Me (Mark C. Moore) Follow @OurDailyBears
Going to keep mine relatively brief this week, since it was a blowout and I don't want to pick nits.
QBs: B+ -- Two plays by Bryce Petty keep this from being an A: the strip in the pocket and the pass over the middle that should have been intercepted. Beyond that, he was legitimately good. Not like "Oh, it's his first time and we want to be positive" good, I mean good. We didn't ask him to do anything special, a strategic decision the appropriateness of which became apparent immediately, but what he was asked to do, he did. He's got a cannon for an arm, made only the one bad decision throwing the ball, and got rid of it quickly for the most part. I do wonder about several seemingly short throws that WRs nevertheless caught on screens. Not sure whether to chalk that up to nerves or something else. It didn't appear to be mechanical. The best throw of the night was the bullet to Clay Fuller in the slot. Nick Florence doesn't make that throw.
Seth Russell was better in that game than I've ever seen him. He's a very shifty runner, and it will be interesting to see if we get him more time in the coming games.
RBs: A -- What little we saw of both Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk was great. They both picked things up where they left off, basically. Glasco seemed a bit tentative and showed it in his stats, but other than that, was the same guy we've gotten used to having. Lache was Lache. I wish he had gotten 5 more carries. Rashodrick Linwood impressed me with his vision and burst. He might be the most complete back in a "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of way. I was surprised to see Anthony Webb get so much run late in the game and was even more surprised that he did so well. If that's what he can bring, why'd we change him to safety in the first place? That's four quality backs that could all put together yardage behind our line.
WRs: A -- No complaints at all. Tevin Reese running down that overthrown Petty pass might have been one of the most impressive plays I've seen, physically. That's pure speed. Corey Coleman racked up his first career TD late in the game and showed why we've been calling him Kendall Wright redux. Robbie Rhodes and Jay Lee mostly watched, but both looked good (fumble aside) when the ball went their way. I'll never say a negative word about Antwan Goodley again lest he burst through my wall and demand accountability for my intransigence.
OL: B+ -- Like I said this morning, Wofford basically sold out to stop the inside run, but even with that in their face, I'd like to see a little better performance from our line against a smaller DL. Still, it was their first real game together and things went pretty smoothly, so I don't have much to complain about. Snaps were a bit of an issue with both QBs.
TE: Inc -- I don't think either of them caught a pass, but they were active in run blocking, especially late in the game. So I'm giving them an incomplete for what will probably be a typical Baylor TE game.
DT: B -- Trevor Clemons-Valdez got pancaked on the second play of the game. That wasn't good. Suleiman Masumbuko, his backup, was a little better, but not great. Beau Blackshear is solid at the 3-technique, but NT is going to be a work-in-progress. Andrew Billings showed his incredible promise when in the game, and it's interesting that we saw him both times Wofford found themselves deep in Baylor territory. As we go through the season, you'll see him more and more, I think.
DE: A- -- I didn't want to give another A, I'll admit it. Chris McAllister was obviously brilliant on his tipped ball -> interception -> TD, and all Shawn Oakman did was rack up 6 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. I don't know how you even hope to block him without just going low and wishing for the best. He's a manchild. Jamal Palmer added a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 5 tackles total. Might this be the strength of our defense after all?
LBs: A -- The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey were 1-2 in tackles again, with 12 and 9, respectively. They also might have led, were it not for Ahmad Dixon, in plays that made you say "OH SH****T". Aiavion Edwards somehow managed to also notch 3.5 tackles for loss, tied with Oakman for most on the team. He's a redshirt freshman. Sam Holl had one play I noted in the GDT where he took a horrific angle at the ballcarrier. Otherwise, this switch seemed to fit him perfectly. He just needs reps.
S: A -- Dixon was great. Get off me about Dixon. Terrell Burt threw the wood around, too. Man, there was some hitting going on from the Baylor defense on Saturday night. It was something else. They weren't challenged deep, but I don't want to talk about it and blah blah blah blah blah.
CB: Inc -- The next time Wofford challenges them will be the first.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with the performance across the board on Saturday. It was as dominating a team effort as Baylor fans have probably ever seen, against a team that was not as bad as the score made them seem. The combination of Baylor's tempo and the heat gave them something for which there is no real way to prepare, especially if you've never seen it before. Baylor was able to bottle up their option attack early, putting them in a hole. Choosing the option as your base offense requires the calculated risk of not being able to score quickly, 1995 Nebraska aside. Once it became clear that Wofford wasn't going to be able to stop us on offense, the game was essentially over. That was about 7 minutes in.
The crowd was fantastic, especially the Line. Saturday gave Baylor fans a lot to be proud of, in almost every way.
Peter Pope (pbpope) Follow @pbpope
QBs: A- Two drives in the second quarter prevented this from being an A. On the drive that resulted in a Bryce Petty turnover, Petty had some poor decision that resulted in an intentional grounding call; I wasn't sure why Petty didn't throw the ball away earlier or just take the sack. I don't fault him for the turnover because Cyril Richardson was simply outworked on the play. The next drive had a couple of low snaps that Petty didn't field cleanly even though it appeared to me that he could have gotten them. There was a pass or two that he threw that weren't the smartest decisions, and were saved from interceptions because of slippery defensive hands. But, aside from those few isolated incidents and given the fact that it was the first game of the season that was out of hand early, I felt that it was a very good first start for Petty. I was a little surprised they didn't utilize his legs more on designed runs, but there's plenty of time for that. The few deep balls that he threw were impressive, hitting Antwan Goodley for a touchdown and a beautiful leading pass that Tevin Reese caught in stride, if a little stretched. Seth Russell was equally impressive in his debut; I'm excited to see more from him in garbage time soon. The future is bright, indeed.
RBs: A Glasco Martin got his 7-9 caries and a Touchdown, and looked good doing it. He's not 100% yet, but I imagine that he will be by ULM, if not earlier. Lache Seastrunk really, really impressed me. We all know that he's a speedster, but his performance in this game showed me that he has matured significantly in the offseason in multiple ways. There was fewer stutter-stepping and more north-south running. And then on the 23-yard TD we saw a glimpse of his blinding speed as he sprinted into the end zone untouched. Shock Linwood was impressive in mop-up duty, as was safety Anthony Webb, who rushed six times for 71 yards. An impressive day all around.
Receiving Corps: A A solid all-around effort from the receivers. Tevin Reese did what everyone thought he would do, leading all receivers with 5 catches for 97 yards and a TD. Most impressive to me was Antwan Goodley. Multiple times as I watched the game again on TV I noted, "Dang, that guy is STRONG." He was a lot of fun to watch. Corey Coleman's 70-yard touchdown from Seth Russell was a lot of fun to watch as he took advantage of a botched tackle and then outran the rest of the defense to score. Clay Fuller is a large guy in person, as is Jay Lee. The only demerit that I can think of was Lee's fumble after a screen. The Wofford defender got his helmet on the ball and popped it out. Other than that, I remember few to no dropped passes or anything particularly negative of note. Solid effort.
Offensive Line: B+ For the most part the offensive line was dominant, with the exception of the two drives I mentioned in my QB grade. Cyril Richardson was flat out beaten on the turnover, letting the defender get past him. Stephan Huber had two low snaps, and there were a few moments where it seemed like they got beat by the Wofford front line. But those moments were few and far between, and they improved as the game went on. I felt that it was a solid effort from the front line, if unspectacular.
DTs: A Solid effort from the defensive line. They shut down the inside lanes with regularity. Impressive work all around, I felt.
DEs: A- The one place that the Bears struggled a little bit was on the outside pitch. That was the most successful play for the Terriers. There were a few times where Terrance Lloyd overcommitted on the pitch that would have otherwise been contained, but he redeemed himself well later in the same drive. And, of course, Shawn Oakman. Shawn. Freaking. Oakman. The man is a beast. On the second turnover, he drove back the tackle he matched up with a good 6-7 yards, removing the lane and enabling the rest of the line to swarm and create the turnover. He shut down the outside pitch a few times with his quickness, too. And what can be said about Chris McAllister? His batted ball interception was a thing of beauty.
LBs/"Bear" NB: A Solid outing by Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey, even though I think the triple option challenged them a bit on the outside pitch. They responded well, however, as did NB/"Bear" Sam Holl. He had the unenviable role of shutting down the pitch and covering the QB on the wide option. He overcommitted once or twice, but never for big yardage and was able to recover to help get the tackle most of the time. Good first game.
Safeties: A Ahmad Dixon. Dude was a beast early, landing that massive hit and making several more tackles. I can see why Mark is concerned about the targeting penalty. The announcers said that Dixon could have been hit with it for that first drive hit, and while I disagree, it's a concern. According to a postgame interview, it was on Dixon's mind all game, too. So, at the very least they're being mindful, which is good.
CBs: Incomplete? Not much observation here, given how little they were challenged. On the one play that I can remember, during the first drive of the 3rd quarter, Joe Williams turned way, way too late on the pass. He was able to get a hand in there and break up the pass, but a more seasoned WR may beat him there for big yardage. But, it was the first game and they were challenged so very little that it was forgivable.
Prashanth Francis (Prashanth Francis) Follow @PrasFrancis
QBs: B/B+ -- On what curve should Bryce Petty be graded? A quarterback starting his first college game? A quarterback who has about as much experience as you can have while never having started? A QB inheriting an offense that has 3 new OL and lost it's top 2 WR? A QB who has trained under one of the best offensive minds in the country and has one of the best rushing attacks? Looking at the stats, Bryce Petty had a phenomenal day. 19/24 for 312 yards (13 yards per attempt), 2 TD, no Int. That's remarkable. But it also doesn't tell the whole story. Petty benefited from a playbook that was, for this start at least, pared down from previous years and set up to be incredibly QB friendly. High percentage throws to WR who were frequently (though not always) quite open and also capable of making things happen after the catch. If he plays against Big 12 opponents like he played against Wofford, his box score will not look so pretty. If he plays against Big 12 opponents like he played against Wofford, Baylor is going to win a lot of games this year.
RBs: A -- I do not yet possess the capacity to describe how much I love watching Lache Seastrunk run with an oblong leather object in his hands. Last year he wowed us with his acceleration; the raw, V12-powered ability to plant his foot, make the ground squeal from the impact of so much torque, and take off as if he were racing for his life. In his first game in 2013, he showed the remarkable ability to weave through step-to-slow defenders at near maximum speeds. I'm a bit weird in that when I am experiencing a great moment, I will sometimes (ok, too frequently) become sad at the thought that something so great cannot last. If this annoying little voice speaks to you regarding the future of Lache at our beloved institution, please feel free to follow my lead and punch that voice right in its ephemeral face.
WRs: A -- Yes, Art Briles has been called The Quarterback Whisperer. But after watching this game, I can't help but wonder if his moniker should instead be The Quarterback Equipper. Less mysterious? Sure. But don't forget that the success of the Art Briles Baylor Quarterback comes not just from years absorbing knowledge from the coach himself, but from the privilege of operating one of the most ridiculously engineered, turbocharged offensive weapons of mass destruction this side of Eugene. Sure, my early pre-season love for Jay Lee didn't manifest itself yet. But goodness is there some speed out here. Also, it's currently 9:50 CST and Antawn Goodley is still probably scouring the plains of central Texas for a foolhardy CB to truck.
OL: B+ -- Let me ask you something. Do you like pancakes? I hope so, because I think there's still some left over from all the pancakes the Baylor OL served up Saturday night. Baylor generally got fantastic push from it's OL against the light-bottomed 3-man Wofford front. As we discussed in the podcast, Wofford played it's usual brand of defense that relies heavily on slanting and quick penetration. I was a bit concerned that the uniqueness of the challenge would present some problems for the behemoths in front of Petty (seriously, they average 314 lbs right now). This challenge was generally handled admirably. More interestingly, the times that it did present a problem, it was the veterans who had momentary struggles. Petty's strip happened because Cyril missed his block. Drango struggled at another point. But the entire line also did a great job of locking onto their man in the rushing attack. There are few things better for a RB to not get touched until you hit the second (or third) level.
TE: Inc. -- So little action that their 'highlight' might have been Clay Fuller getting called Jordan Najvar after a 40 yard catch. The trend that started last year continued into this year with the experience gained by Drango resulting in less of a need for a help blocker from a TE. That meant blocking assignments were as likely to come from the backfield as a FB as they were to come from the line of scrimmage.
DT: B/B+ -- Honestly, it was hard for me to evaluate the DT play. The combination of the color of uniform plus the feed that I was getting resulted in a difficult evaluation for the middle of the muck where the DT's make their living. We did not get much in the way of exceptional play from the DT position, but that isn't necessarily the end of the world in Bennett's scheme. The fact that our LBs did have to deal with OL in the second line of the defense on such a regular basis is a bit more discouraging. But even here, there's hope...and that hope's name is ANDREW BILLINGS WOOO. It's so rare for a true freshman to be able to meaningfully contribute at the nose tackle. That we heard his name at all is a fantastic sign.
DE: A -- I try to preach against getting overly excited and extrapolating from a single data point. But I don't see how any Baylor fan can stay calm about the continuation of excellent DE play from 2nd half of last year. One of the two major questions heading into 2013, the overall level of play from this position was fantastic. Even outside of the tip-pick6, McAllister routinely forced the issue without losing contain. Palmer looked like he was personally offended that we weren't giving him enough attention. And then...there's...SHAWN OAKMAN. That we get a great redemption story with THAT athletic toolbox makes us so very lucky. Roll. Damn. Tree.
LBs: B+ -- I know that Lackey was a very highly rated JuCo, but I still find Hager to be the more impressive player. We didn't get much chance to evaluate the strides Hager made in coverage during the offseason, but he once again displayed excellent read-recognize-attack skills, flowing through blockers with great purpose. Another great performance had me check - yes, Hager is starting to pop up on some draft boards. Lackey was still good, including making some excellent plays in the backfield, but the triple option had more success going his direction where he didn't quite get to edge contain as quickly as necessary. On the radio, they mentioned Phil Bennett yelling at him from the sidelines for the mistake. Sam Holl played as a true OLB in this game. I'm not sure how effective he would be at that spot against a Big 12 team, but he wasn't terrible there on Saturday.
S: A -- Absolutely stupendous in helping out against the rush. Dixon delivered the booming hits that we all love, but Burt also showed great closing ability. On one play, Dixon somewhat embarrassingly ran into the CB as they double covered 1 of the 2 WR on the play. But it didn't matter because Baylor got a sack. Let's get that cleaned up, hmm?
CB: A- -- Down 14-0 before I could get the meat off the grill, Wofford still only threw the ball 17 times. And yet, they only completed 8 of those passes and averaged 3.5 yards per attempt. Furthermore, Morton was especially good in run support (for a CB).
P: Spencer Roth - A. Had enough free time to whittle a likeness of Art Briles. Don't laugh at it; he was trying for that Surrealist approach...I hope.