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  1. Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Texas - Defense

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

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

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

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

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

    Defensive Line

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Linebackers

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

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

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

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

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

    Secondary

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Overall

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

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

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

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

    Offense

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

    Offensive Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Backs

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Receivers

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

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

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

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

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

    Overall

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Defensive Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Linebackers

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

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

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

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

    Secondary

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Overall

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

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

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ftblbob5 View Post
    On a pleasant Saturday evening in Ames, Iowa, the Baylor Bears were able to outdistance the Iowa State Cyclones in the first half and cruise to a 49-28 victory that was not nearly as close as the final margin of 21 points might indicate. With the Baylor Bears getting returning upperclassmen Corey Coleman (hamstring), Antwan Goodley (quadriceps), and Clay Fuller (broken collarbone) back in uniform, the game served as a quality warm up for the previously injured receivers. Each of these young men was able to contribute to the Baylor effort and all were able to complete the game in relatively good health.

    The Bears took on a sellout crowd of 51,776 in Jack Trice Stadium, a place where Coach Art Briles had never won prior to Saturday. Despite the fact that this crowd was terrific in supporting their Cyclones, the Bears rolled to a 35-7 lead at halftime and when the teams returned to the field for the 3rd quarter there were a lot of empty seats greeting them?

    Offense

    The Iowa State Cyclones and Paul Rhoads came out with a plan to limit the Baylor running game and hopefully be able to rally to the expected deep passing game. Quite often the Cyclones would play zone to the wide side of the field and roll the short side safety down into the box after the ball was snapped. They hoped that this would give them a quality cutback ďlinebackerĒ to be able to limit the big gains that might break the interior forcing unit. Baylor fans might remember the Bears doing a lot of this with Ahmad Dixon over the last few years. ISU probably played this look about 40% of the game. The other adjustment the Cyclones tried often was to bring the Nickel Linebacker from the wide side of the field. Almost uniformly, this tactic never worked. It is a credit to the Baylor offensive line and backs that, despite the Cyclones committing 7 men to the defensive front for much of the game; the Bears were able to rush the football for 244 yards on 47 carries for a 5.7 yard per carry average.

    Also, the Cyclones (using a 4-man front) tried to give the appearance of having only 5 players in the box by deploying the 2 outside linebackers further than you might expect prior to the snap. But these guys were obviously run-stoppers first. On each snap, these guys would squeeze back to the box prior to getting into their drops. This meant that the outside linebackers werenít in very good position against the Baylor play action passes. Their forcing unit was focused on stopping Linwood and Jefferson and this made them vulnerable to Bryce Petty (14) keeping the ball. Since Petty had been injured early this year (the first half of the first game), the Baylor senior hasnít carried the ball very much at all. The strategy of focusing on the running backs was a pretty good idea, but Bryce soon taught the Cyclones the error of their ways.

    In the secondary, the Cyclones stayed with umbrella coverage of 2 deep safeties and soft corners to limit the opportunities for the Bears to get deep on them. The safety coverage was very deep and soft for most of the evening. The corners tried to give the appearance of tight coverage, but when the Baylor wide receivers would come off the line of scrimmage; the Cyclones would use a bail technique that basically means they turned tail and ran. ISU played a little cover 1 (man free), but this wasnít something they wanted to do too often. They probably did this to vary their looks and bring tighter coverage to the inside receiver to the wide side of the field. When the Baylor receivers did chose to go vertically, the ISU linebackers dropped very deep, opening up the chances for the quarterback to scramble for quality yardage.

    Offensive Line

    The week spent having the best on offense going against the best on defense was well spent. You could see the offensive line had a new pad level and intensity about it. With flatter backs and feet moving better than seen previously, the Baylor line dominated most of the evening.

    The Baylor Bears had the same starting lineup against the Cyclones: Spencer Drango (58) at left tackle, Blake Muir (73) at left guard, Kyle Fuller (55) at center, Desmine Hilliard (67) at right guard, and Troy Baker (75) at right tackle. This group kept its string of sack-free quarters going for another complete game. This makes the Baylor Bears one of only two teams in the nation that has not allowed a sack this season (162 passing attempts). That is really impressive. In fact, the Baylor line has been so good that it is an upset when an opponent gets even slight pressure. When the line utilizes pure dropback protection, the protection is so good that no one even gets close to the quarterback. Part of this success has to be given to quarterbacks that refuse to hold the ball, getting the ball out of their hands in lightning quick fashion. But you have to watch these guys pass protect to understand how easy they make something that is very difficult look. This has to be the best pass protecting group we have seen at Baylor UniversityÖever.

    When the Bears opened up throwing a lot more than they ran the football, the Cyclones began to be a little more hesitant to commit totally to the run. When Baylor got the Cyclones more pass conscious, the running game began to resurface with shades of 2013. For the first time this fall, the line began to gash the defensive front for sizeable gains for the two Baylor scat backs. Almost from the beginning of the game, the Baylor line was able to get excellent movement on the outmanned Cyclone defensive line. The interior offensive linemen (Fuller, Muir, Hilliard, and Jerell Broxton Ė 61) got more movement in this game than Baylor fans have seen all year. Overall, the entire line did a much better job of getting a body on a body. The players that usually made the tackle came from beyond the structure of the defense for which the offensive line is responsible. Troy Baker did a great job of picking up a linebacker plug to pave the way for the first Baylor touchdown. On the running backís next touchdown, the Bears ran behind a great down block by Tyler Edwards (62), who had come into the game for Spencer Drango. Broxton was in the game at right guard on the play, too. These two substitutions could be the result of increased playing time earned during the open week in best-on-best drills. A little competition goes a long way toward improving overall performance. Spencer Drango must have enjoyed being able to down block on defensive linemen instead of having to chase linebackers all evening. He did a great job of getting movement on almost every one of the power scheme plays. Desmine Hilliard showed solid improvement on looking in his blocks on the power scheme. On the power scheme, the guard wraps around the down blocking lineman on the other side and picks up the first unblocked color to show. Desmine was very solid at this on Saturday. Blake Muir got great movement at the point of attack on the final touchdown of the 1st half. Kyle Fuller did a very good job of locking up the middle linebacker on that play, too. Fuller got called for a ďlineman downfieldĒ penalty early in the game. He might have been a Ĺ yard further than allowable, but no more than that. It will be interesting to see if the Big XII officials continue to call the Baylor offensive linemen for being downfield. There was a lot of chirping by opposing coaches and media that Baylor bends the rules regarding linemen downfield and offensive pass interference (receivers blocking before the ball is caught). Iím sure that every opposing coach warns the officials that Baylor has been observed doing this. While the Bears usually are legal, they are very close and have strayed beyond the allowable edge on occasion.

    Backs

    The Baylor scat backs were terrific running behind a very effective offensive line. Shock Linwood (32) and Johnny Jefferson (2) were the beneficiaries of some solid blocking, but they did their fair share of accumulating yardage on their own. Linwood and Jefferson were very good at finding holes in the Cyclone defense, jump cutting away from plugging linebackers, and bouncing off would-be tacklers. Shock had an excellent evening with 15 carries for 82 yards and 3 (yes, 3) touchdowns. He average 5.5 yards per carry on the evening. Johnny Jefferson was not quite as prolific as his running mate, but had a solid evening, too. Johnny carried the ball 11 times for 48 yards and 1 touchdown. Both of these guys were very good in blitz pickup and gave their buddy, Devin Chafin (28), one more week to get better, rather than having to play the big back to cash in on short yardage situations.

    Shockís second touchdown harkened back to last yearís debut in the OU game. Linwood burst through a sizeable hole in the defense and then beat two open field tackle attempts by the Cyclone secondary to get into the end zone. On his 3rd touchdown, Shock jump cut to avoid a linebacker at the line of scrimmage, ran through an arm tackle, bounced off a hit from the side and ran into the end zone. This is quality running back play. Johnny Jefferson did a great job of keeping his balance and getting into the end zone on his touchdown, too.

    Bryce Petty (14) had a great game. It was fairly obvious that he and his rehabbed receivers werenít completely on the same page at times. But despite these issues, Petty kept the sticks moving with quickly released passes to receivers that found open spaces between Cyclones. In addition, for the first time since the early portions of the SMU game, the Bears utilized Bryce on the zone/read play. As a result the big quarterback had 9 carries for 48 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Bryceís first rushing touchdown was highlight fodder for every sports program in America. On a zone/read, Bryce caught the end leaning in to run Linwood down from behind. Petty kept the ball and streaked for the end zone. At about the 5-yard line, the Cyclone safety prepared to take the legs out from under the big quarterback. Bryce improvised a better solution Ė he hurdled the diving DB and tumbled into the end zone (a very memorable play). Despite the fact that Bryce and his receivers werenít always totally on the same page, the senior quarterback still threw for 30 completions on 44 pass attempts for 336 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. This was the first time in Bryce Pettyís career that he didnít throw multiple touchdown passes in a game.

    You have to love a quarterback that (even when his line might let a guy go) sits in the face of pressure and throws the ball on target. Bryce Petty is that type of quarterback now. Bryce is so well-schooled that almost every time the Cyclones chose to bring pressure from the linebackers, the Baylor quarterback went right to the receiver that was taking advantage of the absence of the blitzer. Petty showed a little rust at times when he threw high on quick throws. The more Bryce plays, the fewer of these instances Baylor fans will see.

    While Bryce suffered his fourth career interception on a ball that went right through the intended receivers hands, it gave all of us the opportunity to learn that this was the first time Petty had been intercepted on 1st or 2nd down. This means that the Baylor quarterback had been even more judicious about how and where he threw the ball than many of us knew. A quarterbacking mantra is: You might force the throw on 3rd down, but never on 1st or 2nd down (because you can always line up again and get the 1st down on the next play). This statistic means Bryce Petty has been VERY careful with the ball over the last couple of seasons.

    One play that might have gone largely unnoticed was the save on the high snap when the Bears had 3rd and 2 at the Cyclone 15-yard line. Petty reached up and tapped the ball to himself and then proceeded to out run the ISU defense to the right sidelines for a first down, keeping the drive alive.

    Receivers

    Because the Cyclones were trying to show tight coverage but bailing on the short side as soon as the ball was snapped, Corey Coleman (1) was able to turn the ISU DBs around at will with his quick foot movement combined with his assortment of release moves. Even when the Cyclones chose to play jam corners in cover 2, Coleman was quick enough to bounce open and catch the ball. Corey looked very good in his first action of the season. The Richardson Pearce product led the Bears in receiving with 12 receptions for 154 yards and a very cool touchdown. That touchdown just illustrates how much Corey has matured as a receiver. He showed excellent power, tackle breaking ability, and speed as he tight-roped the sidelines and took the ball into the end zone from 25 yards out. One funny instance was when Corey caught a quick stop route and looked inside on the catch. He noticed the DB taking that cut away and whirled outside. The only problem was he didnít exactly give his feet a chance to catch up to his ideas. Coreyís foot never hit and ground as he tried to whirl outside and this put Corey right on the Jack Trice Stadium turf. Oops!

    KD Cannon (9) continues to be an exciting receiving threat. The Mt. Pleasant freshman caught 9 passes for 48 yards (mostly on quick, short routes or shallow drags across the middle). Antwan Goodley (5) caught 6 passes for 114 yards (most of this early in the game). Antwan looked a little tight and didnít run with the same fluidity that most Baylor fans saw last fall. Clay Fuller (23) made an appearance late in the game with 2 receptions for 21 yards.

    Gus Penning (15) got a lot more playing time than in previous weeks (another beneficiary of live reps during the open week?). Penning did a decent job of blocking in space, but didnít seem to have the power to maintain contact on his wrap blocks (where he wraps around the down blocking lineman and traps or leads up on the linebackers).

    Overall

    The scoreless 4th quarter in Ames for Baylor was the first quarter the Bears failed to score this season. Baylor continues to be the most successful team in Texas with a win percentage of .767 (33-10) since 2011 (who owns this state?). Baylor reached 600 yards in total offense for the 3rd consecutive time this fall.
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  5. Game Analysis: Baylor vs. Buffalo - Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by ftblbob5 View Post
    Defense

    With 9:31 left in the 3rd quarter of the third game of the season, the Baylor Bears had just tried an all out blitz on a play where Buffalo ran a slip screen in the middle of the field (the perfect play against this blitz) which ended the streak the defense had been able to sustain of giving up no touchdowns as the Bullsí wide receiver, Devon Hughes, crossed the Baylor goal line for a 41-yard score. This streak is an amazing accomplishment for a Baylor defense that has been highly criticized in previous seasons. Since mid-season of 2012, the Baylor defense has been improving by leaps and bounds. The 2014 edition is a young group, replacing 7 long-time starters. The players that are carrying the load for this defense are part of solid recruiting classes sought by Coach Phil Bennett, his staff, and Coach Briles that were courted to become a more athletic unit with good size. To this end, it appears that these leaders have accomplished this purpose. This group of defenders is a very impressive group.

    The Bulls didnít get their first 1st down until the score was 21-0. The score at halftime was 35-0. The Bears had the Buffalo quarterbacks under tremendous pressure the entire game. It is a testament to the toughness of the Buffalo QBs that they were able to find ways to move the football, eventually.

    Defensive Line

    The Buffalo Bullsí offensive line was very affectionate to the Baylor defensive line. They were hugging them tightly most of the evening. Of course, itís not holding if they donít call it. Youíd like to see the Bearsí defenders be able to beat the hold a little better than we saw on Friday. A defensive lineman needs to be able to create extension and execute release moves. Too often, the Baylor defensive line allowed the Bulls to engulf them in big bear hugs.

    Shawn Oakman (2) got the first sack of the evening when he executed a speed rush around the Bull left tackle. He probably went a little wide, but when the quarterback started to scramble Baylorís big defensive end got the angle he needed to close the deal. Shawn is a real force working flat down the line of scrimmage from the backside. He is so long and so quick that he can flatten down the LOS and make the play on anything that is run inside the tackles. Shawn ended the game with a sack and 2 tackles for a loss.

    Jamal Palmer (92) got the second sack of the evening when he drove deep into the backfield and then came under the tackle when the QB tried to escape the pocket. Palmer has a terrific redirect.

    KJ Smith (56) demonstrated superior quickness and the ability to change direction when he quickly diagnosed a screen, jumped outside of the receiver, turning the play back into the waiting arms of Brian Nance (15) and Taylor Young (11). Brian had another big play in the 4th quarter when the exchange was botched. The ball bounced around a while, but it was Brian Nance that found a way to corral the football. Brian showed good ability to work down the line of scrimmage and run the play down from the backside.

    Javonte Magee (90) demonstrated excellent agility when he came flat down the line of scrimmage, playing off a block by an offensive lineman, and made a quality tackle on a zone stretch in the 1st quarter. Magee got a tackle behind the line of scrimmage (a 2 yard loss).

    Andrew Billings (75) got double team backwards by the stout Bull offensive line, but he made it tough on them. On the opening drive of the second half, the Bulls tried to cut Andrew and the big defensive tackle step over the block and got great pressure on the Bull quarterback. It was a marginal late hit on Licata (the Buffalo quarterback), but it did result in a personal foul penalty. On the next play, Buffalo ran right at Andrew. Billings stuffed the guard and the running back at the line of scrimmage, despite the fact that the offensive line had the big DT wrapped up tightly. Andrew didnít flatten out quickly enough and allowed the running back to beat him into the hole late in the 3rd quarter.

    Beau Blackshear (95) over penetrated and then allowed himself to be held when they ran an inside zone just past his 3 technique alignment. The 3 technique cannot allow the offense to single block him and run off tackle. He must make that play. Beau got a heck of a sack when he just drove the Bull offensive lineman all the way back into Licata. At that point, Beau just wrapped up the Bull QB.

    Byron Bonds (96) looked very quick on a tackle behind the line of scrimmage where he drove deep into the backfield, took a tight turn around the lineman, and ran down the ball carrier. Byron really got taken for a ride when the Bull guard got under his pads and drove him several yards, opening a hole for the running back to get a quality gain late in the 3rd quarter.

    While several of the backup defensive linemen made quality plays during the contest, it should be noted that the big offensive linemen from Buffalo began to push the 2nd group defensive line around fairly well in the late 3rd and early 4th quarters.

    Linebackers

    Bryce Hager (44) appears to have been able to pick up where he left off last year in making plays. He continues to be able to run through blocks and sift through the traffic to find the ball carrier. He is an excellent tackler, too. It was Bryceís coverage that allowed the Bulls their first 1st down of the evening. Hager went for the ball instead of making the tackle. Itís that kind of decision that contributed to many of the big plays that the Bulls were able to achieve on the evening. Bryce got a pass batted down on a pass rush when he timed his jump perfectly and the ball banged off of the shoulder pads. It almost resulted in an interception. Bryce missed a tackle on the tight end when the tight end beat him with a quick upfield move after the catch. The Baylor middle linebacker couldnít get his feet up under him and the tight end just ran through the tackle. Bryce picked up a tackle for a loss late in the 3rd quarter on 3rd and short, denying the 1st down.

    Aiavion Edwards (20) did a great job of redirecting off his blitz and running down the Bull quarterback after a short gain on a 1st quarter scramble. Midway through the 2nd quarter, Aiavion got matched up with a fleet running back on a wheel route. Aiavion was slightly beaten, but showed enough speed to run with the back and get hit on the helmet with the ball as he closed on the desired receiver. Aiavion had one awful play. The Bulls ran off tackle and Aiavion came unblocked and looked eye-ball to eye-ball with the Bull running back. Aiavion stuck his feet in the ground and reached for the tackle and came up with air. The Bull running back took this play the distance when Aiavion had an opportunity to stop it at the line of scrimmage. Aiavion just seemed to lean on the back instead of wrapping up and tackling him. Football is a collision game Ė you have to be willing to hit to play.

    Taylor Young (11) continues to push Aiavion at the Weak Linebacker position. Young is a good tackle with excellent quickness. He is a gritty player that overcomes his lack of height with toughness. During the contest, Taylor came up with 7 tackles and was credited with a Ĺ a tackle for a loss. Taylor missed a tackle on a stretch play late in the 3rd quarter. He went low and didnít come up with the legs.

    With Raquan Davis (19) and Kendall Erlich (16) in game late in the 4th quarter, Buffalo was able to rip off another big gain right by and through these two backup linebackers. They used poor angles and tackling technique on the play.

    Collin Brence (38) does a very good job of working off of coverage and getting in on the play when the offense attacks the edges. In man-to-man, Collin did a great job of tracking a shallow cross and making the tackle all the way on the other side of the formation for a short gain. Collin and Jamal Palmer met at the quarterback, forcing a errant throw on 3rd and 4 in the 3rd quarter. Collin had 7 tackles and 2 quarterback hurries in the game.

    Travon Blanchard (48) continues to make plays at the nickel linebacker position. Blanchard gobbled up the ball carrier for a ďtackle for a lossĒ on a stretch play when the Bulls left him unblocked.

    Secondary

    Already in this young season, Xavien Howard (4) has made several exceptional plays at the field corner position. Xavien is a big corner with excellent speed and redirect ability. He has very good ball skills. This means that he is able to track the ball very well and has excellent hands that allow him to make interceptions. Also, Xavien has been able to create this tight coverage without most of the holding and interfering that we saw last fall from the corners. Xavien has demonstrated himself to be a very solid tackler when offenses choose to throw the ball short and in front of this coverage. When the Bulls finally did try to throw deep against Xavien, the big corner played the man and the ball perfectly. Xavien got his hand in between the hands of the receiver and deflected the deep ball away. On the evening, Xavien had 2 passes deflected.

    Ryan Reid (9) made a big mistake on the Bullsí opening drive of the game. Reid jumped the bubble route, thinking that Buffalo was going to try for the safe play. Reid was badly burned on a stalk-and-go that should have gone for a touchdown. Thankfully for the Bears, the receiver dropped the ball. Later in the 1st quarter, Ryan totally missed a tackle on a 3rd and long that most defensive backs would have made. Reid appeared to try to go too low and dropped his head, missing the tackle. When Ryan works his technique, he is quality cover man and makes decent tackles on receivers. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Ryan and the safety to that side (Stewart) were beaten on a skinny post that was dropped, again. Late in the 3rd quarter, Ryan was tested down the Baylor sidelines. This time the short side Baylor corner was really up to the task. On this 4td down play, Reid capped the route and ran the receiver out of bounds, while the ball landed harmlessly out of bounds.

    Terrance Singleton (24) was beaten on a back-shoulder fade for the last Bull touchdown. Singleton appeared to have good coverage, but didnít react quickly enough to the change of direction. Terrance seemed to lose his footing much like we saw several of last yearís corners do on similar plays.

    Orion Stewart (28) has been very solid in coverage. When he is asked to cover inside receivers or running backs that release to the short side, Orion has been able to keep close coverage and make quality tackles. Orion was the leading tackler for the Bears, with 9.

    Terrell Burt (13) did a great job of tracking a ball that had been deflected at the line of scrimmage. Terrell thought he had an interception, but a big tackle from Buffalo plastered the safety and separated Burt from the ball. Burt got double-teamed on the slip screen for a touchdown the Bulls ran when the Bears tried a zone blitz on 4th and 4. Oakman was the dropping defensive lineman, but he didnít even come close to making the play. Burt had the over-the-top coverge on the flea flicker. Even though the ball hung in the air a long time, Terrell was not able to make a play on the ball. Xavien Howard was close to the play, but he stumbled and was a non-factor.

    Taion Sells (26) looked a little weak in coverage when he allowed a significant gain on an out route midway through the 4td quarter. Heís got to be able to redirect and close on the ball better than this. Chance Waz (18) saved a touchdown late in the 4th quarter when the linebackers didnít make the play at the point of attack.


    Overall


    When the game was still in doubt, the Baylor defense dominated a decent offense. The unit played with quality intensity and effort. There have been times in the past where the defense didnít seem to rise to the occasion like they do so well when the play in Waco.

    In addition, Coach Bennett was very aggressive in the early second half when he sent everything but the kitchen sink on a 4th down, giving up a touchdown on a slip screen. The other two touchdowns were scored against mostly second line players. There have to be concerns that the second group of defensive linemen, linebackers, and secondary had so much trouble stopping the Bulls. The tackling was not very good in the second half and the coverage was much softer.

    On the other hand, the Baylor defense is the top defense in the Big XII at this point of the season. They have given up only 27 points in three full games.
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