Thursday, October 05, 2006

To Burn or Not To Burn?

Sorry I've been gone for a couple days. I got a not so little bug and was down and out, then swamped at work when I got back.

But, Baylor football keeps on going, and we've got a game in a couple days!

One of the big questions for the upcoming game is what to do about Tim Atchison with Jordan Lake out with a broken collarbone.

Let me preface this by saying that I think Tim is going to be a star in the secondary. He's smart, athletic and big. He's going to be a great free safety, as early as next year. He could be good for us this year.

But I wonder if we are, perhaps, too quick to burn his shirt. A redshirt year is a very important development period where a player can learn the position, get bigger, get used to going to classes and being mature about your time-management before having the responsibility of also playing well on Saturdays.

Atchison is good enough right now to back up Crawford. He is, but if we could give him this year to really prepare his body for the Big XII, then I think the next four years he could be very, very good. I think he could be a special player in the secondary.

On the flip side, Atchison could get some valuable experience playing against the Big XII, and since he is already basically prepared to go, maybe he doesn't need the redshirt year as badly as someone else.

If he can get as many snaps as Lake was getting, then I think we should go ahead and play him. But if we are going to play Crawford more, and be scared to use Atchison, then what's the point? I still get frustrated when I think of burning Francis' shirt and then not playing him all that much. Or Zeigler getting 9 catches his true freshman year. Or Baker, Teasley and Sims combining for 22 catches for the year (average of 7 each) last year in their true freshman year. And don't get me started on Gettis/Smith this year.

If you're going to burn the shirt, use the kid. If you can't use him enough, or are going to be too scared to play him, then don't.

Next year I can foresee Lake or Atchison starting at FS, Crawford sliding down to OS in Linquist's spot, and then having Widemon and Davis starting at the corner and Stiggers at the other OS spot. That is a stout, stout secondary, even with the loss of CJ Wilson and Arline. That secondary might be better than this years version. Especially if you consider that the depth will be more talented (Atchison/Lake, Criss, Williams, etc.).

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