I chatted with Coach Johnny Tusa of Waco High after the game. He's quite "pro-Guy Morriss." That's good! I also saw LaQualan McDonald's family, including his younger brother who is one of the post position players I coach in basketball in my role as "part-time" assistant at Waco High School. They are very pleased with Big Mac playing for the Morriss staff. I also had a fine visit with Justin Crooks and his family. All these people are very pleased with what's happening in BU's football program now. I feel these messages are every bit as significant for the membership of the INSIDE to know as anything that happened on the field today, and hope you agree.
The "new" defense is indeed just that, Bear fans. The 4-2-5 scheme provides for much more pursuit by the tacklers as well as much tighter coverage on wide receivers. I chatted with Coach McGriff (secondary) afterwards and he said, "Baylor will not be playing in a different area code than the WRs of other teams this year. I've got really good players to work with back there. We'll be okay back there." He said it...I saw it. Looks like real football in our secondary. Matt Johnson and Willie Andrews are particularly impressive to me. Maurice Lindquist also caught my eye often. No secondary player gave the slightest impression of being a 'weak link'.
The punters and the punting units gave a great pre-game show as Coach Morriss stood right beside the two ( Jeremy Parker and Daniel Sepulveda) as they apparently competed to do a good job in front of several thousand BU fans. The ten other players of the punting unit would SPRINT from their huddle and quickly get ready to snap the pumpkin. The ball would zip back there and then five punts by each man boomed off each's foot. Daniel Sepulveda averaged 45.8 yds and had good elevation, and he's a left-footed punter. Jeremy Parker averaged 41.6 yds and also had decent elevation. Oh, did I mention that a full-eleven defensive unit was in an all-out rush and did block one of young Sepulveda's punts during all this? These coaches are SERIOUS about improving the punting game! (Daniel did get to have a "make-up" attempt, so they both got five kicks.)
There were no field goals attempted during the game, but Kenny Webb did look fine on a PAT. Sean Bell was the holder for it. Um, guess that tells you how many TDs were scored in the game, doesn't it?
Seven different QBs had the controls during the 45 minutes of "running time." Aaron Karas got more snaps than any other - and is clearly the #1 QB of the team, while Davon Vinson got the next most. Other QBs who took snaps were Mark Murphy, Sean Bell, Ryan Frazier, Chris Neilson and James Irwin.
Several runners lugged the pigskin, but the primary one seemed to be Paul Mosley. Anthony Kreig and Jonathan Golden were in on the action, of course. Jonathan Evans blocked hard and carried at least once. Other runners were Staron Faucher, Austin McCann, Jonathan Sisk, and tiny Phil Tran. I don't think any of the names which are "new" to you will be carrying the ball in games this year, however. I do feel that the offensive scheme is one which attempts to have a "complete arsenal." There are all sorts of plays and formations, but a definite effort to have an inside running attack was evident. Middle screens, flare passes, no-back formations as well as straight "I-power" formations were employed. Most of the time the QB was accompanied by a single back (who would line up behind a guard or tackle, not the QB) and he would be "under center" and not in the shot-gun. There were only a very few shot-gun formations, perhaps only one, now that I think about it. Everything was called "in the huddle" by the QB. There were no "end-around" plays, but I've seen them practiced. I felt that the offensive players were very engaged mentally and eager to do well, though there were three illegal procedure penalties. Two were evidently caused by OLs reacting to Karas' strong voice call as he tried to draw certain.
Right now, the OL appears to be the weakness part of this team. Some of the "big boys" simply must lose at least 25 pounds, I'd say. My understanding is that they will be working very hard this summer to do so.
What kind of passing attack did we show? Spell it K-A-R-A-S. No other way to say it. If he's not doing the chunking the receptions aren't yet happening. Sorry to say that, but it's what I saw. Davon Vinson did hit one on a sweet 46 yarder to Baylor Barbee on the last series, but overall only hit on half of what he tossed.
Where there any long drives, or marches down the field resulting in points? Spell those K-A-R-A-S, too. Davon Vinson did have an 86-yard drive all the way down to the 2 yard line on the game's last possession, but I thought the 'D' was a bit tuckered at that point. Only 80 players suited up today, you know. There wasn't a half-time break, either. Again, sorry 'bout saying it that way, but that's what I observed. Davon had a rough time leading the #2 'O' against the #1 'D' in the earlier portions of the game.
Giant, fast, and aggressive Montez Murphy impressed EVERYBODY as a new DLE. Of course, he and Khari Long split time there, so that position is probably the best 'manned' on the entire team. He's the 'real deal'. More than was AC Collier during A C's Junior season, IMO. And nobody liked AC's playing more than I did during the 2001 season!
OLB Tyler Lindstrom and DT Ian Bracken made several good plays, but I'm not sure whether or not they'll get lots of PT in the fall. I am impressed that every player, regardless of place on the depth chart, was giving STRONG EFFORT on every play. These Bears are hustling, folks. They do hustle.
Part 2 will be a "play-by-play" breakdown of the game.