I was in Waco on Saturday to asses the damage from what I was led to believe was a nuclear device going off at Floyd Casey Stadium. It must have been North Korean because it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. What I saw was a team starting a Redshirt QB making his 3rd start get beat by the #16 team in the country. This is going to be pretty random but I'm going to discuss some different areas and positions on the team this year and going forward.
No one could stand Bell less than me. Like I mentioned in my last post, he did improve greatly over the course of the season. As bad as Syzmanski did the past 3 games (and it was awful), this is an offense that our record breaking 5th year senior didn't look competent in until the 5th game. Blake wasn't going to look like Joe Montana in his 5th game but I suspect he would start to improve with more time. I've heard that Beatty is looking good and we've already permanent ink penned GJ Kinne to the savior, err quarterback next season. Assuming GJ starts, one thing we have next year that we didn't have this year is a quarterback that has played in the system against good teams. Many Baylorfans have criticized the overall recruiting but the lack of someone who could take snaps coming off the bench and not lose the game absolutely killed our season.
Did we have running backs this year? The offense switch was an absolute disaster for Paul Mosley. For whatever reason, his number was called on plays that had the running back taking the ball standing still on a draw or moving east-west. I would bet that on plays where Paul got the ball with some momentum between the tackles or even some counter plays he averaged 2 yards better. Brandon Whitaker was a real disapointment this year. This offense should have made him a star. He looked very slow and showed no elusive abiltiy. The best running back I saw was Jacoby Jones. To be fair it was very limited action but he showed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and actually make someone miss before getting up the field.
To be fair, it's almost impossible to judge this years group because of the offense change. After we run this system for another couple of years we'll see how this current group really stacks compared to future teams running this offense. Early in the season our receivers had an epedimic of the drops. This probably cost us either the WSU or the Army game. The beauty of this offense is that great route runners and guys who can make reads excell more than just the best athletes. Running routes was also a problem if you read any coaches conference call transcripts. The loss of Parks, who created a matchup problem for everyone we played, really hurt. He was always there with a first down catch in the middle. I think the talent level goes down with the loss of Shelton and Zeigler but I think the overall group gets better because of improved routes and read recognition next season.
A mixed bag, but for the most part not very good. To be fair once again, we had two guys starting who were a tight end and a defensive tackle last year and our center was playing on a broken foot for most of the season. The false starts that killed drives the first four games were limited somewhat the rest of the season. Run blocking needs to be a priorty this offseason. Lack of dephth was incredibly evident throughout the season. If the current recruits are as advertised (I'm no expert nor pretend to be), I would guess that one or possibly two of them either crack the starting lineup or are in the rotation. At this point I think even having a rotation will show that we have more depth than last year at this position.
I'll talk about the Defense next time I get a chance. Remember, the schedule is much more condusive to our goals next year and in a new system, the biggest production jump is usually the second year.