Trench Warfare: UT

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Your weekly look at the most under-appreciated (least appreciated?) players on the team: the offensive line. They are so critical to everything we do, they deserve the attention.

The Baylor Bears are your 2013 Big XII Football Champions!  I will never get tired of saying or typing that.  I could not be more proud of this team, its players and its coaches.  Everyone did their part to earn their title as conference champs.  Each position group deserves special recognition for what they've achieved this year.  Let's see how the offensive line performed on one of the most important days in Baylor history.

How This Works

I only graded the starting offensive lineman, but I did grade the TE's as a group. I graded on a Pass/Fail system based each how well each lineman played on every down. On run plays I looked for: (1) did the lineman block anybody on the play? (2) did the lineman get a solid contact on the defender and drive them back or seal them from the play? (3) did they sustain their blocks to the end of the play? On pass plays I looked for: (1) did the lineman block someone? (2) did they get solid contact and maintained the pocket? (3) did they sustain their block?

If they passed all three criteria they got a score of "1," if not then they received a "0." Penalty plays were not counted as full plays and instead the lineman who caused the loss of yards was handicapped for the next play. This means that if they were make a good block on the ensuing play the best score they could get was a "0." If they failed to make a block on the next play they would receive a "-1."

The Results:

PLAY PALMER CYRIL HUBER HILLIARD BAKER COLBERT TE GAIN
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 5
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 9
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 24
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC DEF PENALTY
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 5
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
RUN 0 1 1 1 0 1 1
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 FG
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 5
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 0 INC PENALTY, TO ON DOWNS
RUN 1 1 0 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 24
RUN -1 0 1 1 0 1 2 PENALTY
PASS 1 1 0 0 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC MISSED FG
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 1 1 0 1 1 3
PASS 0 1 1 1 1 1 INC PUNT
RUN 1 1 0 1 1 1 1
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 6
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 3
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 22
PASS 1 0 1 1 1 12
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 4
RUN 1 0 1 1 1 1 2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC MISSED FG
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 15
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 -12 FUMBLE
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC PUNT
RUN 1 1 1 0 0 1 2
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC PUNT
RUN 1 1 0 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
PASS 1 1 0 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 24 HALFTIME
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 4
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 0 1 0 1 -1
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 21
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 9
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 12
PASS 0 1 1 1 1 -7 SACK
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 5
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 17
RUN 1 0 1 0 0 0
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 11 TD
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 6
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 4
RUN 0 1 1 0 0 1 -2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 6 TD
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 17
RUN 1 1 0 0 1 -1
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
RUN 1 0 0 1 1 0 FG
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
RUN 1 1 0 0 0 0 1
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0 -1 PUNT
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 21
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 4
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 1 1 1 0 1 -1
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 25
RUN 1 1 1 0 0 1 -2
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC FG
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 3
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 PUNT
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 18 TD
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
RUN 1 1 1 0 1 1 2
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 15
SCORE 83 83 81 79 75 6 54
TOT PLAYS 89 89 89 89 82 7 59
% 93% 93% 91% 89% 91% 86% 92% 91%
PASS BLOCK ERRORS 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 6
RUN BLOCK ERRORS 3 4 6 9 6 1 4 33
PENALTIES 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 4
PASS PLAY ERRORS 5
RUN PLAY ERRORS 19

Baylor's blockers started the game strong and helped move the offense down the field for a quick three points.  They only committed two blocking errors (both on the same run play) in the eleven play drive and making it look like we wouldn't have to suffer through another slow start.  But then they followed that with thirteen blocking errors and two penalties in the next thirty-one plays.  The result was zero points on Baylor's next seven possessions to close out the first half of play: turnover on downs, missed field goal, punt, missed field goal, punt, punt, end of half.

Oddly enough, the line committed another thirteen blocking errors and surrendered a QB sack in their next twenty-seven plays to begin the 2nd half but scored two touchdowns and a field goal.  I don't know what else to point to but good halftime adjustments by the coaches.  In the 2nd half, Bryce Petty was more willing to keep on the option, the play calling seemed much better and the receivers did a better job at creating separation.

Like I predicted in my last Trench Warfare article,  Troy Baker got the start at right tackle against UT.  Although he struggled a bit in pass protection last week, he was perfect against UT with zero pass block errors, negating Texas' very talented Cedric Reed.  He was replaced by Pat Colbert for a couple of series in the middle of the game.  I'm not really sure why.  Maybe his knee was getting aggravated and needed a rest or maybe the coaches just wanted to see Colbert play or maybe for something entirely different, I couldn't say.

Kelvin Palmer seems to have adjusted to playing left tackle next to Cyril Richardson.  Both of them had subpar games against TCU the week before while Palmer acclimated to a new position and Cyril adjusted to his 3rd LT in three weeks.  Each bounced back with above average performances and tying for the highest grade of 93%.  Having three weeks plus to work out any other kinks should result in a great game for both against UCF.

DRANGO CYRIL HUBER HILLIARD PALMER TE COLBERT BAKER AVERAGE
WOFFORD 91% 85% 89% 87% 87% 88%
BUFFALO 89% 91% 91% 86% 97% 91%
ULM 93% 89% 86% 89% 84% 88%
WVU 96% 88% 96% 90% 93% 92%
KSU 89% 93% 86% 86% 84% 88%
ISU 94% 97% 91% 95% 97% 93% 94%
KU 91% 91% 93% 89% 93% 88% 91%
OU 94% 93% 95% 87% 92% 84% 91%
TTU 95% 95% 97% 94% 87% 87% 93%
OSU 89% 90% 94% 96% 88% 88% 91%
TCU 83% 88% 90% 88% 85% 81% 90% 86%
UT 93% 91% 89% 93% 92% 86% 91% 91%
TOTAL AVERAGE 92% 91% 91% 90% 91% 88% 85% 91% 90%

After analyzing and writing about Baylor's blockers all season,  nothing really stood out to me this game that wasn't already said in a previous article.  The offensive line was about as vanilla a unit could be in one of the most important games of their careers.  They weren't as dominant as I've seen them be nor did they make any ridiculously bone-headed mistakes either.  After playing a disheartening game is Stillwater and a terrible game in Fort Worth, it seemed that they just wanted to stay even keeled and do what had to be done to win the game.  And thank God they did!

Thanks for reading.  Sic 'Em Bears!

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