I like both quarterbacks. They bring different strengths to the team. Webb is more of the prototypical pocket passer at 6-foot-4 with a live arm. Mayfield is much better with his feet and probably the more accurate passer right now. The bottom line is they are both true freshman. Sometimes they look like world beaters and other times they look like true freshmen. They have combined for 16 interceptions and that is not going to get it done against quality opponents such as Baylor.
Other than the opponents, is there something you see that has changed from the past 3 games vs. the first 7 for Tech?
Yes, a lack of depth on defense. Like most teams at this point of the season, Tech is dealing with injury issues. Though Baylor has run into some injury problems lately, Tech has played two more games then the Bears and are battling attrition on defense. The Red Raiders had four starters out last week against Kansas State and it showed. These aren't just players but senior difference makers such as linebacker Terrance Bullit, safety J.J. Gaines and defensive end Dartwan Bush. Former coach Tommy Tuberville didn't leave a very deep defense behind and at this point Tech is just throwing bodies out there.
What is the biggest strength, and what is the biggest weakness of the Tech defense?
For much of the season Tech's strength was getting off the field on third down, but lately they haven't even gotten to that down most of the time. Obviously, Tech's rush defense is its biggest weakness. The Red Raiders have given up at least 277 rushing yards in each of their last three games and there hasn't been any sign of improvement. I don't think there was any doubt Tech was going to give up some yards in the run game this season, but it has been totally dominated, especially the past two weeks against Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
Jace Amaro is clearly having the best year of any TE in the country. Why are teams unable to slow him down?
He's just a physical specimen. He's 6-foot-5, 265-pounds and has been clocked at 4.6 seconds in the forty. He has good, but not great hands, is a very good route runner and the coaching staff does a great job of utilizing him in the slot. He's also been a great security blanket for the freshman quarterbacks. He's also a very good to elite blocker. But, he has taken an inordinate amount of vicious shots lately from opposing defenses unable to stop him. He admitted he's not 100 percent (I'd say around 80), and that might slow him these last two games of the regular season.
What is the general mindset of the fans, players and coaches coming into this Baylor game (realizing all 3 could be different)?
Well the fans of course have come back down to earth from the 7-0 start, and have talked each other off the ledge during the losing streak. The fans really like the new coaching staff led by Kliff Kingsbury and are just hoping, but not expecting, an upset in one of the last two regular season games. Both the players and the coaches are all saying the right things, but the losing streak and especially the manner of the last two have to be taking their toll. That being said, I've covered a lot of football at all three levels and Kingsbury may be the most consistently upbeat head coach I've ever been around.