Reflection, a day later

Yesterday, I sat through perhaps the worst first half of Baylor football as I could remember. It seemed as if everything we tried was doomed from the beginning. The game started on a bad omen and then only got worse. There were flashes of getting out of the downward spiral, but they were soon quenched by disaster. I cannot explain it all, but will try to decipher some of it.

The first bad omen was on the opening kick-off as the two return men could not decide at the last minuted which one of them was going to return the kick. Those few seconds of indecision cost either of them the opportunity, with thankfully at least one of them falling on the mishandled football to retain possession - at the 9 or 10 yard line.

The first possession was forgettable and certainly helped in providing Texas Tech with their first score by giving them excellent field position. Our defense did not fare any better as each time in the opening quarter Texas Tech got the ball, they scored a touchdown. There were individual plays where we stopped them, but we never seemed to put enough of those plays together to do it consistently. Enough about the game, however, as any who were there, listened, read the newspapers, or the story about the game right here, are full aware of what happened. Let's now look at some things you may not have heard or been aware of.

First of all, this game was not indicative of how this team plays, of how it is coached, or of any thing else. It was poorly played and executed by all. No one escaped "finger-pointing" as there were mistakes made in all aspects of the game. There were only some minor "improvements" but they were so covered by mishaps no one noticed, and they certainly don't provide any consolation. However, only to be fair, they need to be listed.

First of all, our offense scored more touchdowns (3) than in any previous game this season. The 279 yards gained, were the third best of the season behind the 367 gained on Arkanasas State and the 295 against New Mexico. Also, last year, against Oklahoma State, our offense put up 293 total yards - the 279 was second to that number as the most yards of offense against a Big 12 member in the past two years. Last year, against Tech we put up 248 total yards. And don't kid yourself that we got all our yardage against their second and third string players - that will be taken up in a separate story. However, as far as pluses, that's about it, sadly enough.

So, what happened? Why did we seem to play so well against Texas A&M, Nebraska, and then Oklahoma, and have none of that play for the Red Raiders? Anyone who saw the game knows we don't play like that. Anyone who has seen any of the other games knows we aren't coached like that. There seems to be one weekend of the football season where upsets occur more than any other weekend and this seemed to be that weekend. There are two types of upsets - one where your team is beaten by a team that shouldn't beat you, and the other is getting beaten worse by a team than you should. Most upsets come after another game or other games where you play well - almost as though you flatten out after being so high. I think it was the latter type of upset that befell us.

Of course, many who disagree with this coaching staff think it is simply more vindication for their opinions, while others would be so bold to go further and say it is an indication not only for removing the coaching staff, but for removing everyone from the President of the university on down, especially including the athletic director. Saner minds will prevail, however.

It is just like I don't think anyone will disagree that this football team played its best two quarters of football against Oklahoma last week in the second half. I certainly won't disagree that we played the absolute worst two quarters of football against Texas Tech yesterday in the first half. Just like that, however, one game does not a season make - and that season is not over.

I suppose it all boils down to which of the two games one feels was a fluke and which more expressed the talents and coaching of this football team. The next three weeks will decide that better than any of us can.


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