I am doing everything humanly possible to change the mojo. Have even gone so far as to change the previews and what I write this week. This small sacrifice, getting little sleep and creating new logos, is me doing my part for a win. And before any Baylor fans complain, I'm going to apologize in advance. I haven't had much time to watch much Baylor football this year. Been sorta busy doin' stuff. Much of what I write will be based off of what stats. I'm giving it my best and at least I'm being honest about it.
TEXAS TECH | Since I decided to do this, I realized how long it's been since I've actually looked at the defensive numbers. I honestly had no idea where Texas Tech sat nationally or in the conference. Considering the season thus far, the rush defense sits 50th in the nation, allowing 137.50 yards a game, which is also good for 5th in the conference. That's the good news. The combination of NG Colby Whitlock, DT Myles Wade (who got a surprise start on Saturday), DT Donald Langley, DT Lawrence Rumph and DT Chris Perry have actually done a decent (not great or good) job of stopping the run. The problem of course is that Texas Tech really has only faced one team, Iowa St. that predominately runs the ball or is at the very least considered a running team. Those other three teams, SMU, New Mexico and Texas pass more than they throw. The problem is that this team should be better and is coming off a game where Iowa St. rushed for 251 yards on 50 carries. Think about that for a second. Prior to the ISU game, Texas Tech was 22nd in the nation in rush defense. It's amazing what one game can do to the average.
I think the general concensus has been that we just haven't seen many plays from the linebacker spot, most notably the inside linebacker spot of Bront Bird. Like you, I was really thinking that moving Bird inside would help his collegiate career. You'd probably be somewhat shocked to find out that he's first on the team in tackles with 29, but I still don't notice him on the field. He's not making plays, he's not in the backfield, he's not stuffing the run gaps. That's the problem. Those tackles seem somewhat hollow because he's not making plays. With ILB Sam Fehoko possibly injured, you might see much more of Tyrone Sonier or Cqulin Hubert. Hubert getting a lot of time does bother a bit, although I think he's going to be pretty good player, because the staff has said that he's not quite disciplined just yet. That's to be expected with a young player. Considering the volume of plays that I'm expecting, Hubert needs to be ready as well as any other available linebacker, maybe even more of Daniel Cobb.
Much like the Texas Tech secondary, the Baylor receiving corps has lots and lots of youth. This is going to be very much a yo-yo game for the secondary. They're going to have to be ready, at a moments notice, to be ready to help converge on RGIII. Perhaps the toughest job is on Saturday will be the play of the safeties. Cody Davis and Franklin Mitchem can't give up on any receivers on any patterns because Griffin is capable of tossing the ball down the field. I also noticed that the official lineup said that Tre` Porter, D.J. Johson and Will Ford all got the start last week against ISU. Curious if Willis will continue to start those three.
I really don't envy DC Willis trying to game-plan for RGIII. At this point, I'm sure that Willis has worn out the VHS or DVD player watching the Baylor vs. TCU matchup.
More after the jump.
BAYLOR | This really begins and ends with Griffin, right? We'll get to him below, but he makes the Baylor offense go and I don't know if he's the best quarterback in the country, but he was Denard Robinson before RGIII hurt his knee. Griffin was the guy that was lighting the world on fire. He's electric and from what little I've seen of Griffin, he very much resembles the 2008 version.
The Baylor rushing attack is basically a three-headed monster, led by senior RB Jay Finley, RGIII, and Terrance Ganaway. The three of them alone are essentially responsible for about 130 yards a game. Finley and Griffin are your workhorses as Finely has 52 carries and Griffin has 44 carries. Ganaway is a bigger running back, at least in comparison to Finley. He's a good 30 pounds heavier than Finely and that's your change of pace.
The lone senior along the offensive line is Danny Watkins, the great Canadian firefighter (promise). Other than that, the line consists of a redshirt freshman, LG Cyril Richardson, a junior, C Philip Blake, and two sophomores filling out the right side of the line, RG Cameron Kaufhol and Ivory Wade. Statistically, there's little to complain about from the line. They're only allowing 1.00 sacks a game, although having a quarterback like Griffin helps, and the Bears are averaging 180 yards a game on the ground, good for 43rd in the country.
The receivers, as mentioned above, are pretty young. The most productive receivers sophomores Josh Gordon, Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson, while junior Kendall Wright continues to lead the receivers. The interesting thing is that Griffin is spreading the ball around and their top three receivers are within 70 yards or so of each other. The bad thing is that it's these four that thus far have produced.
OLB Julius Howard vs. RB Robert Griffin III
I tried to put myself in DC Willis' shoes and think about how he would try to contain Griffin. On one hand, we've seen that Willis, will continue to press defensively, even if it means that it could be detrimental to the team. He admitted that he put the team in a bad spot last week, called a few defensive alignments that he shouldn't have, zigged when he should have zagged. I guess we're going to find out if it's in Willis' nature to keep pressing, even when logic tells you otherwise. I don't know if Willis knows to tell OLB Brian Duncan and DE Scott Smith to dial it back a bit, not create wide lanes for Griffin to run? Griffin is probably one of those guys that you really don't with just one player, it's a team effort. Willis talked last week that when guys miss assignments, it tears the whole thing apart. I guess you could say that I'm picking on Howard a bit, but he and Cobb seem to be the type of player that could potentially help containment. Howard and Cobb are former safeties and they both have the size and speed to keep up with (not beat) Griffin. I don't know who or if Willis will even keep a player in to watch Griffin, but if I had to nominate one player, I'll take Howard.
|Stats||16 Tackles | 3 PBU | 4 INT|
I never saw it coming from Phillips. His 4 interceptions in just 4 games doubles any other defensive back from last year. And to think, Phillips, at least for me, was pretty much an after-thought when he was recruited. A former quarterback for Carter he was recruited to play in the secondary, but I never thought that he's be making an impact this early in his career, and especially considering the other more highly rated defensive backs that were a part of his 2009 recruiting class. Phillips had a tough week against ISU and now we get to see what he's made of and I'm sure that Griffin will test his mettle. But this just isn't about Phillips. I really want to see Will Ford bounce back a bit after having some costly penalties in the UT game and I'd like to see guys like D.J. Johnson make a similar impact on the field that he did last year.