Texas travels to Waco this Saturday to play the new Matt Rhule-led Baylor Bears. There’s no doubt, Rhule is licking his chubby chops, as his Bears await a vulnerable and beleaguered Texas Football team. Rhules Bears also happen to be win-less. That’s bad news, if you get my drift. This is also an annual match-up between Rhule and Herman, as both come from the AAC, Temple and Houston, respectively. Herman managed to win on two previous occasions. You think that grinds Rhule’s gears some? I do. On paper, Herman maintains an edge. He’s at Texas and Rhule, he’s at a re-building Baylor program, after Art Briles crashed the ascendant Bears program, scandalous! Nevertheless, expect Rhule’s Bears to be chomping at the bit to take down a struggling Texas team. How sweet would that be for the Baylor faithful?
Five Factors (per footballstudyhall.com)
The Texas offense is a work in regress. It’s a unit in free-fall. The positive, Baylor’s defense isn’t good. The negative, the Texas offense is regressing. It’s time the staff and players to land on their feet. The offense does show glimpses of efficiency, explosiveness, and finishing. All that’s needed is to crack the door open a little wider to let more light in. If Texas can begin stringing a few more scoring drives a game, the complexion of the games will change. Anywhere from 4 to 5 scoring drives with a touchdown rate of 50 percent would likely do the trick, as a minimum of course.
Shane – Quick and good decision-making is key. Though Baylor’s defense isn’t highly rated, they do play with speed and aggression. Beck did a good job getting the ball out of Sam’s hands last week, expect the same for Shane. What I’m curious about is contrasting approaches, since it’s been some time since Shane’s last start.
RPO Game – Expect run-pass options. With Shane, you can execute any number off of Zone & Counter. Whether they are pre-snap or post-snap, it’s likely Beck gives Shane a little more freedom to spot space and let it ‘rip’.
Personnel & Formation – Beck will likely keep more guys ‘in’ (backfield) for Shane. The last time you saw Shane, they mixed ’20’ personnel formations, including some Broken Diamond sets with Brewer or Humphrey. Also, keeping 2 backs in helps as well. This helps with both lead blocks and ‘max’ protection. It also allows for ‘Slip’ schemes with the tight ends or backs.
Physicality – I call for this every week. It’s important for the offensive line, backs, and receivers to show they can fit up blocks and buy their teammates space and time. Pay close attention to this against BU, inside and out. The defensive backs play very aggressive. It’s important for the Texas receivers to respond in kind, be nastier.
Target Will – Run or Pass, the Baylor Will (weak side) linebacker is active and a good player. Option and influence him with pull and lead action (split-flow) to run or pass opposite.
Spin High – Something the Baylor defense likes to do against certain formations and motion is to drop a safety and play variations of Cover 1. This can be used against them to generate play-action passes. If there’s no rotation, throw to motion.
Aren’t you curious how this offense does against a below average defense? As you may already know, Baylor ranks last among it’s peers. It’s incumbent on the Texas offense, every position, to make sure they execute and take care of the ball. Right now, Rhule thinks he’s well-positioned for an upset. Instead, the offense needs to make certain that the Bears are much further away than they think and early.
This unit turned in a good performance last week. Though they gave up some big plays (got lucky on one), they managed to keep OSU out of the end zone with stops and a turnover. Defending Baylor isn’t as daunting, but they are capable of big plays. They are a multiple spread team that like to mix personnel and formations to eke out any edge possible. The Texas defense will need to be ready for all of that.
Personnel – Baylor will use anywhere from two tight ends and a fullback to 3 and 4 receiver spread sets. They are multiple in both personnel and formation. No doubt Rhule will try to leverage this. Expect to see all of Orlando’s personnel groupings, 3-4, Nickel, and Dime.
KISS – Baylor’s run game can be tricky at times. Mostly, Big 12 defenses are not used to a multiple run game using a wide variety of personnel and formations. Rather than having multiple plans for each grouping and scheme, plan to take away interior gaps and funnel runs to the edge where the help is. You’ve seen this Texas front spill well before, you may see it again.
Play-Action – You can’t stop every run, but you can stop big plays from ruining a ‘defensive drive’. Baylor will attack deep. They try to do this via formation and isolation outside. Baylor doesn’t execute near the level of the better Big 12 offenses, don’t make them look like they do and get overzealous defending the run. Some caution remains necessary for a defense prone to big plays.
Pass Rush – This will occur on both Standard Downs and Passing Downs. Baylor’s protections haven’t held up well. With Texas’ pass-rushing gifts up front, life should be miserable for the Bears quarterback. Utilizing slants on early downs and some stunts on Passing Downs should help unleash the fury. By now, you expect Texas to specialize in this area. In particular, Charles Omenihu should get plenty of opportunities to show he’s an any-down terror.
Coverage – Expect some base ‘quarters’ (Cover 4) coverage and its variations to contend against the multiple personnel and formations. This goes for the 3-4 and Nickel packages. The hope is, Texas manufactures plenty of long down and distance situations. This allows for Texas’ Dime package and all the dangerous rushers, Breckyn included. Again, don’t get beat deep, live to see another down, rally to the ball, and hit hard.
Brewer – Last but not least, Texas will need to have a plan for Baylor’s freshman ‘phenom’, Charlie Brewer. You see, Zach Smith isn’t much of a runner. That will cause issues for Baylor, as Texas’ pass rush is a dangerous turnover machine. Brewer however, is a dual-threat quarterback, one who led a few scoring drives just last week. Much like Texas had a plan for K-State’s two quarterbacks, they’ll have a Brewer-plan as well.
This isn’t a good match-up on paper. Baylor is simply not very good this year. However, they remain dangerous. Allow Baylor to hang around, keep it close, and the result becomes a coin-flip, sound familiar. Sad as it is to say, Baylor is ‘poor man’s Texas’ this season. They’ve been close, only to eventually fail against better teams. It’s up to Texas to ensure this one is never out of control. Control the ball, field position, and put together the 4 to 5 minimum scoring drives, win. Last, but not least, DO NOT feed the Bears!