have doubted Eddie’s hitting power, the hit on OSU’s freshman back in the 4th quarter should have convinced you that this senior can “bring the wood.”
Sam Holl (25) was probably in a no-win situation. He had to play his first game EVER as an inside linebacker against one of the best teams in the Big XII. In addition, the Cowboys chose to bulk up and play big-boy football because the Bears were playing without their starting middle linebacker. Finally, Sam just doesn’t have the size to matchup with the guards and the lead backs with the kind of tackle necessary to stop plays from falling forward for a couple of extra yards almost every time. Also, Sam was just a tick too slow at recognizing several plays. Sam saw what was happening, but he just wasn’t pulling the trigger like a linebacker must do to limit gains by quality backs. This allowed the running backs just that extra edge to make additional yardage. Given all that, it might be surprising that Sam had 8 tackles, ½ a tackle for a loss, and a quarterback hurry in the game. As the 1st half progressed, you could see Sam get more and more lateral in his work, instead of working downhill. This comes from inexperience at the position (all young LB do this). Because he was doing this, there was no point of attack cutback defender and no additional help for the front side linebacker on making the play on the running back. Sam smacked Chelf right in the chest as he let go of a deep post that fell incomplete. On a 3rd quarter sweep to his side, Sam was ridden way off the ball (and the corner to that side got rolled up by the tight end) allowing a huge gain. Holl and Lackey did a good job of reading Chelf’s eyes and forced a low throw (probably a throwaway) to an in-breaking receiver in the 4th quarter.
Ahmad was hurt on the 4th and 1 stop on the Cowboys’ first possession when the tight end (86) pealed back and clipped the NLB. This was a cheap shot and looked like it came after the forward momentum had been stopped and the whistle should have blown. Ahmad was obviously dragging his leg when he failed to get any kind of jam on Moore (87), who just hooked up in front of the down safety for a big gain. Playing on a dragging leg, Ahmad totaled 9 tackles on the evening. Ahmad got pinned inside by the tackle on Chelf’s keeper for a touchdown. The Bears’ linebackers have struggled with this diagnosis all season. When the tackle is looping outside, he’s going out there for a reason. Beat the block and the ball will be there for you.
As opposed to what the Baylor Nation saw from the Bear receivers when they were closely guarded, the Cowboy receivers did a fantastic job of catching the ball despite tough conditions.
Demetri Goodson (3) played just a little out of control against the quick Cowboy receivers. After the Baylor fumble at the 1-yard line, the Cowboys came right after the highly respected Baylor corner with great success. Playing press coverage, Goodson seemed to be reaching for the jam much too hard instead of moving his feet. Obviously, the jam is important. But it is more important to be able to have your feet underneath you to run with the receiver if you are in a position where you can expect very little help from the safety (which both of these two plays were). On the go route down the OSU sidelines from their own 1-yard line, Demetri was beaten on the release and never seemed to be able to get his stride back to chase the receiver (Moore). A perfectly thrown ball allowed Moore to catch the ball without Goodson being able to contend it. On the succeeding play, it appeared that Demetri was going for an undercut of the corner route, but the ball was thrown behind the defender and over his head. When Goodson tried to turn to play the ball, he lost his footing. Baylor was saved by great hustle from Terrell Burt (13), who might have been supposed to help in coverage but was beaten by the play action. Sometimes it is difficult to determine who is at fault. One such play was when Jeremy Seals was left totally uncovered in the short wide side flat. Seals caught the ball and turned upfield for a big gain. The most likely coverage would have had Demetri sink on the corner and redirect back to the ball. Demetri was sold out to cover the corner route and couldn’t get back. The coverage might have been Ahmad’s in the flat, but we don’t know. The back-breaking play of the game had to be the one-on-one go route against Tracy Moore on the 1st possession of the 2nd half. Demetri, again, got over-extended on his jam attempt and was beaten cleanly. The Baylor cornerback, to his credit, did a great job of scrambling back to be able to contend for the ball. But he missed the ball and, more importantly, the tackle. This catch and run covered 56 yards for a touchdown and put the Cowboys up 21-3. Even though Demetri had been picked on by the Cowboys for the whole game, on the next possession, Goodson came back to get a terrific deflection on a flea-flicker. Goodson stayed with his man-to-man coverage throughout the play and made a great play on the ball. A couple of plays later, Charlie Moore (17) beat Demetri on a go route. Demetri just lost his footing as he overran the ball and Moore did a good job of coming back for the catch. Not to pile on Demetri, but Staley almost scored when Demetri got caught running inside in man-to-man coverage on a short side sweep. At least Demetri made the play, but gave up 4 yards down to the Baylor 1-yard line.
Joe Williams (22) should get special mention for knocking Chelf out of bounds on the throw back pass to the quarterback. Joe sold out to run all the way across the field to prevent the touchdown. By the way, you have to give credit to Coach Gundy in dialing up that go route with his number one quarterback in the game at the 3-minute mark left in the game and leading 42-10. His brilliant call beating Joe Williams certainly made a great impression on the voters (sarcasm). On the other hand, it was just another example of OSU’s bigger receivers beating Baylor’s man coverage. Joe lost his leverage and Seales just got behind him. Joe made a good play on the ball, he just wasn’t tall enough.
K.J. Morton (8) was just a couple of steps and one lucky bounce away from being able to make a huge play covering the ball that Chelf dropped on a scramble away from the blitz that the Baylor cornerback was doing from the short side. Instead, K.J. had to content himself with a sack on the play (with help from Eddie Lackey).
The basic idea it seemed that OSU came into the game with was to attack the Baylor safety coverage. They were able to isolate the inside receivers on the Baylor safeties quite a few times. With the inside linebackers occupied with the play fake (and trying to cope with new positions), the inside receivers had a pretty easy run at the safeties, who struggled to maintain tight coverage on those quick players. Any time the Cowboys were “behind the sticks,” it seemed they ran a square-in or an intermediate out route right in front of the safety coverage. Terrell Burt gave Stewart plenty of respect on a 2nd and 19 at the Baylor 39-yard line. The explosive Cowboy was able to use this space in breaking off a square-in for 18 of those 19 yards needed. All night long, Terrell had a tough coverage responsibility with the explosive Stewart. For the most part, the young safety did a good job of tackling this dynamic player. I don’t usually highlight a play that beat the Bears, but you have to recognize the break on the ball by Terrell from the offside safety to get right under a post that Chelf threw just over Burt and in front of Orion Stewart’s coverage. 9 times out of 10 that would be an interception for Burt. He’s is getting better in deep coverage. On the next play, Terrell didn’t see the short drag until it was too late, giving up the touchdown. On the opening play from scrimmage in the second half, the Bear defense pushed the sweep to Burt, who inexplicably missed the tackle, giving the Cowboys a big 13-yard gain. Terrell got beaten just enough on the reverse pass to Tracy Moore. Burt didn’t take the whole fake, but he allowed Moore just enough room to make the catch.
Orion Stewart (28) was getting his first start as a Baylor Bear. During the contest, Orion tallied a career-high 12 tackles, including 7 solo tackles (but it isn’t always a good thing when the down safety has the most tackles) and 1 pass broken up. He was understandably reluctant to get beaten deep, so this made him slightly slow at jumping an out route by Moore. Stewart didn’t redirect on the release, lagging back to make sure of his tackle. This made the catch much too easy. Later, on 2nd and 21, Chelf hit Moore right in front of Stewart on a deep square-in. Both Stewart and Burt did a good job of bracketing Moore when the Cowboy receiver tried to split the safeties on a post in the 3rd quarter. Orion made a terrific play to stop a slip screen and force a punt on a 3-and-out in the 4th quarter.
For those of you that believe that press man-to-man coverage with the corners is the only way to play pass defense, this is the kind of night you get when your corners (or even just one corner) cannot keep pace in their coverage. Press man looks great when you are better. When you aren’t, it’s a coverage set up to give the offense big play after big play.
A couple of times, Baylor utilized a late blitz look to confuse the young OSU quarterback. It resulted in one delay of game penalty and a timeout.
Spencer Roth (34) is able to punt the ball in several different ways. He was very good at punting a low line drive type of punt when the Bears needed a long punt without giving the explosive Stewart a chance to return the ball. These punts rolled for additional yardage, extending the Cowboy’s field position. When he was punting toward the Cowboy end zone, Roth laid the ball up high, allowing the coverage to converge on the return man, forcing the fair catch. Spencer did have a touchback on a punt from the Cowboy 41-yard line.
As badly as both the offense and the defense had played in the 1st half (and how unbelievable Chelf had been throwing the football), the Bears were only down 14-3 at the end of the first two periods. Remember the Bears had given away a touchdown when Petty inexplicably fell at the 1-yard line and then Linwood fumbled foolishly extending the ball short of the goal line. At halftime, you know that Coach Bennett was telling his charges that the Bears needed to get a stop on the Cowboys and let the offense that had just driven the length of the field for a field goal a chance to score to narrow the lead to less than one touchdown. It was not to be. Goodson gave up the 56-yard go route to Moore and the avalanche began to build momentum. While the offense continued to struggle, the Baylor defense gave up 21 points in that 3rd quarter.
The Baylor defense needs to check its “hole card.” This unit plays lights out, physical football at home in Floyd Casey Stadium. But it struggles to duplicate that kind of effort, intensity, and physicality on the road. On the road, the defense seems to be tentative and a step too slow. It seems that without the passion of the crowd behind them that the Baylor defense cannot come up with the kind of performance we have seen so often in Waco.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
The Baylor Bears’ offense is reaching near-mythical proportions as it continues its march through the 2013 schedule. The Bears are averaging more than 100 more per game than the next nearest offense in the national rankings. On Saturday, the 675 yards gained against a very tough Tech squad playing its best defensive game since the OU game meant that the Bears had at least 400+ yards in 36 straight games – the next closest is Texas A&M at 21 straight. The 6,153 yards gained by this Baylor offense would place that total 4th most in Baylor history, with this group having 3 regular season games plus a bowl game left in the 2013 season.
All you need to know about this game is that Baylor had one 300-yard passer, two 100-yard rushers, and two 100-yard receivers on the evening. Out of these young men, only two of them were considered to be unquestioned starters two weeks ago. Amazing.
The starting offensive line has been very consistent over the last 9 games. They are: Spencer Drango (58) at left tackle, All-American Cyril Richardson (68) at left guard, Stefan Huber (54) at center, Desmine Hilliard (67) at right guard, and Kelvin Palmer (77) at right tackle. This group received some much deserved publicity in a recent ESPN piece where Trevor Matich highlighted the brutal nature of the blocks being passed out by that “Good ‘Ole Baylor Line.”
This week we have found out that Spencer Drango has been nursing a severe back injury. To think that this young man has performed so well with an injury like this is quite remarkable. But it does go a long way in explaining some of the difficulty he had on Saturday and the way we saw him get on and off the field. When I saw him come off the field, my mind tried to remember if I had seen him have that kind of a gait previously. Now I know why. One of Spencer’s greatest attributes has been the ability to get initial movement and then just keep moving the defender until the whistle blows. Against the Red Raiders, Spencer just couldn’t get that done. He would establish excellent position, but he just couldn’t get the foot movement going to create the kind of block we have come to expect from the big left tackle. The most obvious play where you knew something was wrong with Spencer was the time when the defensive end (Roberts) just ran a speed rush around Drango for a sack. Spencer was even in the same area code as the defender. That is just not your normal work from the Cedar Park product. Here’s hoping that the surgery has gone well and that Spencer will be able to return to his spot an injury free athlete.
Pat Colbert (69) was a tight end two years ago. He has since outgrown that position and taken the athletic qualities of a tight end to the important position of left tackle. I don’t know whether or not Colbert will be replacing Drango on Saturday against the Cowboys, but he’ll have to play a very consistent game on the backside of his quarterback for the Bears to be successful. On Shock’s touchdown, Colbert drove his man almost all the way into the end zone from the 10-yard line.
Cyril Richardson continues to be a terrific run blocker for the Baylor offense. He was dominant against the Tech defensive tackles. It’s disappointing to see Cyril and the center continue to have trouble picking up simple twist stunts between defensive tackles or a tackle and a linebacker. Cyril has a bad habit of over-committing to the inside rusher and as a result he can’t redirect fast or well enough to get back outside to the loop player coming over the top of the DT going inside. Cyril gave up a sack on the first possession (3rd and 15) on just such a stunt. On Devin’s long touchdown run, Cyril stepped down to ensure the nose tackle and then climbed to the linebacker, breaking the young back through level two and into the secondary. This was a very agile and quick move by a guy that is so large.
Stefan Huber had a good game against the Tech defense. Stefan and Cyril had another miscommunication on a swing pass to the running back. Stefan thought he had help from the guard, but Cyril fanned. Stefan couldn’t pick up the nose tackle (the QB got the ball off quickly enough). A lot of times this fall, Stefan has gotten good body position on a nose tackle – giving the back enough room to run by his block. But this week, Stefan stepped up his drive blocking, getting quality movement several times during this contest.
Desmine Hilliard continues to improve. He has always been a powerful blocker, but he has become much more proficient in almost all aspects of offensive line play. He has always had the potential to be a terrific drive blocker, but he is just now really developing excellent movement. If you pair these two large guards, you really can move the line of scrimmage in a positive manner. Desmine was highlighted for an awesome block he got on a power play to the tackle over. Desmine pulled to the point of attack where 3 Red Raiders were ready to hit the running back. Desmine was able to collapse the first two defenders and his block was so powerful, it cut off the outside defender from being able to get to the back. He blocked 3 defenders with one block. Desmine gave up a sack when he got overextended and the Tech DT was able to pull the big guard forward and then rip by him. A guy with Desmine’s size and girth shouldn’t be that easily pulled forward if his protection body position is even close to right. This means that Desmine’s technique on that play was really not good.
Kelvin Palmer had the first quarter “from hell.” When you have two illegal procedure penalties and a holding penalty, you’ve done just about as much to stymie your offense as a lineman can do and still remain on the field. When Baylor goes to the tackle over formation, Kelvin has just become deadly. The first time the Bears utilized this alignment, Kelvin drove the defensive end down so far that his block picked up the defensive tackle, too. Both Kelvin and Desmine continue to have just a little bit of trouble with getting beaten on an inside pinch move by defensive linemen. It seems like they are not getting the inside gap covered on their initial step. On Petty’s fumble, it was Kelvin’s linebacker that got away and was able to strip the ball. It might be unfair to criticize Kelvin for this because he was probably blocking for the running back, not knowing that the QB was keeping the ball. Kelvin got beaten on an inside rush, allowing a quarterback hurry that resulted in an incomplete pass to a Baylor receiver that had gotten behind everyone. Kelvin seemed to be getting a lot more movement on his blocks this week. He was usually in better body position and he’s always had fast feet.
Troy Baker (75) continues to progress in his rehab of his surgically repaired knee. It was about this time last fall that Cameron Kaufhold finally began to resemble what we all remembered to be his optimal skill level. If Troy can mimic the progress we saw in Kaufhold, it couldn’t come at a better time. Baylor needs stability and depth at the tackle position with the loss of Drango. Baker being able to play at a 2012 level would provide that kind of security should other tackles falter. At times, you still don’t see the kind of foot movement the big tackle from Waco demonstrated last fall. But he is improving – he’s looking more athletic.
Jordan Najvar (18) continues to be the glue that holds the Baylor running game together. His ability to play multiple alignments and blocks in such varied positions is priceless to the running backs. Because Jordan comes at defenders from a lot of different angles, the defense will step up into a hole thinking they are about to blow up the back. When this happens, Jordan just blindsides them. His blocking opens big holes for the ball carriers to exploit. Jordan had the misfortune of being called for a hold on what appeared to me a quality block. Without seeing it close up, I can’t determine if he was grabbing cloth on the play.
TreVon Armstead (41) continues to prove that tight end might just be his position of the future. What I thought might be a stop-gap measure while Jordan recovered from his back injury has turned out to be a revelation for Baylor’s offense. With both Armstead and Najvar on the field, Baylor has the ability to utilize either player as a tight end or an H-back. This can cause alignment problems for the opponent’s defense. In addition, they are both really good at what they are doing. By the way, if you want to see something special, watch TreVon in the middle of the line in front of the returners on the Baylor kickoff return. This big man is blowing people up in the middle of the return. The return men are getting huge holes through which to run because of this young man’s toughness and ability.
Jerod Monk (20) is such a steady player. He does a very good job of blocking from a traditional tight end alignment.
Overall, the delayed blitzes and the twists by the defensive line gave the Bears offensive line too much trouble for this time of year. By this time of year, those problems should be pretty well ironed out. On the other hand, I have never seen a Baylor offensive line roll back a quality defensive line like the Bears did to the Red Raiders on Saturday. It was a quality butt kicking.
For the 3rd time this fall, the Baylor Bears had two 100-yard rushers – it was two totally different guys, this time. Another thing that surface on Saturday was the ability of these young backs to consistently run through tacklers that appeared to be in great position to make the play. I wonder how many times these two young backs just put defenders on their backsides as the broke the tackle for additional yards. This was very impressive.
Shock Linwood (32) is a beast. Several weeks ago, a poster asked me if I thought Shock possessed similar qualities to Jay Finley. At this point, I’d have to say that while he possesses similar qualities, this red-shirt freshman from a small east Texas school has surpassed the abilities of Mr. Finley (who was and is a high-quality back). Against the Red Raiders, Shock displayed a better, speed, power and toughness combination than we have seen from him in any previous game. Did I say he was a beast? Shock was a workhorse when the Bears desperately needed a back to come through for them and be able to carry the ball large amounts of the time for quality yardage. Shock ran inside, he ran outside, he ran over Tech defenders. Shock carried the ball 29 times for 188 yards and one touchdown. Shock is just 31 yards shy of Robert Griffin III’s freshman rushing record of 843 yards). In addition, Shock did something that no other Baylor back has been able to do this fall – he caught a pass. Shock’s 15 yard reception is the first catch for a Baylor running back this season. This might be something that the Bears can add to this offense to make it even more difficult to stop. The opposing linebackers have to work very hard, getting under vertical routes by the Baylor receivers. It is almost impossible to do this and still be able to cover the kind of running backs that Baylor possesses if Petty starts throwing them the ball.
Wow! Devin Chafin (28) came of age against the Red Raiders. During this spring, I had Devin pigeon-holed as a long striding, speed back that was very effective running the sweep, but would probably struggle with the inside run. Even earlier this fall, Devin had difficulty picking up his feet in tight, short yardage situations, tripping over fallen players and landing short of the line to gain. Against the Red Raiders, Devin looked like a complete back. While he carried the ball only 11 times, he gained 100 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. In those 11 carries, he had several carries where he just blew up Tech defenders. On Devin’s first touchdown, a linebacker shot the gap and had the back dead to rights a couple of yards deep in the backfield. Chafin just gave a little ground, hit the edge of the defender instead of the middle, and just ran through the tackle for the TD.
Anthony Webb (14) came in after Bryce Petty (14) went out of the game because you can’t have two number 14’s in the game at the same time. Webb carried the ball 4 times for 18 yards – not bad for a defensive back.
Bryce Petty had a terrific day. He completed 17 passes on 31 attempts for 3 touchdowns, with no interceptions. In addition, he just missed (or had drops) on several more big-play opportunities against the tight coverage of the Texas Tech secondary. On top of his passing prowess, Bryce ran for two scores. In his nine starts for the Bears, Petty has yet to throw for less than 200 yards and less than 2 touchdown passes. He has an 8-game streak of a rushing and a passing TD; tying him for 3rd nationally since 1988 (Tim Tebow has the record with 14 games in a row, with Marcus Mariota at 9 and Colin Kaepernick at 8).
Seth Russell (17) seemed to be much more composed against Tech than we have seen him be in the two previous games. He was better at taking care of the ball, which is a primary concern when you take over from the starter with a large lead late in the game. The cardinal sin is to give the ball back to the opposition, punting is a good thing (if necessary). As always, Seth demonstrated himself to be a superior ball carrier from the quarterback position. Seth had 3 carries for 29 yards, averaging 9.7 yards per carry.
With the loss of Tevin Reese, the young Baylor receivers continue to struggle to make quality contributions. In this premier receiver’s absence, the offense has turned to Levi Norwood (42) and Clay Fuller (23), the more experienced players to fill the void left by “Sweet Feet.”
Levi had an outstanding game. His 58-yard punt return for a touchdown totally changed the game. It invigorated a wobbly Baylor offense and created doubt in a upset-minded Texas Tech defense. Norwood’s return was a credit to this young man’s uncanny to weave in and out of tight traffic. In addition, you have to be impressed with the hustle and skill that the blockers on the punt return unit demonstrated on that play. Guys were hustling and getting quality position of defenders. They displayed the patience necessary to allow the defender to get in a position where they would not block them in the back. All of this worked together to create an outstanding play. In addition to this outstanding play, Levi contributed 7 receptions for 156 yards and 2 outstanding catch-and-run touchdowns. On every catch, Levi was able to give defenders the slip for extra yardage. He was very elusive on Saturday. On Levi’s first touchdown, Norwood ran inside the strong safety and then got into a vertical seam. He caught the ball underneath the safety and then came to a quick stop, allowing the defender to run by him, and then motored into the end zone.
Antwan Goodley (5) had a quality day, but he just missed on having a huge day. It is arguable that Antwan had three other plays during this game that might have gone for long gains (and probably touchdowns). I don’t want to be too harsh, but it looked like Antwan should have had at least a couple of these near misses. The combination of Petty to Goodley has been terrific all year. Here’s hoping that these two can recover the synergy that they displayed earlier in the season. While it wasn’t quite as good as it might have been, Antwan still had a pretty good day. The elite Baylor receiver had 4 catches for 101 yards (his 6th time over 100 yards receiving) and a touchdown, his 11th touchdown of this season. While I have fussed a little about a couple of missed opportunities, it wouldn’t be fair of me if I didn’t mention a phenomenal catch made by Antwan when he had to come across the corner and was able to reach around the defender to the ball for a 58-yard reception. It was the best catch of the evening. Antwan’s touchdown came on a post cut that left the corner and got behind the safety. Goodley’s ability to do this consistently demonstrates that some of the young receivers still aren’t quite where they need to be, because they can’t get this kind of separation, consistently.
Clay Fuller contributed a modest 2 catches for 18 yards. He, also, contributed two quality kickoff returns to the Baylor effort, especially the 43-yard return in the 1st quarter – his longest as a Baylor Bear. Clay got called for offensive pass interference when he did a poor job of setting the pick for Antwan Goodley. Clay has to appear to be trying to get open as he runs into the defender trying to cover Goodley.
Corey Coleman has had the most impact of the young receiving group. Coleman caught 3 passes for 45 yards. Corey had an effective 27-yard kickoff return, too. Corey showed excellent understanding of zone coverage when he stopped beyond the corner and underneath the safety right in the hole in the coverage of the 2-deep zone the Red Raiders were running. This is good offense. Additionally, it was great to see Corey demonstrating that he is become more of a complete player by doing a great job of stalk blocking for Levi on the bubble screen. Earlier this fall, Levi and Tevin were getting blown up by defenders that Corey was supposed to be blocking. Saturday, Corey was a lockout blocker. Defenders didn’t even have a chance of getting away from the young Baylor receiver. Corey still needs to work on getting better separation on his vertical cuts. He is still having a hard time beating defenders vertically on a consistent basis.
Jay Lee (4) and Robbie Rhodes (3) are still struggling to uncover themselves against the tougher defensive backs in the Big XII. To be fair, it did appear that Robbie Rhodes’ blocking had improved.
Baylor is now an FBS-best 13-1 in the months of November and December since 2011 and has run its record to 5-1 against ranked teams during those months. Baylor extended its school record for consecutive wins to 13 straight, eclipsing a record that dates back to the 1936-1937 seasons. That 13-game winning streak is the 3rd longest active winning streak in the nation, just one game behind the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Almost more unbelievably, the Bears have now won 9 straight Big XII games (obviously a Baylor record). Baylor is 6-0 in Big XII play this season, the first time in program history that the Baylor Bears are atop the conference standings this late in the season. And this group of seniors has now won 34 games over their 4 years representing Baylor University, eclipsing by 4 games their records of the senior classes of 1986 and 1988.
Aaron Jones (43) deserves special recognition for the fact that he broke the NCAA record for career PATs made with 260, bringing his career total points to 419. Jones has made a school record of 175 consecutive PATs. Additional credit needs to go to Zac Northern (65), the deep snapper, and holder Brody Trahan (15) for their contributions to this record.
One interesting thing to remember is that with less than 4 minutes left in the 1st quarter, the Bears were trailing 20-7. At the change of ends to begin the 2nd quarter, the score was 21-20. That’s pretty cool.
One of the best things that happened at the end of the game was the fact that the second team offense got the ball with 6:33 left in the game. They didn’t throw a pass on the drive and they ran out the clock without Tech ever getting the ball. It was power blocking and power running by Baylor’s second team offense.
A concern is that some of the Baylor skill guys have started to push the limits of what is an allowable celebration after a touchdown. While I would want these guys to be able to have fun and enjoy what they and their teammates just accomplished, that mini-celebration isn’t worth a 15-yard penalty on the succeeding kickoff.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Texas Tech – November 16, 2013
The Baylor Bears ran their season record to 9-0 for the first time in program history with a 63-34 pasting of the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT&T Stadium (Jerry World) in Arlington, TX in front of almost 70k (69,188). The Bears demonstrated depth and resilience as they overcame significant injuries to Tevin Reese, Lache Seastrunk, and Glasco Martin IV to post their 6th conference victory which left the Bears all alone at the top of the Big XII standings (as a result of OSU defeating Texas on Saturday). The victory propelled the Bears to number 4 in the nation in most polls and left them just .013 behind number three, Ohio State University, in their race to be the heir-apparent should either Alabama or Florida State stub a toe in the final month of the season.
Tech was a “game” football team and they made some miraculous plays. But for the most part, they got “out hit” all night long. On both sides of the ball, the Baylor Bears were laying the wood to the Red Raiders. The Baylor running backs ran over numerous defenders and the Baylor defensive backs and linebackers were laying the lumber on the Tech skill players. Both sides of the Baylor line controlled the line of scrimmage against this hard-playing Red Raider squad. Coach Kliff Kingsbury is doing a good job with the group from Lubbock, his outfit just isn’t quite ready to match up with the Baylor Bears at this time.
Texas Tech was the most explosive opponent the Bears have faced to date this season. The Red Raiders are extremely proficient at throwing the football and they are not shy about doing it. The Red Raiders threw 54 pass, completing 29 of them for an average per attempt of 5.9 yards. While this isn’t a big average, Tech was surprisingly patient and seemed content at just moving the sticks. The Bears gave up 454 total yards and 5 touchdowns on the evening. Baylor forced the Red Raiders to punt 7 times and stopped them on one 4th down conversion attempt. The Bears held Tech to only 7 of 17 on 3rd down conversions – not outstanding, but acceptable. In addition, the Bears caused 4 fumbles on the evening, recovering 2 of them, and had a miraculous interception for a total of 3 turnovers (Baylor had only 1 turnover).
One troubling statistic that the Bears have been good at all season until now was the fact that Tech was 5 for 5 on scoring touchdowns when they got into the Red Zone. Tech came into the game having had to settle for 20 field goals on the year. This signifies that the Red Raiders have had real problems scoring touchdowns in the Red Zone. They had no such problems against the Bears on Saturday. The Tech receivers came up with some terrific catches on excellent throws, to be sure. But the Bears can’t be happy with not being able to deny the touchdown in the manner that we have seen the Bears be able to do for most of this year.
In my opinion, the major difference in the game and the biggest contributing factor to Tech scoring only twice after the 1st quarter was the depth Baylor possesses in the defensive line. Baylor has the ability to work with 8-9 defensive linemen that can really play. This allows Coach Bennett the luxury of being able to rotate players in against an offensive line that is being challenged with fresh players on every snap. The defensive line has good size, excellent quickness, good speed, and has improved their techniques weekly.
The starting defensive line was Terrance Lloyd (11) and Chris McAllister (31) at defensive end and Byron Bonds (96) and Beau Blackshear (95) at defensive tackle.
Right off the bat (on the second play of the game) Beau Blackshear had an opportunity to record a sack. Beau did a great job of using his hands to “throw the tackle to the side” and got right in the QB’s face. In a theme that was repeated quite often on Saturday night, Baker Mayfield (the Tech QB) was able to sidestep Blackshear and maneuver through the arm tackle to dump the ball short of the receiver, escaping what appeared to be a sure sack. Beau did a great job of beating a hold by Alfredo Morales, ripping through the guard and turning a tight corner to get a sack on the elusive Tech quarterback in the 4th quarter.
Coach Bennett brought the second group of defensive tackles into the game on the first Tech possession of the game – at nose tackle was Andrew Billings (75), the true freshman from Waco High. On his first play, Andrew beat the Tech center quickly and had a free rush at Mayfield, who got rid of the ball too quickly for an opportunity at a sack. On the halfback pass for the first Red Raider touchdown, it was Andrew, bulling through a reach block effort by the backside guard, that almost got to the running back prior to his launching a strike to the back of the end zone. Andrew, later in the 1st quarter, ripped through the center and chased Mayfield out of the pocket. If the defensive end to that side had contained the quarterback, Billings would have had a sure sack. Instead, Mayfield was able to throw the ball away. I really liked how Andrew was able to come off of a slant taking him away from the play and get back to get a big hand on the Tech running back, pulling the ball carrier down with a little assist from the linebacker. Later, Billings earned a “chop block call” when he beat the center immediately. The center tried to clip Andrew just as the running back initiated contact. Andrew showed great quickness on that play. In fact, Andrew just abused the Tech center and guards for most of the evening. Andrew allowed Mayfield out of the pocket by not being able to disengage with the Tech guard as Jamal Palmer flushed the QB out early. In the 2nd half, Andrew just drove the Tech left guard back into the QB, forcing a rushed throw into coverage which resulted in a tipped ball, but no interception. Later, Andrew forced the guard to hold him rather than give up a sack when Palmer forced the QB to step up and scramble out of the pocket.
Byron Bonds didn’t seem to have the power and speed off the snap that we have seen the last few weeks, early in the game. He appeared to be standing up much more and didn’t have the foot movement that we have seen previously. Byron was much slower to disengage with a blocker against the run and didn’t get as much push as he has before in the pass rush. I don’t know if this true freshman is nursing an injury or if he just hit “the freshman wall,” but his play was not close to the same level that we have seen in previous weeks. Byron made a huge blunder in pass rush on the second possession of the game. Blackshear was on a twist, where Byron was supposed to rush hard to the right. Byron appeared to think that Mayfield was going to scramble to the right and Bonds started to run back away from where he was supposed to go on the stunt. This opened a gaping hole on the Bears’ right side of the pocket, through which Mayfield scampered for a 19-yard gain and a 1st down. Whereas Morales (56) was having a difficult time blocking all of the other DTs, Byron was handled by the Tech blocker when they ran a draw play right by the Allen product.
Suleiman Masumbuko (93) came into the game on the first drive by Tech. Suleiman got called for a defensive holding of the center. This is a very strange call. Usually you see it on a zone block when the center is trying to work to level two. Here the center was trying to get out on the screen, but it appeared that the players just got their arms tangled (to be fair to the umpire, the angle we had on television didn’t help me to determine whether or not it was legitimate holding or not). Later, it was Suleiman forcing a Tech lineman to hold him when Sule really did a great job of squeezing the inside hole, forcing the running back to run to his gap. In the 2nd half, Sule got his hand caught in a facemask which robbed the big DT of a quality QB hurry, forcing Mayfield to scramble.
The biggest problem that the defensive tackles had on Saturday was the lack of ability to maintain their rush lanes and collapse the pocket on the Tech QB. Too often they allowed themselves to be wadded up together in the middle or run upfield beyond the QB, opening up huge throwing windows or run lanes for the opposing quarterback.
Terrance Lloyd has become much more effective as a pass rusher. Previous to this year, Terrance was too stiff in the hips and not strong enough in the legs to generate quality pass rush consistently. This fall, Terrance has been able to get push on the quarterbacks, even against the strongest tackles. This new-found ability has been a good complement to the quickness of Chris McAllister on the opposite side.
On 1st and goal with the Bears leading 28-0, Chris McAllister got great penetration which forced the running back to bubble back, keeping him from being able to score.
Jamal Palmer (92) has been very good at sniffing out special plays like screens. On Tech’s 3rd possession, Jamal came off of his rush and redirected to the Tech running back, trying to set up a screen. Palmer ran the back down from behind, recording a tackle for a loss. Later in the 1st quarter, Jamal lost contain on Mayfield, making it possible for the Tech QB to throw the ball away instead of being sacked by the nose tackle. On the next drive, Jamal got caught inside, again, giving up a scramble that resulted in a 3rd down conversion for Tech on a 3rd and 7 from the Tech 29-yard line. On the reverse (a few plays later), Jamal didn’t demonstrate the agility we saw from McAllister last week, but he did a decent job of redirecting and getting in on the play. One of Jamal’s best plays of the days came on pass coverage. Jamal dropped to the flat on a zone drop and got right in the throwing lane on an out route. Jamal reached up and might have distracted the Tech receiver. I’d be distracted, too, if a guy Jamal’s size was on me in pass coverage. Jamal got a quality QB hurry on a 3rd and 8 late in the 3rd quarter, but Mayfield hurled the ball upfield and completed a miraculous pass (Andrew Billings got held on that play, too, but they didn’t see it). In the 4th quarter, Jamal did a great job of redirecting on a Mayfield scramble and dove to be able to tack the ball from the young quarterback’s hands, creating the fumble (Tech recovered).
Shawn Oakman (2) is still doing a good job of driving tackles back into the quarterback. His power, for a guy of that length, is surprising. Shawn did a good job of squeezing down on a draw to come up with the tackle for a short gain on a 4th quarter run effort by Tech.
Two big points of emphasis for the Bears’ defensive line in the week to come has to be: (1) nailing down the tackle when you get a sack opportunity and (2) containing the quarterback from both the defensive ends on the outside and collapsing the pocket from the defensive tackles on the inside. The Bears gave Mayfield WAY TOO MANY second chances by not taking care of these two critical factors on Saturday.
The biggest question mark coming out of the game was, “What is the status of Bryce Hager (44)?” Hager has been a bell-cow for the Baylor defense since he returned to the lineup after Rodney Chadwick got hurt last fall. Hager tweaked an already sore groin to the point that he was not able to return to the game. Hager has the size, speed, strength, and experience combination that really is able to shore up the interior of the Baylor defense. His heady play is a perfect complement to the youthful enthusiasm of the defensive tackles in front of the junior from Westlake HS in Austin. With Hager’s participation in the upcoming game in Stillwater being highly in doubt, the bulk of the responsibility for replacing the middle linebacker appears to fall on Aiavion Edwards (#20, the 6’1”, 225, red-shirt freshman from Stephenville HS) and Brody Trahan (15). Edwards lacks the experience of Hager and Trahan lacks the size and strength. These two young men will have to play well to hold the effective running back/quarterback tandem that Oklahoma State possesses.
During the game, Bryce was given the dual responsibility of jamming Amaro when he was the inside receiver in trips and still being able to squeeze the run from outside of the box. This put a great deal of stretch for Hager to get both of these jobs covered, but the junior did a pretty good job of doing both. When Tech allowed Hager to play inside the box by balancing up their formation, Bryce did a quality job of playing downhill on the run. Bryce just missed an interception opportunity when the ball came off of Grant’s hands and toward the Baylor linebacker. Linebackers are taught that when the QB sets quickly (1-step from the gun or 3-step drops from underneath) to work directly outside (no drop). This learning put Bryce right where he needed to be on that play. Bryce was very good at inside-out pursuit on the bubble screens. He trusted that the NLB would turn the play back to him and that the cover safety would be the “cap” over the top. His job was to deny the cutback into the middle of the field. He did this job very well. On the 1st Tech drive, you might have seen an indication that Hager had a sore groin. Mayfield got lose on a scramble and Bryce didn’t redirect back as dynamically as we have seen in the past. On Bryce’s last play, he scraped for contain on Mayfield. Hager forced the QB to pull up, but overshot the tackle. When he did, the Baylor linebacker did a poor version of the splits, injuring his groin good and proper. Bryce had 6 total tackles and a QB hurry in his short evening of work.
Brody Trahan was the immediate replacement for Bryce Hager. Trahan is an experienced player that really understands the system, but he’s limited physically (compared to Hager). Brody is well-suited to play the sideline-to-sideline bubble screen system of Texas Tech, but he struggles with the power inside running game. Brody was mismatched with the big tight end from Tech and allowed him too easy of a release on a vertical route that resulted in a big hit from the deep end of the secondary (and an incompletion). Aiavion Edwards came into the game as Tech neared the goal line. Edwards has good instincts, but he is not quite the tackler that Bryce Hager has been for the Bears. As a tackler, he still has a young player’s mentality of tackling at the ankles. That just won’t get it at this level. Edwards ( a RS FR) will need to grow up quickly. One little tidbit in the game occurred when I thought Edwards was aligned a little too close to the line of scrimmage for his coverage on the inside receiver in trips. Aiavion glanced inside to the more experienced Lackey and immediately adjusted his alignment to a more practical, deeper alignment. He might be a quick learner. On the 4th down naked bootleg by Mayfield, it was Edwards on the cap and Holl from inside-out that kept the QB from being able to extend for that needed 4 inches. Early on, I was a little worried about how Aiavion looked in coverage. But in the 3rd quarter, with Aiavion matched up with a running back in the middle, the young MLBer did a great job of diagnosing the route and broke up the pass. Aiavion was beaten on a swing pass to his side. The LBers job is to take any back crossing his face. Aiavion didn’t react quickly enough when the running back swung out across his face. Overall, I’d say that Aiavion doesn’t have the leg strength of the 3 older linebackers, but he’s got good ability. Aiavion ended up with 4 solo tackles and a pass broken up on the evening.
Eddie Lackey (5) was, as usual, very effective in the role of “spying” on the quarterback. Lackey has great closing speed and can usually run down most quarterbacks. Today’s linebacking is all about finding the right fit against the run. On Foster’s good run on the 1st possession, Eddie chose an inside fit and the back jump-cut outside. Eddie got pinned on that play. You might not have notice, but Eddie was the 2nd man in on the tackle when the Bears stopped the reverse for no gain. Lackey was very impressive at playing through the much larger Tech offensive linemen to get to the ball carrier. He just doesn’t know that he’s smaller than they are. Eddie had 6 total tackles and a QB hurry against Texas Tech.
Sam Holl (25) has been just about perfect in playing the bubble screen this fall. He is very physical with the blocker but always maintains his outside leverage and turns the play back into the pursuit. Another play that Sam plays terrifically is the out route by the inside receiver in trips. Most NLBers would hang on the out route by the number two receiver and ride it too long. Sam has seen that play enough that he comes off quickly and blows up the poor receivers that have no clue that Holl is even near them. In addition, Holl gives the Bears a lot of flexibility with their schemes. In long yardage on Saturday, Baylor went to a wide safety alignment with Holl playing a “robber” position in the short middle of level three. This made it possible for the wide safeties to be very aggressive against the outside receivers. On the play that Hager got injured, Sam did a great job initially on the intended target. Holl beat the pick and had the out covered. But when the QB broke contain, Sam lost his coverage and gave up the first down when his receiver caught the ball. On a great hustle play, Sam came from the outside on a blitz. The running back cut Sam. Holl got up quickly enough to make an ankle tackle on Mayfield as he appeared to be breaking free from the pocket. On a 3rd quarter scramble play, Sam was beaten badly on a vertical move off of an intermediate route, but he recovered enough to make the tackle. On the very next play, with Sam playing inside in the “robber,” the former Katy HS safety made a tackle for no gain on an inside zone (pretty good job of forgetting the previous play and concentrating on the next one). Holl had 4 solo tackles, one tackle for a loss of 4 yards, 2 passes broken up, and was credited with a sack.
Just a thought…How good has Baylor played the bubble screens? Think about how Holl, Burt, the corners, and Hager have played those plays. Now think about what Baylor’s bubble screen efforts look like (can you remember Levi Norwood’s awesome effort for 58-yards and a touchdown?). Do you see the difference?
It’s taken a while, but the Baylor Bears now possess a physical, in-your-face defensive secondary that will fight tooth-and-nail against some of the best receivers the conference has to offer. This group isn’t perfect, but it is not for a lack of trying. On each down, they challenge receivers, relying on the fierce pass rush to give opposing quarterbacks limited ability to hold the ball and wait until receivers can work open. Because of the quick lineup ability of the Red Raiders, the Bears didn’t flip-flop their coverage most of the evening. They just played one side, rather than going wide or short side.
It just might be me, but it appears to me that the Baylor secondary is getting a reputation of a group that is willing to “bring the wood.” It seems that opposing receivers are having a little trouble concentrating on the ball when they are asked to catch the ball in a crowd of Baylor Bears. The senior-dominated secondary is pounding opposing receivers over the last few weeks.
The Baylor game plan for the corners appeared to be physical play, challenging Tech to make difficult catches under extreme pressure. To the credit of the Red Raiders, they made quite a few of those difficult plays. You had to be impressed with the toughness and grit of the young quarterback. In addition, the Tech receivers gave as good as they got. On quite a few occasions, the Red Raider receivers were able to push Baylor corners off to get space just prior to catching the ball. The officials let them play, for the most part. Almost all of the catches the gritty Tech receivers made were fiercely contested.
K.J. Morton (8) had an outstanding game. He wasn’t perfect, but he made enough plays to stymie the potent Red Raider passing attack. He competed very hard on every play. K.J. got away with a hold on the first Tech possession when he knew he had no over-the-top help from the down safety. K.J. got beaten on the release and grabbed jersey. They didn’t call him for holding because he used the near arm on the inside. As good as K.J. played, he did completely miss the running back when he came on a blitz from the short side just after Tech had benefitted from a holding call. K.J. didn’t miss again when he was given additional opportunities to blitz. K.J.’s most miraculous plays came on one of these blitzes. K.J. jumped to knock the ball down. Mayfield threw it right into the chest of the Baylor cornerback. Unlike most people, K.J. was able to catch the ball for an interception unbelievable. K.J. must make this play. In press coverage, K.J. should be a little more balanced. He tends to get a little high and it makes him slower to react to the movement of the receiver. On Tech’s attempted reverse, it was K.J. Morton that stayed at home until help arrived, snuffing out the attempt to get a big play. When Ward made the one-handed catch, Morton had great coverage – Tech just made a great play. Wow! One of the best things that K.J. has become effective at doing is establishing position on receivers trying to make vertical cuts. If he can anticipate their path, K.J. can get in their way and they can’t get vertical on him. On the last Tech score, K.J. didn’t get the vertical path cutoff and paid for it with a fade route just beyond his coverage. K.J. ended the evening with 9 tackles, 3 for losses, 1 forced fumble, an interception, 4 passes broken up, and a 4-yard loss on his sack. That’s a full evening.
Demetri Goodson (3) played the wide side corner. He was very good for the second week in a row. He made a quality play on his first opportunity, but on 4th and 7 Demetri got caught holding Eric Ward, giving the Red Raiders a first down. The first big play for Tech against Demetri was a quality route by Ward (who is a highly underrated receiver) which Goodson just didn’t get his eyes around on in time (Ward probably got away with a little shove on that one, too). Demetri got beaten early in the 2nd quarter vertically on another terrific catch by Eric Ward against tough coverage.
Joe Williams (22) had a solid game. He was good in coverage and made all the plays he had to make. Joe was badly beaten by Davis on a Mayfield scramble. Joe redirected at a dead run and just tipped the ball away from the Tech receiver who had gotten way behind the Baylor cornerback.
On the opening touchdown (the halfback pass), Sam Holl indicated to the cover safety, Terrell Burt (13) that he was going to play run from inside the 3rd receiver. This meant that Terrell had Amaro man-to-man. The sweep action of the play caused Terrell to try and support. As soon as Terrell made that mistake, it was just a matter of whether the back could get it off before Andrew Billings planted him and if Amaro could keep his feet in bounds. The answer to these issues was “they could.” Terrell was a little late breaking on Amaro on the first possession of the game. With the kind of help he got from Hager, he should have been able to play that a little tighter on 3rd and 10. Burt does a very good job of knowing when the Bears are blitzing and playing the first break of the receivers. He knows that the QB won’t have enough time for a double move, so he jumps the first thing he sees. Burt is a surprisingly good tackler for a smallish player. Burt got badly beaten on a pick play on the goal line, but Mayfield overthrew it. As little as Burt is, it was Terrell that blew up Amaro when he thought he was going to catch a vertical throw on 3rd and 19 in the second quarter. The hit shook up the safety, but he returned later. Early in the 2nd half, Terrell got caught a little too far off of a corner route and Mayfield burned him for a significant gain. But if he makes a mistake, you’d prefer not jumping this route to jumping outside and then opening a vertical cut for a touchdown – they still have to throw it and catch it for 20-yards and the scoreboard won’t light up at the end of this route. Terrell had 7 total tackles and a pass broken up against the Red Raiders.
Ahmad Dixon (6) was a big hitter, again. He was very good in support from his down safety position. When Ahmad gets to the point of attack, you hear it. The 2nd Tech touchdown was caused by an excellent route by Amaro. This young man (Amaro) has pro moves. He worked vertically and gave a head fake to Ahmad. Dixon honored that fake just a little too much and was beaten inside and vertically for the touchdown. Later, Ahmad was much better in coverage on this potential All-American tight end. Amaro didn’t get the better of Ahmad very much, the rest of the night. Ahmad got beaten vertically by Davis when the Baylor safety jumped the drag fake and was beaten on the go route that just got by Ahmad’s hand. In long yardage, Dixon gets the chance to move back to his old NLBer position. He is deadly in this position. He will play off the receiver, baiting the quarterback to throw the ball and then blow up the poor guy way short of the line to gain. Ahmad is a “ball hawk.” He was right on the spot when Mayfield fumbled. On the other hand, Ahmad can let his passion overwhelm his judgment. Ahmad came out of the pile so fired up that he rolled the ball like he was shooting dice. The officials don’t have any sense of humor and flagged him 15-yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. Ahmad has to be smarter than this. But remember, he did recover the fumble. On the opening play from scrimmage of the 2nd half, Ahmad got caught too far outside (not working inside-out) and the big Tech running back cut back on him for a big gain. This was not what Ahmad did most of the evening, but it indicates he needs to be vigilant about his techniques to eliminate big plays. Dixon got called for a pass interference when he used too much body (an arm bar) to force a vertical route out of bounds when he had to take over coverage on the wideout as K.J. came on a corner blitz. Ahmad missed an easy tackle on a 1st and 20 that put Tech in a position to recover from a holding penalty. Ahmad has gotten to be very good at forcing fumbles. He just ripped the ball out of a 4th quarter carry and Joe Williams was happy to cover it for the Bears. Ahmad accounted for 8 total tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
As he has all season, Orion Stewart (28) came into the game when the Bears went to an odd front nickel package. For the last couple of weeks, it has seemed like Orion was becoming a more physical player. Against the Red Raiders, Orion confirmed that he wants to be a hitter. This was Stewart’s coming-out-party as a big time hitter. He’s shown flashes of this previously, but against the Red Raiders, Stewart was “bringing the wood.” When Davis caught a perimeter screen, it was Stewart that blew up the Red Raider receiver for a 1-yard loss. When Amaro beat Orion inside on the Baylor goal line, it was Stewart’s buddy from Midway HS that blew up the Tech tight end, sending him to the sidelines for the rest of the half. Orion got beaten badly on the pick route for the touchdown. I can’t tell you why Stewart took such a flat angle on the play. It appeared he was trying to undercut the throw, but he went way too flat. He tripped, and that was the end of his chances to make a play. The “robber” coverage made it possible for Orion to make a great play breaking up a rail route trying to settle between underneath corner coverage and over the top safety coverage. Orion made a great break on the ball and attacked it, almost coming up with the interception. This was far and away Orion’s best game of the year.
Spencer Roth (34) was terrific Saturday. Spencer punted the ball 4 times for an average of 49.8 yards. Three of Spencer’s punts were inside the 20 yard line and only one of his punts was returned (for a 6 yard return). Spencer punted away from the return and was exceptionally accurate in getting the ball to go where he wanted it to go and on the trajectory that he desired. He hasn’t had MUCH work this year, but the work he has done has been a major contribution to the overall Baylor defensive effort.
In the area of coaching decisions, Coach Bennett seemed to try to play coverage more than bring pressure in most of the early long yardage situations. This didn’t work out too well for the Bears in most of the instances. The coverage was decent, but the execution of the Red Raiders on this evening was outstanding on several occasions.
In credit to Texas Tech, Baker Mayfield was very impressive (especially for a freshman). His ability to stay cool under pressure and find receiver while running for his life was extremely impressive. Tech has some receivers that are very good at getting to the ball. Ward’s one-handed touchdown catch while stiff arming the defender was an awesome play. And these guys are as good as I’ve seen at running the fade. Wow!
We all know that ranking the BCS teams isn't an exact science, if it was, November just wouldn't be quite as exciting. If a complex formula could determine the standings, certainly, thousands of callers would still light up radio station phone lines each day to give us their unsolicited perspective, but the debate just wouldn't be the same.
Evaluating the top four BCS teams utilizing some statistics from Jeff Sagarin's College Football Ratings through 11/16 helped make some sense of the #3 vs #4 argument. (I had someone else put the numbers together, without the teams associated with each group of stats, made an objective analysis, then put the team together with their corresponding statistical group):
Sagarin rating: #2
Opponents average Sagarin rating: 65
Sagarin strength of schedule rank: 41
Average margin of victory: 29
Florida State (10-0)
Sagarin rating: #1
Opponents average Sagarin rating: 72
Sagarin strength of schedule rank: 58
Average margin of victory: 42
Ohio State (10-0)
Sagarin rating: #8
Opponents average Sagarin rating: 92
Sagarin strength of schedule rank: 72
Average margin of victory: 31
Sagarin rating: #3
Opponents average Sagarin rating: 86
Sagarin strength of schedule rank: 85
Average margin of victory: 44
Of course BCS standings take a lot more into account than just Sagarin data, but if just the numbers above are considered, it's easy to see why Alabama and Florida occupy the top two spots in the BCS. Determining the third and fourth place teams isn't quite as simple, but my vote has to go to Baylor as the #3 team, through this point of the season. With Baylor's remaining schedule, if they win-out, I have to like their chance of playing in the national championship game, should #1 or #2 falter in the closing weeks of the season. Of course, two-thirds of the final standings will be based on the polls, so who knows how this will end.........