Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Defense! Defense! Defense Hold That Line!

The title is to show how queer Baylor can be and how far we must come to be taken seriously in the college football world. Speaking of defense, let's talk about what we saw this season and peek at what we might see in 2007.

Well, let's just say that we're lucky that no offense employed the "wet paper bag" blocking scheme or else we never would have gotten any pass rush or sacks this season. In short, we are small and slow on the line. Our tackles got blown off the ball and our ends were never around the quarterback. On the bright side, Lamb got to play alot and McDonald will be back next season. I think his injury on his first play caused us to go deeper into our "talent" pool than we would have liked. Not that him being in there would have made a huge difference but I think we'd be better to have him out there. We are in desperate need of either a freshman DT that can play right away or a JUCO to come in. We actually need a couple of them.

An unexpected bright spot. Moore, Jones, and JoPaw showed up much more than I thought they would coming into the season. They were hampered somewhat by not having a decent line in front of them but the tackle numbers speak for themselves. My only gripe is that we are slow at this position. Opposing running backs made the corner too many times in my opinion. Quarterbacks were also able to step up in the pocket and run for the first down and then slide just before the linebackers were able to close.

Huge dissapointment. I know, I know, not getting pressure on the QB makes the secondary's job difficult. I totally agree. However, I don't even want to think about how many times a quarterback dropped back and hit his first read (before even a reasonable pass rush would have bothered him) for a first down. My favorite was on 3rd and 5 and our corners line up 9 yards off the ball. The recievers run to the line, make the catch, first down. There was also some players who wanted people to believe that they were solid and could play with the best. They were shown to have been out of their league. They didn't tackle well, virtually no interceptions after conference play started, and got gouged against any competent pass schemes.

The defense either underperformed or expectations were way too high for this group. Many starters were lost from 2005 and I believe those starter's leadership was missed more than the talent. I partially covered the pass rush problem already but to be honest, we've never really had a good line. In the recent pass, we've been at least somewhat effective with the blitz. I don't recall ever really bringing people this season. With as many new starting QB's our opponets lined up this year I would have thought that we would have gone after them more. Maybe we did but never got there. This contributes to my theory that we are very short on speed in this defense. The whole point of running a 4-2-5 is to get more speed on the field and it doesn't look like we have it. I'm not familar with who was redshirted this year and who's coming in next season but we absolutely MUST get bigger up front and faster on the outside or else it will be more of the same next season.

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