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 | Although I think I've typed my little heart out over the past two weeks, I'll figure out a way to write something. The offense did get better, albeit, it's not enough. Texas Tech went from 83rd in the nation to 60th in the nation with their performance against Iowa St. I think it's a given that a big part of the problem is the fact that the offense, while better, still isn't consistent enough. I keep harping back to Bill Connelly's Football Outsider article about how games can be won or lost in the first quarter and Saturday was a perfect example of that. Texas Tech's first 6 drives ended on with 5 punts and one fumble (although you can hardly call the fumble an offensive possession). After that, the offense actually did click, scoring on 4 consecutive drives and was stopped because of . . . a turnover. If someone can figure out how to get the offense on track earlier then I'm all ears. My brief examination of first down plays for those first 5 drives were 5 passes to 3 runs. Watching the game, it never occurred to me that the team was running too much or passing too much or running to set up the pass or passing to set up the run. It seemed like a pretty good balance. What hurt this team in those first 5 drives was receivers and running backs holding onto the ball.
If reviewing things for this game, the one thing that struck me was the fact that in 2009 there were 5 players that averaged over 12 yards a catch while in 2010 there's only two players averaging over 12 yards a catch. In trying to diagnose this problem, we can go to all of the same places we've already been. Whether it be the offensive line not giving the quarterback enough time, the quarterback not going through his progressions, the receivers not sticking their blocks to get other receivers down the field, receivers not catching the ball, etc. There's a litany of reasons why and sure, there's plenty to say that this is partly a product of the coaching. Whatever the cause, this must be better and it's a culmination of all those things.
Just to keep everyone up to day, especially considering there's so much going on, OC Brown is still throwing the ball about 63% of the time and running the ball the other 37% of the time. Not taking into account sacks, because I don't have the time, Texas Tech is running the ball 27.5 times a game compared to 24.5 times a game in 2009 and 24.3 times a game in 2008. Apparently it's running the ball 3 more times a game that has everyone up in arms. And one more point of clarification, despite the awful performance against UT, Texas Tech is still running about 75 plays a game, which is comparable to 2009 (76) and 2008 (75). I will rejoice to the heavens when OC Brown gets that 100 plays a game average.
I noted this after the ISU game, which was that RB Baron Batch and RB Eric Stephens had about 30 touches for almost 200 yards from the line of scrimmage. This will help keep defenses honest and prior to the season, I generally thought that the running backs on this team were the playmakers and I'd like to see similar production from these two for the Baylor game.
There was a note that the starting offensive linemen, LT Waddle, LG Chris Olson, C Justin Keown, RG Deveric Gallington and RT Mickey Okafor played the entire game against Iowa St. Considering the up and down nature of how I think this game will play out, I'd like to see a few more substitutions for the line, but considering the overall performance, perhaps we're finally seeing some continuity.
More after the jump.
BAYLOR | Five different Baylor defenders have nabbed an interception. Of those five interceptions they have 2 interceptions in their last two games each. The Baylor defense has helped keep the Bears on the positive side of the ledger in terms of turnover margin. Top 15 in the nation to be exact. The Baylor defense has performed pretty well thus far, ranked 42nd in the nation in total defense and 14th in the nation in scoring defense. Four of the first five opponents for Baylor, Sam Houston St. (72nd), Buffalo (69th), Rice (90th) and Kansas (89th) aren't exactly offensive juggernauts (I know, look who's talking) and the one elite team that Baylor has faced, TCU, the defense gave up sustained scoring drives.
Baylor had to replace a handful of linebackers this year (this is my recollection), but right now LB Elliot Coffey and LB Chris Francis are filling the void quite nicely, as Coffey is 2nd on the team and Francis is 3rd on the team in tackles. The Penn St. transfer, NG Phil Taylor, still hasn't done much, statistically, but I'm guessing he's improved a bit from last year. It should be interesting to watch the matchup between C Justin Keown and Taylor. Keown hasn't had to face someone of Taylor's size this year. We've talked ad naseum about how the line run-blocked zone blocking a bit more against Texas and it failed miserably. I'll have to blame the video feed I watched last night's game and would be curious if anyone else caught as to whether or not the line was man or zone blocking. Whatever it was, it worked much better. Also, watch to see if Keown tries to drive Taylor or just tries to move to where he wants Taylor.
Baylor does start a handful of seniors in the defensive backfield, including FS Tim Atchinson, H Byron Landor and CB Mikail Baker. The lone underclassman is sophomore Chance Casey. Behind those seniors, are some young players, mostly freshmen and sophomores. As mentioned above, the defense has played well, including the pass defense is ranked 40th in the nation. Same as above, this has to be taken somewhat with a grain of salt as the opposing teams have been less than stellar offensively, sans TCU.
LT LaAdrian Waddle vs. DE Tevin Elliott
For the first time in what seems like a really long time, the offensive line didn't give up a single sack. For the most part, QB Taylor Potts had plenty of time to make go through his progressions. Because of the quality of the video I was watching, I didn't watch specifically the offensive line, but the better offensive production was evident on Saturday (not perfect, but better). Typically, when I watch a game for the second time, I pay closer attention to the offensive and defensive lines. So, with that caveat, the fact that Waddle's name wasn't so much as even mentioned on Saturday typically says quite a bit about the play of an offensive lineman. No sacks, there were bigger running lanes, in particular, I remember a handful of plays that did go to the left side of the line. Just judging from Elliott's size, he's your prototypical speed rusher along the offensive line, which means that Waddle is going to be tested on Saturday morning. Elliott started slow this year, in terms of sack production, but he's turned it on lately, notching 1 sack against Rice and 2 against Kansas. Waddle has to keep Potts, or whoever is taking snaps, relatively clean.
|29 Receptions | 376 Yards | 9 TD
It's easy to say that Leong is a crutch for QB Potts, but right now, he's the only player making plays and the only player scoring touchdowns. There's been one player that's consistently made plays this year, it's Leong. It's strange to think that this is the guy that's getting the ball in the endzone so much this year, especially when I didn't have such high expectations for Leong, but he's playing lights-out. If anything, I still want to see more from the other receivers and there's no doubt that Leong can't do it alone this year. The entire offense needs to get some production from guys like Alexander Torres, Detron Lewis, Jacoby Franks, Austin Zouzalik, Cornelius Douglas, etc.