For those of you who aren't rabid Breaking Bad fans, Art Briles is somewhat of a points kingpin. There shouldn't be a team in the nation that is excited about playing Baylor right now.
Matt Wilson (Matt T. Wilson) Follow @ProfProphet713
QB: A -- Petty showed us more excellent throws and good decisions, ho hum.
On the TD run, I was excited to see how he moved. I loved the juke inside to beat the CB outside, and I can't wait to see him pull the read option in the future.
A couple of throws made on the move were suspect, and the first TD to Reese was a tad behind, but it's all nitpicking. Petty strengthens his Heisman resume, and that is not an exaggeration.
Unfortunately, I have to dock the "+" grade because of the interception from Seth Russell.
RBs: A -- ULM made it abundantly clear they would sell out to stop the run. Often, 8-9 in the box, zero safety coverage over the top (ULM coaching staff saw how that worked out).
While it slowed Mr. Seastrunk for the first half, the TD run in the second half showed how explosive this guy truly is. Not a lot of work this week, but whenever you average 15 yds a carry, it was a good day.
Backups did their thang to the tune of 150ish yards. Not a bad day at all.
WRs: A+ -- Corey Coleman looked a little raw with a couple of drops in the 1st quarter, but my goodness does this team have speed. The camera gave us a look at the ULM cornerback that Goodley burned on the 63 yard bomb and his morale was already completely gone. Striking fast and in that fashion will definitely work in our favor.
Hot Sports Take Alert: Antwan Goodley will be our best receiver this year. Book it. I thought he was more of a possession receiver with his build, but his versatility is stupid. Deep fades, screens, quick slants, there isn't a throw that he can't take to the house. Size, speed, scary. Goodley is definitely turnt up.
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OL: A -- Solid protection as usual. The sack on Petty was probably more so his fault, as he came out of the pocket a little hesitant (had room to run).
Ball usually got out in plenty of time which always helps. Would've liked to see bigger running lanes, but hard to do when they stack the box like they did.
TEs: A -- Honestly, did not see any plays in the first half that caused me to take notice, good or bad. This probably has to do with our injury situation, which I would expect to change our playcalling a bit. That being said, stellar blocking.
DTs: A- -- Pressure from the interior of the line destroyed ULM's gameplan. Andrew Billings is due a lot of the credit for this.
Browning was able to escape on occasion, but the good outweighed the bad heavily (DE's contained well). Forced throws on the move are usually a great sign.
Masumbuko had a bad roughing the passer penalty.
DEs: -- Terrence Lloyd showed great awareness on a lot of the run-out plays ULM ran to the left side of the field, changed direction well to contain. Oh and he also dropped back in coverage a couple of times successfully. Oh and he also pressured Browning on a nice number of plays.
LB/NB/Bear: A -- VERY impressed with our ability to muddy the running lanes. Lackey laid some nice hits. Designed run plays never made it past the second level. Coverage in the flats was very nice.
S: B -- T. Burt plays well in the bend-not-break system. He was in the right places at the right times to make plays. Did have the great pick, but both him and Dixon felt out of place on some of the long throws. This could be just from a feeling, TV camera angles don't always show the whole picture.
CBs: B+ -- Joe Williams obviously credited with the defensive play of the game, very heads up play, but that was more from the great coverage on the flat from Sam Hull. He also got burned on the long (broken) pass play. BUT, that being said, played very nicely when it came down to it in the redzone (albeit, needing to force a bobble).
(P.S. I might be the resident curmudgeon regarding defensive back play.
K.J. "Predator" Morton applied nice pressure on receivers when thrown at.
Our corners seem relatively short and I am worried about our ability to turn and see the ball. Maybe this is a coached strategy, and you guys know more about football and I only played like 1 year in high school and I always sucked on defense so maybe they aren't bad.
Kolton Browning only really tested our CB's on a couple of plays, and when the secondary was beat, it always seemed to be a weird, broken play caused by our pressure from the line. I'm not super concerned yet, but I would like to see us finish
Special Teams: B+ -- Kick coverage was stellar. The fumble recovery on the kickoff was the nail in the camouflage-painted casket, and if that wasn't it, we destroyed their brain cells with that crappy Usher song played during the call review.
Stork did work, but the leg must've been a little tired in the second half. 0/1 on FG's, 10/10 PATs. #kissthebicep
Prashanth Francis (Prashanth Francis) Follow @PrasFrancis
QB: A -- It's early and the opponents haven't been elite, but to this point, Bryce Petty has been a better quarterback than Nick Florence. We haven't seen as much rushing from Petty, but the consistent strength of his arm is bringing a different dynamic to the Baylor offense than we saw last year. We still need to see how Petty does under 60 minutes of duress, but the early returns are incredibly promising. The stats may not have been quite as good on Saturday in some respects, but the difficulty of the throws was significantly greater.
It's hard to come up with many areas for improvement, but I would like to see Petty improve at decision making and throws on the move. This is the sort of thing that is hard to simulate in practice and is an area that I think he will improve on throughout the year. I'm not sure that he's ever going to have the escapabilty of the guys who are elite in this category, but this may be one of the last steps he needs to take before becoming established as a complete, elite quarterback.
RB: A -- The improvement of Lache Seastrunk continues. He again showed that he has developed as an inside runner in that he has maintained his shiftiness while focusing on moving forward consistently. He did not have a big role to play as an extra blocker in pass protection on Saturday because the Baylor OL didn't let very many pass rushers through.
WR: A -- for Goodley and Reese, B+ for everyone else. On the broadcast, they mentioned that there isn't a better WR duo than Reese and Goodley. That's probably a bit of hyperbole from the heat of the moment, but it's hard to object too strenuously. Their skill set plays off of each other really well and I think it's clear at this point that they're going to create trouble for pretty much everybody that they face this year. The secondaries that Baylor faces will improve drastically in Big 12 play, but Baylor's tradition as WR-U continues onward.
OL: A -- Baylor's OL completely dominated a very active, aggressive front from ULM. A group that had been averaging almost 3 sacks a game was held sack-free in this game. Looking past the sack count, Petty was plenty comfortable during his time in the pocket. Part of that is due to how quickly the ball gets out in this system, but the aforementioned lack of pass rushers for Lache to pick up shows how dominant the Baylor OL was. The ULM defensive line was pushed back 2-3 yards on seemingly every play.
DL: A -- It appears our concerns about the Baylor DTs were a bit unfounded. ULM rushed the ball 35 times for 75 total yards (2.1 ypa) including holding the frustratingly shifty Kolton Browning to 43 yards on 10 rushes. I mentioned last week that Baylor could potentially benefit from playing a DE at DT based on the struggles of ULM against Wake Forest, but that would turn out to be unnecessary as Beau Blackshear again displayed the high motor that is so pivotal for interior DL. With Hager to clean up any messes behind them, the Baylor defense was able to shut down designed rushing plays with relative ease. On passing plays, the DL got great push against the experienced ULM OL and spent the afternoon discussing the finer points of Kolton Browning's dental work. They have successfully rotated players in all 3 games this year and are positioned as well as a DL unit heading into conference play as any I can remember in my decade plus of Baylor fandom.
LBs: A- -- Lackey did well at containing Browning, Hager did his usual stand out job in the rushing attack and Holl continues to transition very well to his new position.
CBs: A- -- They weren't perfect. They'll probably need to play better against Big 12 competition. But they played better in this game that against Buffalo and did very well at making plays when they kept players and the ball in front of them.
S: B -- Ahmad Dixon had a few bad plays and pulled this group's rating down. Dixon also had a few great plays and ULM was not able to consistently target Dixon downfield. Perhaps other teams will be able to, but until it happens, Dixon is going to bring much, much more to this defense than he takes away. Burt has developed into the FS type of player for which I had hoped/anticpated in the offseason. While we all love and Baylor needs gamebreakers on defense, it's the development of players like Burt into Big 12 caliber defenders, simultaneously reducing holes to target and increasing depth, that strongly suggests that this isn't your older sibling's Baylor defense.
K -- #KissTheBiceps
P -- Somebody get this guy a sports drink. He's been worked too hard.
Peter Pope (Why are we putting our names in parentheses?) Follow @pbpope
Well now, wasn't that fun?
QB -- A
I really don't know how to grade Bryce Petty down when his line is 18 of 27 for 351 yards, 4 TDs (another on the ground) and 0 interceptions. Sure, he skipped a few balls to his receivers, but his QBR was 98.5. That's absurd good. We still haven't seen him use his legs outside of a scrambling situation and his TD run, but that will come. He's still exceeding every expectation I set for him before the season started. Once we get into conference play it will be fun to see him unleashed.
RB -- A
Lache had a quiet day where all he did was bust open for 50 yards or so, then demolish the ULM defense on a 75-yard touchdown run. 10 carries, 156 yards. That's an insane yards per carry. We didn't see Glasco Martin at all in this game (I'm assuming he's still healing up), but the others looked good in mop-up duty. I didn't fully understand the 4th down conversion attempt using Devin Chafin instead of Lache or Shock Linwood, but I'm not one to question TGCAB. It didn't hurt us anyway. Great game.
WR -- A
Is it possible to be the most impressed with Tevin Reese? I don't think that I ever expected him to slide into the #1 receiver role so comfortably. He has, though, making the move to the outside with ease. Antwan Goodley remains an absolute beast who can blow up smaller defenders, yet is capable of outrunning the competition. His second TD catch and run was a thing of beauty.
TE -- INC
Not much happening in the way of TEs with Jordan Najvar out. It seemed like we relied more heavily on the pass in the early portions of the game than previous weeks, and friends speculated that it was due to Najvar's absence. I'm not really sure about that, though, seeing that we still racked up 311 rushing yards.
OL -- A
Dominant once again. Petty had time most of the day. Like we talked about on the podcast, ULM was supposed to be pretty sneaky but whatever sneakiness they brought was completely negated by the O-Line. A very intimidating performance.
DL -- A
It's becoming clear that run defense is one of our strengths. ULM had only 75 yards rushing the entire game, and over half of those came on Kolton Browning scrambles. The big guys were able to push into the backfield with regularity, and Shawn Oakman (can we petition SBN to auto-tag Roll Damn Tree?) had multiple TFLs yet again. This group has me very excited headed into conference play.
LB -- A
Lackey - superb in covering Browning and supplied a couple of big hits. Hager was great as usual. Holl was solid also. Excellent effort all around. At one point he was lined up opposite an outside receiver (see my note below), which I didn't fully understand, but whatever. He was good.
CB -- B+
There's always room for improvement with this group, but this group had a much better day all around. KJ Morton and Joe Williams still need to turn their head towards the ball more frequently, but the coverage was much, much better. It was also great to see Demetri Goodson get back onto the field; his presence will bolster this secondary significantly. On one play, if KJ had turned, he would have had an interception, possibly another pick-6. The worst play came in the first quarter (I think?). ULM had five-wide, with Sam Holl lined up on the left wideout (why?), Joe Williams and Terrell Burt on the inside receivers on the left, I forget who on the slot on the right, and KJ Morton on the outside receiver. The right slot receiver did a 7-yard out route. Whoever was covering him there stayed with him, but for some reason, KJ Morton bit on the slot receiver's move instead of staying with his man. His receiver ran straight down the field, snagging the ball and romping for a 50+ yard gain. Our defense stiffened though and prevented the score. There were multiple miscues on that play (Terrell Burt was talking to Sam Holl when the ball was snapped). But, overall, I felt much, much better about our corners.
S -- B+
A couple of miscues by both Ahmad Dixon and Terrell Burt bring this grade down a bit, but Burt ran an interception back for a TD and Dixon had a couple of big hits too. I'm not too worried.