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Baylor Football Open Practice Report, Round 2

NCAA Football: Baylor at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor had another open practice today, and while last week’s was sunny and beautiful, today was cloudy, cold, and rained towards the end. Overall the defense dominated once again as the offense tries to gain its footing with a new scheme. I’m gonna hit y’all up with some bullet points this time.

  • Ebner and Fleeks opened the practice off with some great kick returns. Ebner has struggled carrying the ball but looked really good on returns today. Fleeks wasn’t dressed for practice last week so it was good to see him turn it up this week.
  • The defense remained dominant today. Returning so many guys, the starting 11 isn’t a huge question at this point. Right now the most up in the air spots are along the DL where they are doing a ton of rotating. The starting 3 today was Rob Saulin at DE, Siaki Ika at NT, and Garmon Randolph at the other DE. Aranda singled out Saulin as a guy who has really improved lately in his press conference.
  • Dillon Doyle struggled to open his Baylor career, particularly getting targeted in the passing game. He started to look much better later in the year which made me think he must’ve been injured. He has looked REALLY GOOD these past few practices. He completely stood up Qualan Jones in the hole today. Perfect form tackle, kept driving his feet and held him up until help arrived. He was chasing running backs sideline to sideline. Great day from him.
  • OL coach George Mateos continues to rotate a ton of dudes and play them in different positions. It makes it hard to judge the progress of the group right now. Even from last week guys were playing completely different positions. Connor Galvin is still the only one I would entrench as a starter, other than him it is up for grabs. They largely struggled again today. It makes it hard to judge the QBs because there is so much pressure. I expect Tate Williams to quite possibly start when he gets here this summer.
  • Bohanon was the first QB out today. Like last week, his performance was mostly uninspiring but it was difficult to pin the blame because of OL/RB play. There was one series where it was two short runs and then had an OK deep throw on 3rd down to Gleeson. He looks very good when running. It was extra tough because on called play action, which a lot of the passing game is right now, the QBs almost never had a chance.
  • Jalen Pitre remains very good. He’s just all over the place. He blew up Connor Galvin in the run game today.
  • Especially early on, Ebner and Qualan Jones struggled at RB. Per my eyes they continue to try and push too many runs outside. Ebner looked better later on when he was more decisive in his initial cut. I’m not sure that Qualan has the feet to play RB in this scheme, he has been playing some fullback and I think that’s where his future may lie.
  • I thought Jonah White had the best day at RB last week but was out injured this week. The best backs today were Taye McWilliams and Abram Smith. Taye is really good about being decisive with his cuts and getting up field. He runs with power and was able to shrug off several would-be tacklers. Abram was obviously a total surprise to see, but he looked really good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play a lot of RB this year.
  • For the beginning part of practice the offense was playing a lot of 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) and motioning to empty (nobody in backfield but QB, 5 wide). This really wasn’t going well. They started to play much better once they switched to playing out of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR). It gave them more guys to block in pass protection and really helped open things up in the run game.
  • Sneed had a great play where he caught a crossing route and bounced off a LB and turned it up the sideline for a decent gain. Then he got LIT UP by JT Woods. He had a drop on a great throw on the run by Jacob Zeno.
  • Zeno looked the best of all the QBs today. I didn’t think he looked great, none of the QBs were really able to get much done “on schedule,” but he had a few good throws on the run after escaping from the pocket. They used him in the run game several times as well, in particular a QB sweep in the red zone.
  • Freshman QB Kyron Drones was mostly relegated to playing in 7 on 7 drills, but he did get one series with the twos and looked really good. I think he needs more reps. He had a couple of very impressive throws.
  • Siaki Ika looked really good today. I think he had several tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He looked like he was in better shape this week, though I bet some of that had to do with playing in 45 degree weather as opposed to the hot sun last week. I don’t think any interior OL in the Big 12 can handle him.
  • Tyquan Thornton once again looked like Baylor’s best WR. He had a good TD on a jump ball later in the session on a good throw from Blake Shapen.