Why did I post this video? Because it was the last truly challenging game this week's opponent, the Sam Houston State University Bearkats, played. The video was actually created by the North Dakota State athletic department, so it's a bit Bison-centric, but there are things we can glean from it. I won't say much yet as I'm still working on the official preview for tomorrow afternoon. Just know that to say they were a run-first team in 2011 is an understatement; the Bearkats' offense ran 72% of the time. Except for the Mike Leach-era Red Raiders, Baylor has never faced a program so one-dimensional in the past. To beat SHSU as we should, we have to stop their running game and get their offense off the field. Baylor will score points, we just need the opportunity. It makes all the sense in the world for SHSU to slow the game down as much as possible.
Now, all that said, thermhere pointed out to me on twitter that the Bearkats have a new offensive coordinator. That is true. Doug Ruse, formerly of Western Illinois, joined SHSU's program this past spring. I can't find anything that says why the old guy left. If I had to guess-- and this is purely a guess, mind you-- it was because they felt their offense needed to diversify. Ruse's offense was much more passing-oriented, and with the Bearkat's primary contributors all in their second year starting, they'll probably look to open things up a bit more.
Still, their best player remains RB Tim Flanders, and they will use him as much as possible, both as a runner and a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Winning is often as simple as making your opponent go away from his strengths-- do what he doesn't want to do-- and just like we said before the SMU game last week, Baylor must force Brian Bell (younger brother to our own Shawn Bell) to pass.