clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ODB Mailbag - Where Does BU Football Go From Here Edition: Answered

Baylor football questions (a ton) answered!

People seemed to be optimistic about Baylor’s roster last two seasons. Were we wrong about the quality of recruiting? Or is talent not being developed?

BNT: Actually our recruiting average ranking was pretty much in line with what we do every season. Take that for what it’s worth.

How many commitments do you think we’ll lose?

BNT: 0 at the moment.

Pretend that I asked this two weeks ago—what are your picks for the B12 CCG and ‘ship? What are your picks for the CFP, Natty, and Heisman?

Cody Orr: Big 12 CCG: Texas and Kansas State. Winner: Texas, for the first time since 2009. CFP is going to be something dumb like Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Michigan.

pbpope: Check out the picks I made on ODP! Since the prompt is to pretend it was 2 weeks ago, those picks apply... even though they were pretty much total shots in the dark.

BNT: BIG CCG: KSU vs UT. Winner: KSU. CFP Georgia, Ohio State, KSU, Alabama. Natty - Georgia. Heisman - JJ McCarthy Michigan.

I heard there was booing. I don’t think that is good fan behavior, do you?

pbpope: Honestly, I see both sides of this one. There are those that are adamantly opposed to booing because these are kids and deserve our support. I see that, and don’t necessarily disagree. That said, there are those that may say they weren’t booing the individual players or were booing the coaches themselves. That sort of thing. I can see that, too. Is it good fan behavior? I don’t know. That’s a very “eye of the beholder” type inquiry. I generally don’t like singling out individual players for booing... but when the total team effort is so lackluster, I can sometimes understand it, even if I’m not booing the team myself.

Joe Goodman: For me it depends on the context. If it’s because your QB threw 3 incompletions in a row, get outa here. If it’s because the team punts on 4th down in the 4th quarter of a tight game, express your discontent.

Cody Orr: The home crowd booing anyone other than the refs is counterproductive. As Peter alluded to, the players aren’t professionals (though NIL seems to be changing that...), and I think it’s bad form to boo them. I can see the desire to boo at coaches, but it’s not like you can target a “boo” to a particular person. Besides, I’m sure visiting recruits just love seeing the crowd turn on the team.How did Texas State recruit better players than Baylor?

BNT: I didn’t hear booing from where I was sitting. My personal view is you only boo the refs, heartily and often. You look silly, ignorant, and ugly when you boo the players

Was it a mistake to let Ron Roberts go?

Joe Goodman: The defense wasn’t lighting the world on fire last year, and the inferences from comments around his firing would lead me to believe it was about more than just on field performance, so no I don’t think it was a mistake. Our issues appear to be deeper than just a DC anyway.

Cody Orr: Too early to tell.

BNT: No, he had lost the locker room.

If Texas State, Wyoming, and CU played a round robin who would come out on top? Baylor certainly underperformed but Texas State was playing some serious circus ball on a level I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m just trying to wrap my head around how to rank our embarrassing loss alongside the other ones.

Cody Orr: CU > Texas State and Wyoming. Easy call. I know nothing about Wyoming, but I guarantee you that Texas State will end the season with a higher SP+/FEI rating than they entered the season with.

BNT: What if TXST is the 2022 Tulane story this season? In last seasons opening game Tulane, coming off a 2-10 season the year before, shocked everyone by beating eventual Big 12 Champ KSU. Tulane went on to show they were the real dealing finishing the season at 12-2. Maybe TXST is much better than they’ve been given credit.

The two teams that replaced the most scholarship players—Colorado and Texas State—both recorded upsets on the road. What do you think the impact of such roster reconstructions will be on college football?

BNT: I definitely think that we are discovering the portal is huge for roster rebuilding in today’s college football (and basketball) landscape. Basketball seemed to figure it out more quickly. Moving forward any program hiring a new HC must look at his ability to rebuild a roster through the portal as well as HS recruiting.

How does the offense look different with Sawyer playing QB, bothe schematically and in terms of energy? How well does Sawyer have to play to earn the starting role the rest of the year? How bad does he have to play to bring in Martinez?

BNT: We should see more QB options to try and keep the Ute D honest. He won’t win the starting role. Blake will have to come back and play poorly. Martinez won’t play unless Sawyer gets hurt...I pray that doesn’t happen.

What happened to Ajani Carter?

pbpope: He isn’t going to be on the team. Transfers can be tricky with grades and whatnot. I don’t have any inside information there, but I’m assuming that’s the case here.

BNT: Don’t want to speculate, but bottom line is he didn’t qualify.

What is the state of the program. I know it doesn’t look good but what is y’all’s opinion?

pbpope: Remains to be seen how they respond and play against Utah, but that game was one of the more disappointing efforts I’ve seen in person, and felt very much like a continuation of the K-State game/Texas/bowl game from last season. It’s been a rough stretch, and the Bears are needing some gritty performances to show that they’re turning things around... and fast. IMO. The phrase I used when processing everything about Saturday was “institutional apathy.” It was across the board pervasive, on and off the field.

Joe Goodman: Woof, there’s not much room for optimism and positivity, and that’s saying a lot coming from me.The one word that sticks out to me when I really think about it is apathy. At a program level, it feels like everyone put a nice little bow on 2021 and thought it would just continue. And I don’t just mean the players, I mean coaching and beyond. There seems to be no fire, no spark, no true excitement, and if we aren’t careful that can permeate the fanbase pretty quickly. We can’t have that happen with how far we’ve come.

BNT: The state at this very moment based upon last Saturday?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how “person over player” played into what we saw last night. First of all, we should ALL put the person over the role in terms of our desire to help each other grow into “all we can be.” Period. However, as a long time CEO and COO guy, it should be clear to that “person” that if they don’t perform to the standard required to make the company/entity/ministry all it can be, they will be gone. We will never stop putting their “person” first, but they will be promoted or replaced based on their performance of the duties the “team or company” require. Another way is “person over player, but team over all.” Could it be that this is the flaw that we saw come to light last night?

Joe Goodman: I’ll come out and say it, Aranda is too nice. I truly do love that he focuses on people, Woody Hayes once said “you win with people” and I’ve always remembered that when I’m tasked with managing others. That said, you’re right. Aranda’s job, at its core, is to win football games. Of course that means following rules and doing things the right way, but you can’t be a successful football coach if you only allow yourself to be a teacher and mentor. Aranda is clearly aware of this, but it’s yet to be seen if he can implement a personal change to find a way to still be about the people while also understanding there’s a team with goals and desires. I hope he figures it out, if he does, Baylor continues to be a special place to play.

pbpope: I think Aranda had that same sort of realization after last season... that there are limitations to “person over player” in terms of keeping a person as a member of an organization. That said, Saturday sure did feel like a continuation of the end of 2022, so it’s hard to say how deeply that realization was felt by Aranda and the staff.

BNT: Time to time through the years I’ve had to let people go. When they were hired they seemed like a good fit and having the skill set that was needed to excel at the job. Unfortunately not everyone has the right make up or drive (lazy or just enough to get by attitude). Often they would ask, “Why are you doing this to me?” I’d let them know I didn’t do anything but give them an opportunity and provide the training and tools to be successful. They were the ones who chose to not honor the agreement and did it to themselves. Bottom line, you can care about people and still cut them loose based upon their decision to not live up to the commitment. My experience is that accountability strengthens both the culture and production. I see that lacking right now with BU football.

Random thought, but how much do you think the loss of Joey McGuire to Tech has hurt this team? Last time he was wearing green and gold we were Big 12 champs.

pbpope: He wasn’t wearing Green & Gold when we won. He actually left for Texas Tech right before we started our deep run at the end of the season... leaving before either the TCU loss or the OU win, can’t remember which. I’m sure his absence is felt by the team, but without being in the locker room, it’s hard to say how much or by whom.

Joe Goodman: This kind of goes with my “nice” comment. I think Joey was a spark guy, a guy who’d tell a kid like it is, but in a way to keep them motivated. Head coaches get the blame, but entire staffs create cultures and win or lose games. Now, we didn’t need Joey to finish out that year, we did it without him, but long term I think Aranda is at a disadvantage by not having a boisterous lieutenant that brings a different edge than Aranda’s cerebral style. I feel like we are missing that on this staff, and we didn’t have a coach ready to step into that role. No different than losing a player to graduation and not having someone ready to step into his position. So yeah, I do think it hurts, not specifically Joey, just not having anyone like him.


Is the buy out for CDA really $40,000,000???

Joe Goodman: Major disadvantage of rooting for a private school is that we just do not know.

BNT: lol

In the post-game presser, Aranda intimated that they had to pull Shapen because they “couldn’t protect him any more.” It seemed like a) he wasn’t being protected from the beginning of the game, and b) he was visibly impaired, at least with mobility, for all of the third quarter. Combine that with Aranda’s comments about “I thought we already fixed” the problems about the O-Line, and there appears from the outside to be a huge leadership vacuum. Either Aranda is relying on student leadership that isn’t there, or the students are relying on coaching leadership that isn’t there. What’s the solution?

Joe Goodman: Well this is the million dollar question. I don’t quite know the answer. There’s rumblings happening in the fanbase that I would’ve never expected in January of 2022. I do think it’s clear that there’s some issues with developing guys, or maybe evaluating guys who are already at their ceiling and hoping they get better. I don’t know. But Shapen was one of the few guys who played great last week and the rest of the team, especially his line, really let him down. I hope it was an off night, and we see some fire against Utah to get us away from the panic button a little.

BNT: Leadership starts at the top. The fix (performance and attitude) has to come from the coaches and trickle down.

What are the pros and cons of letting CDA play out the string? Are there any obvious people that would be on Mack’s short list at this point?

Joe Goodman: Ask me after 6 games.

BNT: I agree with Joe that’s it’s too early to tell.

The Utes, they’re probably the most powerful OL and DL we’ll face this year. How will the bears buff-up their line play?

Joe Goodman: We call upon our one true ally, the glorious Waco sun. We pray that the Utes left their gatorade in SLC, and we are more prepared to play for 4 quarters.

BNT: We will need another miracle on the will also help if the Ute’s don’t bring their tents.

Hoping the best for Shapen, what’s his time frame if it’s just a MCL stretch or sprain? Anything else I assume he’s done for the year.

pbpope: Aranda said 2-3 weeks. I have no reason to doubt that timeline. Having suffered a mild MCL strain in a ski accident, that timeframe seems about right, depending on the severity of the injury. MCL is nowhere near as bad of an injury as ACL.

BNT: He went skiing?!?!

Did you like what you saw from Shapen and the WR’s and TE’s, on the rare times we had any sort of pass protection?

pbpope: Yes! The two biggest preseason questions may have been QB and WR, and those groups were decidedly not the issue on Saturday night.

Joe Goodman: I liked Shapen a lot and I loved Dabney. The WR room still has some work to do to get me to believe, but they definitely weren’t the problem on Saturday.Do you think Baylor will rebound and go to a bowl game?

BNT: Shane played great and I could see Sawyer’s potential. WR’s did a good job and Dabney, TE, looked like an All American.

What went worse in the loss? Any silver linings?

pbpope: My silver lining were the WRs and the QB performance. Shapen was great, even though he got hurt. Robertson did solid in relief, despite the INT (which wasn’t totally his fault) and the fumble. WRs showed up exactly like we’d hoped, given last season and the additions this season.What went worse? Almost everything on the defense, and O-Line. Woof.

Joe Goodman: My silver lining is that Drake Dabney is a beast, Shapen is clearly learning and improving, and the student section really showed up.

BNT: Silver linings were Shapen, WR’s Jackson and walk on Burton, and TE Dabney. On the opposite end of the spectrum, both the OL and DL were huge disappointments.

Is Aranda’s seat hot? warm? still comfy?

pbpope: Warm-to-hot, IMO. You don’t lose a game like that where you’re favored by 26 points and there not be consequences, especially in Year Four. He’s got to show that he can stabilize and right the ship, or it’s going to be a very long season.

Joe Goodman: The burner is hitting ignite. It’s still cool to the touch, but the dial is definitely ready to turn.

Cody Orr: Uncomfortably warm. Before this week, a 2-2 start was the most likely outcome for the team, and I don’t think Rhoades would have had a problem with that. But Aranda needs to redeem himself from last week, and that might mean Rhoades is no longer content with losing to Utah and Texas.

BNT: Oh he definitely needs a good antiperspirant right now.

Where does BU football go from here?

pbpope: “The quest now stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail to the ruin of all.”

Joe Goodman: “My dear reader! Baylor Bears really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a game, and yet after a hundred seasons they can still surprise you at a pinch.”

BNT: Short term? We will have a better idea after this weekend. Long term? We’re Baylor, we will be fine.

Post your comments and other questions below.