UPDATE: At the bottom, I embedded the video produced by BU that has Spring Game highlights and Art Briles quotes. -Pras
BaylorBears.com posted the final stats from today's game, complete with pictures and video from the contest, and there are more than a few interesting things to take away. Before looking at that, know that two players Baylor will rely on this fall either played sparingly or not at all: WR Tevin Reese sat out of the scrimmage entirely because of a sprained ankle, and S Ahmad Dixon played very little, the coaches choosing to give others the chance in his place.
Dixon's absence, in particular, kept us from getting as good a look as I wanted to at Baylor's pass defense, but it ended up not mattering. The first team defense, partnered all day against the second team offense, dominated when it got the chance, holding QB Seth Russell to 9-22 passing and only 42 yards, picking him off twice, sacking him once, and holding his cohorts on the second offense, Devin Chafin and Rashodrick Linwood, to only 56 yards rushing. From everything I have been told and/or have read, they looked extremely good. And considering it is Baylor's offense, albeit the second team, they were facing, I am encouraged by their performance.
Looking at it from the other side, I wouldn't be too concerned with Seth Russell's numbers or that of our running backs on the second team. If called upon in a game situation, they will receive the same benefit of the first offensive line, receivers, and tight ends that Bryce Petty and company do now.
Speaking of Bryce Petty, the heir apparent to the keys to the Art Briles Offensive Machine had an extremely impressive day made all the more so by the elements. Waco, Texas faced constant winds anywhere from 15-20 miles per hour that gusted into the 30s. Despite all that, Petty ended the day 13-15 for 181 yards and 2 TDs, a performance that stacks up well against Nick Florence in last year's spring scrimmage (14-18 for 180 yards and 3 TDs). The praise for Petty has been effusive this spring, the expectations growing alongside, and today was no exception. He is the total package physically and, most importantly to me, took only 2 sacks during his time today. Considering I made such a big deal beforehand about the need for decisive action, I'll take that every time.
Beyond Petty, the real story of today's scrimmage has to be the performance of our two dominant running backs, who racked up 204 yards and 4 TDs between them on 22 carries. Glasco Martin had 3 of those TDs, including one of 66 yards, while Lache Seastrunk's 44-yard scamper marked his longest of the day. From the quotes, which I highly suggest you read, it sounds like we have two backs who understand each other and their roles on the team and will be able to work together flawlessly. I couldn't be more excited about them if I wanted to be.
On the outside, the receiver numbers don't exactly jump off the page, but I wouldn't expect them to: our QBs "only" completed 22 passes on the day due in part to both the wind and their opposition, and nobody caught more than 4 passes. Leading the way was All-Spring WR (if such a thing existed) Clay Fuller with 4 catches for 72 yards and one touchdown, followed by Jay Lee, who caught 2 for 60 yards and a TD of his own. One thing I thought was interesting from the receiver stats is the fact that Andy Ritter (no idea), Lynx Hawthorne, and Kaleb Moore all had receptions with very little yardage. That, to me, says that A) we're running tunnel screens again, and B) the defense was stopping them. Both could be good things depending on your views.
Overall, the first and second team offenses combined for 478 yards on 78 plays, averaging a rather pedestrian 6.12 yards per play no doubt brought way down by the performance of the first team defense against Seth Russell's unit. The first team offense averaged nearly 14 yards per completion and 9.27 yards per rush, so I'm happy. They also only gave up 2 sacks, one each to Shawn Oakman and Brody Trahan.
In the post-game recap I linked above, Briles did the predictable, praising his offense and defense for the way they played, and the much less so, praising the 3,500 fans that came out and the atmosphere they were able to create. Nick Saban always talks about how building a program is a process, and building a fanbase, particularly somewhere like Baylor where the hard times have been plenty and the good times much less so, is no different and arguably more challenging. With days like today, we're doing both. I'm excited to see how it continues to come together.
I'll add more stuff later about the defense and the recruits present; I've heard all had an incredible time, including the biggest fish of the day, KD Cannon. Hopefully as they return home and talk to their families, we might get a commitment or two.