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Closing the book on the Baylor vs. TCU game with the Week 7 Grade Report. Unlike last time around versus West Virginia, we really don't have much at all to highlight.
I'm going to be completely honest with you guys: I dreaded putting this together and that's why we've made it to Tuesday without really talking about it. So much went wrong on Saturday night, Baylor failed offensively and defensively in so many areas, that it's just depressing to talk about. But it's something we've done every week now and this one should be no different just because we hate the outcome of the game itself. The fans can no more sweep this game under the rug than the coaches and players.
MCM: D. Nick Florence turned the ball over four, should have been five, times against TCU's defense to bring his season total now to 9 interceptions on the year. His overall efficiency rating would still be the second-best season in Baylor history, but he basically gave this particular game away offensively. Baylor needs an efficient decisionmaker to run the offense and didn't have one against TCU. I've put a lot of blame on the defense for what happened as part of a larger critique of the entire season thus far, but it would have been extremely difficult to win with this offense. The good news is that 4 interceptions isn't who Nick is, and 6 on the whole is not indicative of an Art Briles offense. If there is one area I absolutely expect to be better against Texas, it is this one.
I'm also becoming more and more confident that Bryce Petty is going to be a capable steward of this offense next year and may bring a different dynamic with his size and athleticism than we currently get from Florence. No, that doesn't mean he should play now. Nick is still the better option.
BL: F. Not a lot to say here. Nick was terrible yesterday. 4 interceptions are not acceptable, and it certainly isn’t sustainable. I want to give Nick a pass here and not think the sky is falling, but I guess we won’t really know until next Saturday.
MCM: D. This is basically a grade for Jarred Salubi based on his ball security and a regression from the WVU performance. If I wasn't out on Salubi before, and I arguably was, I'm out now. He simply hates contact. Bring on Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk against Texas, please. You can't deny that Seastrunk brings an electricity to the game that Salubi just doesn't have and Martin couldn't be more diametrically-opposed to Salubi if he tried.
BL: D. I said after the WVU game we needed more out of this position, but we didn’t get it this week. Salubi was ineffective and his ball security has regressed to the level it was his first 3 years at Baylor. I can’t really grade the entire unit, because in my opinion, they aren’t being utilized properly. It’s time to let Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk loose and see what they can do.
MCM: B as a whole, A for Terrance Williams (Terrence Williams): I can shower praise on Terrance Williams all night long if I decided to, and when we come around to the eve of this year's NFL Draft, I just might. The rest of them were moderately effective in limited opportunities but not fantastic. It's hard for me to ascertain exactly how much blame these guys should get for the interceptions. My leaning is toward very little since they were such awful throws.
BL: C. I’m honestly not really sure how to grade this. Terrance Williams was fantastic as usual, and is the only reason this unit gets a passing grade. Apparently a couple of interceptions were due to "miscommunication" between Florence and Lanear Sampson.
MCM: C. I'm beginning to get legitimately concerned about our offensive line and the role that it is playing in the struggles of our running game. So far this season we're averaging 66 fewer yards per game rushing than we did last season, good for a drop of 48 spots in the total rankings. It's true that at this point last season we were actually only 22nd in the country in rushing, meaning we improved as the season went on, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that we might see it again. We need it to since it's clearly the weakness of our offense at this point. Against TCU, we also saw 4 sacks given up to a defense I obviously underestimated going in. That's 4 too many. This was the first game where our young tackles looked the part.
BL: D. We gave up 4 sacks and couldn’t run the ball. TCU may have a good defense, but we’re better than that performance.
MCM: C+. I'm going against the grain here and saying this was, until they were exhausted late in the game, one of the best performances by our defensive line of the year. Yes, that is damning with faint praise. The problem wasn't that they weren't effective on their own, it was that we didn't give them the opportunity to get home on blitzes and stunts. That goes back to what I talked about at length the other day with the secondary. These guys aren't good and likely won't be going forward, but I've come to believe it's really not their fault.
BL: D. The D-line is terrible. We’ve now moved Gary Mason Jr. to DT from DE because we need warm bodies. This unit isn’t good, and it’s not going to get any better this season.
MCM: B. As good as we could reasonably expect. Very active in the pass rush even if it didn't pay off and stout through the first three quarters against the run. Once again, fatigue played a major role in the fourth quarter when our defense couldn't get off the field and the offense gave the ball away repeatedly.
BL: B. Hager and Lackey played ok, and Hager did have 1 sack. But honestly, how much can they do? The players in front of them are bad, and they players behind them are bad.
MCM: B+. I'd love to see that blitz of Dixon off the edge fifteen times more per game than we currently do. That was a beautiful use of his speed. The fact that they converted the resulting third down doesn't make that a bad play. Otherwise, he seemed decent in coverage and run support. He was the brightest spot on an extremely dark day.
BL: B. Ahmad was Ahmad. He tied for the team lead in tackles and had one big sack in the second half that put TCU in a 3rd and long situation (that they proceeded to convert). We know Dixon is our most talented player on defense, but sometimes I wonder if he’s the only one with any fire in him.
MCM: F. Just awful. I don't want to talk about it.
BL: F. They’re terrible. They play poorly, they’re coached poorly, and the scheme is terrible. There is nothing positive to say about anyone associated with this unit. TURN YOUR HEAD AROUND AND FIND THE BALL!
This game was a disaster in almost all facets of the game, including those that we were very confident about going in on the offensive side. Our QB performed poorly and the offense followed his lead. Our defense struggled against a redshirt freshman QB and failed to plug its many holes. We needed to win this game and got blown out. And all of this happened after we had a week to prepare! I don't normally grade the coaches themselves but I will this time: they get an F. Baylor was unprepared, unmotivated, and seemingly expected to just roll the ball out on the field and win against a depleted roster. They didn't respect TCU when the game began, but they did when it ended. That's a hard way to learn that lesson.
Going into the Texas game this week, we'll either see a different team take the field or the same type of result. There's very little chance for anything in between. Hopefully we can circle the wagons offensively and take advantage of a poor Texas defense, as well as an offense that looked abjectly terrible against Oklahoma last week.