Sunday, September 17, 2006

Offense, You Owe the Defense an Apology!

Defense, you can sit this rant out for the most part. I'm incredibly proud of your efforts yesterday.

To everyone else, what a pathetic effort.

  • 9 penalties for 75 yards
  • 6 of 16 on 3rd down
  • 3.9 yards per play
  • 9 (of 12) drives lasted 6 plays or less
  • Those same 9 drives went for no more than 21 yards and none lasted for more than 3 minutes

I think the worst thing (and that is saying a LOT with this game) was the 12-play, 30-yard drive that started with 36 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, and went into the fourth quarter. 12 plays and 30 yards. That's 2.5 yards per play.

Shawn Bell averaged 5.33 yards per attempt, about 2 yards short of what he should be shooting for as a minimum. He also averaged about 8.25 yards per completion. Again, AT LEAST 2 yards short of what he should be shooting for.

Defenses know that they can pack the box with men and have no fear for retribution from the offense, not because Bell can't throw it 25-30 yards down the field, but because he won't. Bell doesn't have the arm for the 35-50 yard passes (that's why Parks threw that pass to Whitaker), but he can make the 25 yard passes as well as anyone else. But he won't. Why? I can't say for sure, but I'd say it's the same reason he didn't try and run over the defender at OU last year, or why he slid short of the first down marker, or why he's been labelled soft by so many people. He's scared. If he throws it down field, it might get picked off, it might fall incomplete, it might show that he doesn't have a really strong throwing arm, whatever. If he can complete the 5 yard pass, then it shows that it wasn't his fault. "Look at my 60+% completion percentage!"

I don't think that this is necessarily something he has at the front of his mind, but I think it's in there somewhere. Morriss said after the TCU game that he wanted more of a "gunslinger" mentality from Bell. Well Guy, I just don't think the boy has it. Wait 'til next year.

The problem is, we can't wait for next year. THIS is one of the best opportunities Baylor has had for a bowl game in a LONG time. There is a lot of expectation being sunk in this year. Morriss said he didn't want to back into a bowl game, that he wanted to win 7 or 8 games. And he thought we could. Well, we could have, but wins #7 and #8 turned out to losses #1 and #2.

And that's what's killing fans. We are a good enough team to win against both TCU and WSU. There is only one way we lose those games, and we did it. We screwed around and made mistakes and blew opportunities again and again and again and again and again.

The defense says it's their fault. And frankly, I think that's one of the reasons they are so much better than the offense. They take responsibility. They weren't perfect, in fact they made two huge mental errors on the day that conceivably could have changed the game, both of them personal fouls that came on WSUs two TD scoring drives. Strangely this is a problem that seems to carry over from last year, when at A&M we let a personal foul continue a TD drive that allowed A&M to stay in the game.

But in both the WSU and last years A&M game, the story of the game was offensive incompetence.

In the first half of the game, the defense allowed a touchdown off of a Baylor fumble 34 yards from the endzone. Prior to that, WSU had gained 79 yards on 30 plays (2.63 yards per play). After the TD, they allowed 17 yards on 3 plays before intercepting the ball, giving it back to the offense with 40 seconds on the clock at the WSU 49 yard line. Three plays, zero yards.

I'm trying desperately to find a silver lining on the offenses performance. Justin Fenty was a nice surprise, Trent Shelton continued his streak, Zeigler averaged 15 yards per catch, but even those things aren't enough to overcome the negatives. Fenty also dropped two passes, including a 3rd down pass that would have continued the drive after the first WSU touchdown; Shelton only gained 25 yards on the day, on 5 catches; Zeigler only caught 3 balls on the day.


Right now, we are looking at a 4 win team, if that. The defense is Top 15 caliber, in my opinion. But the offense is looking like a D2 school, and I KNOW that we have more talent than that.

A few more games like this and it's time to bring in Romo, err... Szymanski.

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