What I'm thinking three hours out from the next installment of Bears vs. Longhorns in Austin, Texas.
First and foremost, the Game Thread for tonight's game will go up 1 hour ahead of game time as it always does. That's 6:00 PM CST. All are welcome, nay, encouraged, to participate in it. I'm going to do one thread per half just like last week, let's just hope for better results.
Here are my five keys to the game tonight from Baylor's perspective:
- Stop the run-- Limiting Texas' running game early is the easiest way for our defense to set the tone and force them to do something they don't really want to do: pass the ball repeatedly. Stopping the run on first and second down is critical.
- Run the ball-- It's Texas' biggest defensive weakness and something we haven't done to our usual standards this season. Glasco Martin needs to get 15 carries tonight at a minimum to establish that portion of the offense. If he can hammer them to the second level, they'll have to bring their safeties toward the line in run support. That's when Terrance Williams takes over.
- Watch out for the trick plays-- Fake punts, fake field goals, wide receiver passes, etc. etc. Bryan Harsin knows he's going to need offense to win and tonight's game is of critical importance to the Texas coaching staff. I think everything is on the table.
- Protect Nick Florence-- Give him time to get the ball to TWill and Tevin Reese at the very least. Alex Okafor and co. are still extremely dangerous in the pass rush. Running the ball effectively will help keep us out of obvious passing downs (3rd and long) where they can pin their ears back and go all-out. If we're unable to prevent that, however, we have to keep Florence's shirt clean.
- Get Started Quickly-- I've said it so many times now that the words may have lost all meaning, but a quick start has never been more important. In five games this season we're now 2-3 in what I would call quick starts. Get going quickly and Texas may not be able to keep up, even against our defense.