Coming into this game, Texas had given up 56, 33, and 53 points in their first three Big 12 conference games. We scored 16 and didn’t get into the endzone until the fourth quarter when it was already 27-3. You can blame that on whatever you want based on your perspective—the offensive line will be a popular target, as it usually is; I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about play-calling since that’s a great catch-all for people that don’t want to blame the players; and having missed 10 days of practice due to COVID, being down three starters for whatever reason, and having had three games canceled already all didn’t help. Whatever the cause or causes, this offense isn’t nearly good enough to compete in the Big 12, and if it does not improve significantly going forward, there’s a decent chance we’re staring down the barrel of something resembling 2017. Don’t let the final score fool you; this offense is quite simply bad and has been virtually all season.
There was a point at which we had a chance to stay in this game early on. The defense was playing relatively well, the offensive line looked better than it had all season in pass protection, and we looked like we had a little life. Then due to a combination of terrible coaching decisions—punting from your opponent’s 30-yard line is absolutely indefensible, and the call on third down at the goal line to run Brewer was just bad—and an offense that continued to be completely unable to stretch the field, the defense started to get worn down, Texas made a few big plays, and the game was basically over when Texas took a 13-3 lead. It only got worse from there as Texas continued to take advantage of a defense that was on the field far too long and got zero help from their offensive counterparts until the game was already out of hand.
There’s so much I just cannot understand about what we did in this game and why. Honestly, it seemed like we were playing/coaching scared, particularly when it came to deciding when and where to punt. It also seems clear that Aranda has zero confidence in our offense, probably for good reason. I don’t understand why it took three quarters for the offense to show any real signs of life.
As loathe as people are to hear it and as unpopular a take as this might be, we need to talk about the elephant in the room: Charlie Brewer’s play. Before we do that, I want to make clear that I am not blaming all of our problems on Charlie, nor am I trying to downplay our other obvious issues. I also would never discount everything he’s done for and given to this program over the last four years. Brewer is a Baylor legend and deserves all of the love he gets from our fans. But the reality is that his limitations in arm strength and pocket presence, as well as his propensity to hold on to the ball far too long, are severely limiting what we can do on offense, and I believe it’s time for a change to either Gerry Bohanon or Jacob Zeno. Brewer simply is not the player he once was, probably due to injuries, and cannot stretch the field to keep defenses honest. That, in turn, results in teams loading the box to stop the run, teeing off with their pass rush knowing he’s going to hold on to the ball, and defensive backs having time to recover and break things up even when we do try to go down the field. When you have zero ability to throw further than 15-20 yards, you become extremely easy to stop offensively. Then it really doesn’t matter how well you play on defense.
Moreover, I’m having trouble understanding why this staff hasn’t at least tried to switch things up given that this season really doesn’t matter and we have two young QBs that need game experience. One of them is likely the future of the program, and we need to know what we have in them. The staff, however, seems completely beholden to Brewer for reasons I don’t completely understand. I don’t know if it’s that they think neither Bohanon nor Zeno are ready, they fear some kind of backlash from the lockerroom if they made a change, or they truly believe he’s their best option. It just seems difficult to believe that he is given what we’ve seen so far.
All that being said, there were some good things that happened today. Terrel Bernard continued to show that he may be the best LB in the Big 12. Mark Milton had a couple of rough plays but several highlights, as well, including an amazing play late to stop Texas on third down. RJ Sneed played extremely well when we could get him the ball, and JT Woods showed his continued improvement. As I said above, I was also impressed with the improvement in pass protection from the OL despite missing two starters. Despite being down big going into the fourth quarter, the team never gave up and staged a furious rally late. There are things you can point to as building blocks. But unless and until we get better QB play and the offense actually shows some semblance of competency, we’re simply won’t get where we want to be.