I’m going to give this actual game the same amount of thought in this space that our coaching staff did in who to play at QB this season: almost none. The defense that looked so great against OU gave up a career day to Dillon Stoner before halftime, and the offense plumbed new depths of futility in an already terrible season. 2.4 yards/play is the lowest by any Baylor offense since New Mexico in 2002. I’d say you should think about that, really internalize it, but I don’t want to, either.
Instead we’ll talk about how, in a season where we lost seven of nine games; will probably end up somewhere around 90th in S&P+ on offense when those rankings shake out; finished with 4.0 yards/play or fewer FOUR different times (including today); had a half-dozen different skill-position starters miss time due to injury, COVID, or by choice; and even our coaches themselves weren’t safe; somehow one thing remained the same—Charlie Brewer was our QB. Despite having just about every possible reason to make a change throughout the year and the ultimate cover should they have decided to do so at virtually any point, our coaches didn’t do it until 2:32 to go in the third quarter, when injury made the decision for them. At that point the offense had ten possessions for 73 yards and zero points. We were averaging 1.55 yards/play, which would have been the worst number since the Nebraska game in 2000 over an entire game.
Baylor finished the season having thrown 331 passes; 321 were by Brewer. Baylor QBs carried the ball 115 times this season, including sacks; 107 of those were by Brewer. Simply put, for whatever reason our coaching staff decided they were going to ride or die with Charlie Brewer regardless the outcome, no matter how many times we would go 6, 8, or, like today, 10 drives in a row without scoring points. There are times when sticking to your guns and screaming back into the howling wind that you aren’t moving is laudable. This wasn’t one of them. Nonsensical stubbornness clothed in the veneer of loyalty is not a positive trait.
The next few weeks are going to be a critically important time for Baylor Football going forward, the next few days, especially. The one thing we couldn’t afford coming into this season was for our coaching staff, helmed by a first-time head coach in Dave Aranda, to look like they didn’t know what they were doing or didn’t have a plan. The impact on our recruiting coming off a successful rebuild could be disastrous, not to mention what it would do to existing players after a 11-win campaign that fell a few plays short of the CFB Playoff. That the NCAA may give everyone a one-time transfer exemption, while good for the players themselves, terrifies me right now. I don’t know how you look at the offensive side of the ball and come to any other conclusion. Think about it this way—if you were Gerry Bohanon having spent three years here or Jacob Zeno, two, what would you be thinking right now? Before Brewer was injured today, they’d thrown a combined one (1) pass in a game in the last twelve months. If Brewer hadn’t gotten injured, Zeno would never have played at all. That he got the chance and things immediately got better, if only slightly, is the biggest possible indictment on this season. Now how about Kyron Drones, our stud 2021 QB recruit that has said he’ll be signing Wednesday? Do you like what you see in the scheme and from our decision-makers? How about the possibility that Brewer comes back, something that can’t be ruled out and that it seems our coaches would welcome?
I want to be crystal clear that I’m not placing our offensive struggles entirely on the shoulders of #5. If I had to guess, I would say that we’re going to see one or two offensive assistants depart, at a minimum, probably for good reason. Whatever we’re paying Wickline, for example, seems to be too much. We were dealt a particularly bad hand with injuries and COVID, and that’s nobody’s fault, either. My point is not that Brewer, himself, is to blame at all. He played as hard and as well as I believe he can, and I don’t think he’s the one making the call about whether he plays or not. My point is that it never should have gotten this far. This season should have been about seeing what we had going forward and letting the young guys play as much as possible, particularly after it was obvious we weren’t competing. That it wasn’t at the most important position on the field is simply indefensible, and the coaches we are paying to make these decisions failed utterly. We can’t afford for them to fail like that again next season. Neither can they.
There was a time when being a Baylor Football fan was, for better or worse, exciting. Something to look forward to on a Saturday afternoon (or, frequently, morning). We didn’t always win, it wasn’t always fun to watch, but it was at least exciting. Anything could happen! No matter what, at least our players looked like they were having fun and enjoying the experience. Aside from random moments where defenders like Jalen Pitre or Terrell Bernard made incredible individual plays, there was very little exciting about Baylor Football in 2020 until 2020 was nearly over. This was a bad team that flashed periods of overall adequacy. It didn’t look fun at all. That has to change.