Layne Murdoch - Getty Images
This was ... not a good performance all around. I don't have a lot to say this week, but I have some.
(3-2, 0-2) Rank: RV/RV
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 42,524
(5-1, 2-1) Rank: RV/23
- Tonight we witnessed Nick Florence's worst game as a starter for Baylor. He threw 4 interceptions, should have probably had another off Salubi's heel, and when the last two errant passes found their way into the waiting arms of TCU defenders, any chance we might have had at a miraculous comeback went with them. That said, it would have taken a Herculean offensive effort for Baylor to win this game with the way defense failed to stop them in the second half. The response is that we wouldn't have needed so much from the offense late if it had performed better early. That's just how these things go. Sports are circular like that.
- If we're starting with positives, the list basically starts and ends with Terrance Williams (Terrence Williams to our system for whatever reason). He may not have Kendall Wright's longevity in the program (and the resulting statistics), but I'm coming around to the idea that he is the most complete receiver in Baylor history. He has the rare ability to absolutely dominate a game when given the chance, and we would be completely sunk without him as Florence's go-to receiver. Some NFL team is going to get a humble, hard-working, fantastically-talented receiver in the 2013 Draft.
- The "Feature Back Jarred Salubi" experiment needs to end. I don't see why we're playing out the string on it any more than we have to. Yes, he's the best pass blocker and it has served us well on third downs. It could again. He's not the best option on first and second, and that's where our biggest offensive problems were in this game. We tried and failed to establish the run on first down, mostly through Salubi. Blame the offensive line, blame the scheme, blame whatever you want. I think the time has come to commit to Seastrunk and Glasco Martin as much for now as next year. That combo carries our water in 2013 when we won't have an established, tested QB.
- I've seen some people saying we should bench Florence for Bryce Petty. That is not a good idea. Petty'll get his shot in the next two years, so don't worry about him. Florence gives us the best chance to win right now, and as I've said repeatedly, winning right now is extremely important.
- No disrespect intended to people that actually suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but our defensive approach on third down is going to give me the same. I believe Phil Bennett when he tells me that he doesn't think our corners are good enough to play bump man coverage. I believe that he thinks that. What I don't believe is that our best alternative on third and four is to play eight yards off the ball. If speed is a problem in our corners, that problem will manifest again when the opposition throws the ball five yards and gets the first down. If coverage skills are the problem, you've already damned them by not giving them a chance. Bennett believes our players will blow the coverage and allow the big play, so he concedes the small one. That concession is equally lethal. When our offense plays as it should, maybe it makes sense to wait for your opponent to make a mistake. Put enough pressure on the other team that they'll eventually blink. When it doesn't, like tonight, we have no chance. We were going to need a stop eventually but had no plan to get one. Hope isn't a plan.
- Speaking of hope, do you remember the last time a Baylor defensive lineman registered a sack of an opposing QB? It was two games ago against ULM on that fourth down play. We didn't get one against WVU and we didn't get one tonight. Our two came from Ahmad Dixon on a beautiful blitz and Bryce Hager when he went untouched. TCU had four.
- What you saw tonight in the passing game happened for two reasons: 1) TCU brought consistent pressure, and 2) we failed to establish the running game. Have you noticed yet that our offense isn't as balanced as it was last year? It's not. We've missed Robert Griffin III and Terrance Ganaway, probably the latter more than the former, more than I could have ever expected. I mean, of course we knew there'd be some dropoff from RGIII in the passing game, and I wrote a whole post about my concerns for the running game, too. I just didn't expect it to be so obvious. We're not running the ball well at all. That bit us in the ass tonight by taking away the play-action.
- The reason I'm most frustrated with tonight's performance is that we had two weeks to prepare for TCU, offensively and defensively, and got run out of the stadium. Initially the defense performed fairly well and held TCU to 14 points in the first half, but we failed to adjust when they did and it showed. The turnovers took our offense off the field and put our defense back on it. The defense you saw late being gashed repeatedly on the ground was the fruit of those turnovers. Our defense spent 41 minutes on the field; they were tired.
- Jamal Palmer didn't get into the game. Neither did Mike Hicks. I have no idea why on either of those. Javonte Magee played most of the second half, though. That's a good sign for having burned his shirt. Whether he played well is something else I don't really know at this point.
- TCU converted 14 of 19 third downs. 14 of 19. That includes third downs with 13, 15, and 18 yards to go. On the last two of those, they scored TDs. Seriously. Both were great passes from Trevone Boykin-- who will be a great player for the Frogs if he isn't already-- but you just can't let that happen.
- Baylor lists Gary Mason, Jr. as the starter at DT with Chris McAllister and Terrance Lloyd as the DEs. Did you catch that? I didn't. Trevor Clemons-Valdez got into the game, but he didn't start.
- Chance Casey and Ahmad Dixon led the team in tackles with 13 each. That's not a good sign, is it, when your backup safety leads the team in tackles? Doesn't sound like a good sign.
- I think the play of the game happened on second and 10 with Baylor at our own 23-yard-line. Kenny Cain and Davion Pierson sacked him for a five yard loss on the play, setting up a third and 15. We picked up 11 yards and then punted the ball away. They got it back after the half and scored to go up 21-7. If we could score there to tie the game at 14-14, everything changes.
- Of all the quotes after the game, one stuck out from Head Coach Art Briles. I'll finish with it:
On having two weeks to prepare for TCU...
"It is very frustrating. It is very humiliating, not just to us, as coaches, but to our players also and to our university. We did not do a good job of showing up for Baylor tonight."