Sunday, October 30, 2016
Baylor vs. Texas Recap
Although the Bears had nearly three consecutive bye weeks (including a blow out against Kansas), their extensive preparation time wasn't enough to secure a win against Texas. Baylor received their first loss of the season from a fiery Longhorn squad who played arguably their best game after dropping four over the past five weeks. The game showed strengths and weaknesses for both teams but ultimately, UT played for their head coach's job security and Baylor couldn't seem to find their groove. Baylor's 34-35 loss revealed the holes that need fixing and who will provide the leadership to drive the team through the toughest part of their schedule.
QB Seth Russell was hands down my impact player of the game. Although many of his passes were over or under thrown, Seth almost literally put the offense on his back. After last year's offensive masterpiece comprised of a 100% healthy Russell, star WR Corey Coleman and one of the top O-Lines in the nation, it's easy to see the communication errors and overall lack of experience with this season's group. Seth hasn't looked like himself since the season opener (which was of course, an easy win), which we could contribute to many different factors such as HIS (previously) LITERAL BROKEN NECK, miscommunication with receivers, lack of trust in himself, etc. He completed 14 of 28 attempts for 226 yards and two TDs and had 21 carries for 138 yards and one TD. OC Kendal Briles' offensive playcalling obviously favored rushing over passing as the Bears gained 398 yards on the ground vs. 226 in the air. RB Terence Williams (along with Russell) was the most successful ball carrier as he recorded 24 carries for 180 yards and one TD. The essential takeaway from Williams' stats was that he didn't lose any yardage throughout the game. Some fans questioned why RB Shock Linwood didn't see much playing time, which we later found out was because of a tight hamstring + Williams' impressive plays. Another questionable call was putting RB JaMycal Hasty in the game when Williams was still hot. Hasty fumbled the ball when the Bears were in the redzone, which was a huge loss as they could have turned that play into points. Hasty has become a powerful tailback over the past six games but his fumble was a rookie mistake that we could have avoided. On the receiving end, KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora led the team with one TD apiece, but were otherwise invisible throughout the game. Russell opted for short passes as opposed to longer ones and when he did attempt a deep ball, there were drops galore. Our receivers need to step up their game if they want to compete for another Big 12 title. The last revealed weakness was among our O-Line. For a group of young, inexperienced men, they haven't had many problems during the season. However, it was like their brains turned to mush and they forgot that their main objective is to protect their QB. Russell was sacked six, I repeat, SIX times by a mediocre defense. That number is way too high for any QB to achieve success in the game. RG Blake Blackmar had an especially difficult game where he received holding penalties (one of which led to a safety) galore. I know that both of the lines are young, but they will need to work on cohesiveness and discipline in order to lose the penalties game and ultimately do everything they can to protect Seth.
The defense was the more successful core, but they missed many tackles and needed to regroup in order to put pressure on Texas QB Shane Buechele. RB D'Onta Foreman is an extremely fast and strong athlete who continuously broke through any pass rush we had. If Baylor DT Bravvion Roy wasn't injured, this would have been the game to incorporate both him and Ira Lewis in the mix. CB Ryan Reid has had a great season so far and he broke up a momentous UT drive with an interception. The defensive MVP of the game was LB Aiavion Edwards who totaled 13 tackles, two for a loss of nine yards and one sack. DE Xavier Jones forced a fumble while Lewis and LB Taylor Young each recorded a sack. Although I was disappointed that NBs Travon Blanchard and Pat Levels didn't throw down as much as usual, it was exciting to see sophomore DEs Greg Roberts and Jamie Jacobs included in the mix. My favorite defensive play was when Edwards and Blanchard stopped UT QB Tyrone Swoopes from entering the end zone as the Longhorns attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion. Edwards' heroic move was reminiscent of his forced fumble in the end zone during the Russell Athletic Bowl.
While the Bears have their work cut out for them, they're still in the running for a Big 12 championship and are already bowl eligible. All they need is better communication skills, discipline (penalty wise) and the fire they had at the beginning of the season to finish the year strong.
Ira Lewis has shown his star potential and will continue to get better with more experience
Linebackers are still one of our biggest strong suits
Terence Williams is going to be a firecracker in the upcoming seasons
I can't wait to see what Seth records as his high jump at Pro Day