Full text from live chat with Baylor expert

If you were one of the unlucky ones who couldn't make it to Wednesday night's live chat with BearsIllustrated.com's Chris Bullajian, be sure to read the full text from the chat session.

BigD03 = Dallas Shipp, Aggie Websider
Cbull = Chris Bullajian, BearsIllustrated.com



BigD03> what is the attitude of the team right now, Chris? They're going for their first 4-game winning streak since 1991, correct?

cbull> I think the attitude of the team is good. Their opening day loss to TCU has been put far behind them, and they have been successful in these last 3 games, with one trip up to New York.

BigD03> Has Szymanski made a lot of strides in those last three games?

cbull> I think the difference is the confidence in which he is playing with. The light has seemed to go on in his head, and his reads, and his check downs have been good these past three games.

2percent> I've just heard multiple casual references that Guy is on the hot seat this year. Is there any substance behind that?

cbull> I think in year five of a regime, most people would have thought that Baylor would be further along. However, this is the 1st year Coach Morriss is playing with HIS recruits, and unfortunately the previous coach, who shall remain unnamed really left the cupboard really bare. Coach Morris is making strides in the right direction, and has the Bears off t oa good start this year.

AgE2theBONE> Funny how ironic some of those comments sound. But that's the nature of the beast.

2percent> I laughed- it must have come from Mod. 101.

cbull> where is the irony?

BigD03> I think they're saying it's ironic because they've heard the same comments about Franchione

BigD03> year five, his recruits, etc...

2percent> The irony is that we have been using the cupboard is bare and 5th year themes alot in the past in referenceing fran.

cbull> I think Fran took over a program in a lot better shape than the team Guy Morriss inherited.

AgE2theBONE> My question is about Blake (sorry if yall already talked about this) What happened to him? Last season I saw him play against A&M and he looked awful. I saw against TCU and he looked awful. But since then he's apparently lightin' it up. What gives? Is he really talented and just needed some reps and some confidence?

cbull> Blake got virtually no reps last year with the first year of the offense. Shawn Bell needed to get as many reps as he could, and he did...until he got injured in the BU-A&M game. Blake as a redshirt freshman didn't have what it took, in my opinion, to come in and lead the team. This year, he actually played a decent game against TCU, but the whole team was out of synch it seemed. He gained a lot of confidence in the Rice game, and hasn't looked back. Granted, the three games Baylor won were against teams they were expected to beat, but he still played very well. I think it will be a true test of his ability.

AgE2theBONE> Last year's game against Baylor had one of the weirdest endings I've ever seen. I'll explain..........

AgE2theBONE> When had 3rd and 4 late in the game, we just needed a first down, and we could run out the clock.......

AgE2theBONE> However, Goodson scored a TD, which gave Baylor the ball back, thereby giving them a chance to score, recover an onside kick and score again to tie it up......

AgE2theBONE> First time I've ever seen a game in which the riskiest play was to SCORE

AgE2theBONE> And in fact, Blake missed a WIDE OPEN receiver for a TD. If Baylor had scored then, I'd probably have had a heart attack if they recovered the onside kick.

AgE2theBONE> Fran's team was better than Baylor's, but light years behind Texas and OU.

cbull> Actually, it was a double pass. WR Dominique Zeigler had a streaking Trent Shelton and it went off of his finger tips

AgE2theBONE> Ah yes, thanks.

AgE2theBONE> I was so ANGRY at Goodson for not just falling down so we could run out the clock and go home

BigD03> Chris - who is stepping up for the departed Zeigler?

BigD03> He was a big piece of your offense last year

AgE2theBONE> Somebody's gotta be getting some yards for Baylor, as well as Szymanski's throwing the ball

cbull> i think Ernest Smith has pretty much taken on that role. It is hard to replace a guy like Zeigler physically, but Ernest is faster, and has better body control. His team first mentality is also a positive.

BigD03> Zeigler sure liked to talk a lot

AgE2theBONE> Are you saying Smith is playing as well as, or better, than Ziegler?

AgE2theBONE> Or just that he's faster and has a better attitude?

cbull> No. Smith is not close, as a sophomore, to where Zeigler was a senior. What I am saying is that Smith has taken over that position on the field. Has better speed, and brings a good attitude to the field an to games everyday.

2percent> Does Baylor have the speed on defence to get around a&m's line. I think Miama showed that as a major weakness for our offence.

AgE2theBONE> Remind us, if you would, who Baylor played in Games 2, 3, and 4. Thanks.

cbull> BU has the speed, but they will have to do it with more than just BU's defensive line. That obviously creates vulnerable spots in the defense

cbull> Baylor played and defeated Rice, Texas State, and Buffalo (at Buffalo)

AgE2theBONE> All i saw was the TCU game, and I don't remember who you played

AgE2theBONE> Where do Baylor's offense and defense rank nationally in the major categories?

cbull> looking up exact figures to be accurate.

cbull> baylor is 17th nationally in passing

AgE2theBONE> That's amazing, despite the schedule.

cbull> Baylor is 101st in rushing offense

cbull> Baylor is 93rd in pass defense

AgE2theBONE> Well, if I was gonna gameplan against A&M, I"d rather be able to throw it than run it.

cbull> Baylor is 39th in rush defense

cbull> I think it will be a key matchup, BU passing vs. Aggies pass defense

AgE2theBONE> I'd say that's a safe bet

BigD03> any team who can throw the ball will give A&M problems unless they figure it out

AgE2theBONE> Is Baylor running a similar spread offense to Tech's?

BigD03> it's also why IF i were a betting man, Baylor +17 would look a lot better than A&M -17

AgE2theBONE> Or just throwing out of more conventional sets?

cbull> It is almost identical. Lee Hays coached at West Texas A&M in canyon Texas, and learned directly from the TExas Tech coaching staff.

AgE2theBONE> Great

AgE2theBONE> Ah well. Maybe we'll stumble across some heretofore un-thought of defensive tactic that unlocks the secret to stopping that offense......

cbull> You won't find me giving out any secrets :)

AgE2theBONE> Maybe my dog will sing "Nessun Dorma"

BigD03> lol

BigD03> who are the key playmakers on offense for you guys other than Szymanski

BigD03> ?

BigD03> welcome jgh... feel free to join in with questions for Chris (cbull)

cbull> RB Jay Finley, a redshirt freshman, got his first start, uprooting senior Brandon Whitaker. Both played significant minutes, but Finley really gave the team a bosst. He runs north and south, and does not dance in the backfield.

cbull> Brad Taylor and Justin Akers, inside receivers, also are the guys that seem to be getting the most looks from Szymanski

BigD03> are most of Blake's passes deep/intermediate/short?

jgh1204> Lane usually has a big game after getting shut out. Can the BU DL stop him.

cbull> I would say most are short to intermediate. His long is 44 yards. The offense is definitely designed to take what the defense gives you.

cbull> I don't know if the BU line can stop Lane. It is a good question. I think once he starts rolling, it will be hard to stop him. I always thought a back like Lane would be the perfect guy to bring in late in the game when the defense is worn out.

AgE2theBONE> I'm sure the inside guys are getting the most looks because NOBODY seems to want to play inside the slot guys to stop quick slants/look-ins. Baffles me

cbull> I am surprised he didn't carry the ball in the 1st half against Miami

2percent> We were too

AgE2theBONE> You're surpised? Hmm. We didn't really notice.

AgE2theBONE> lol

cbull> So, I guess the correct answer should be BU can stop him, unless the Aggies coaches don't do it first?

AgE2theBONE> Which A&M games have you seen this fall?

cbull> I have seen th eMiami game, and I have watched that game multiple times. I have only seen portions of other games

2percent> The thing with lane is he never has as much early success but seems to maintain his strength while the DL starts to weaken.

AgE2theBONE> Lane is definitely hard on a tired defense

cbull> That's exactly the way I would utilize Lane. He is a load, and after being beat up all day, any team will find a guy like that hard to bring down.

jgh1204> He catches the ball fairly well, at least he did the 2 times we have thrown him the ball.

2percent> How deep is your d line and does guy rotate out alot?

AgE2theBONE> Last year's Mizzou game was probably the "clinic" for best use of our RB's. Lane just killed 'em in the 2nd half.

cbull> Rotation in the d-line is done early and often. The depth is always an issue, but this may be the most talented that Baylor has had in the past few years.

BigD03> How is the Baylor secondary?

2percent> How often do you utilize the blitz and is is from safties, LB, or CB.

cbull> Bu secondary:

Brinkrock> can Baylor man up and sell out against run? Do they have the front 7 to get it done ? and how have they been against the run so far?

cbull> two seniors start at CB, in this 4-25 defense. Josh Bell and Alton Widemon. They are 1st year starters, and have held their own so far this year. Safety is Jordan Lake, and has been playing lights out. He was the Big 12 player of the week last week.

cbull> Baylor does utilize the blitz, but with this defense, if you blitz too much you definitely leave your CB's on an island frequently. Most of the success and sacks come from the outside safety and rover positions on blitzes

cbull> Baylor HAS to stop the run. If they don't then the game might get away from them early. I think that they have the ability to get it done, the issue is HOW. At some point, you have to bring extra guys in the box, and i don't know if BU can afford to send 8 too many times without getting burned.

AgE2theBONE> I didn't know Baylor ran a 4-2-5, as well

2percent> Guy seems to be focused on "3 more wins" Where does everyone expect to get them?

AgE2theBONE> I take it he's thinking 6-6 will mean a bowl game?

2percent> Correct

cbull> The question definitely calls for speculation, I can't speak for "everyone", but I will say that the goal is to reach a bowl game, and the players and coaches are determined to get AT LEAST 6 wins, and not stop there.

cbull> Expectations, from what I know, are mixed.

cbull> From the fans

AgE2theBONE> I don't blame him for that. Bowl game is reasonable first goal when you're trying to build a program

AgE2theBONE> It's something tangible to set your sights on

cbull> He is re-building the program.

2percent> Where are the 3 most likely to come from?

cbull> That is a loaded question, but I think things will be a lot more clear after this upcoming game against the Aggies.

AgE2theBONE> I support your effort to make one of those wins against Tech.

AgE2theBONE> Which B12 North teams does Baylor play this season?

cbull> Kansas, K-State, and Colorado...the only home game is at Colorado. We swept the North teams last year.

AgE2theBONE> Given how close our games have been the last three seasons, and after watching us get hammered by Miami, do you get the feeling from Baylor fans that they believe they'll win this one?

AgE2theBONE> Excuse me, the only HOME game is AT COLORADO. Did you mean "against"

cbull> I always think the players go in with that attitude. You have to, or you will beat beat before you play. I think a lot of fans, on both sides of the sidelines, really don't know what to expect. It is such a hard game to do any sort of prediction for because both teams have kind of been Jekyl and Hyde

jgh1204> Does Morris have to reach a bowl to keep his job? Is his house really on the market?

AgE2theBONE> I'm sure the players feel that way. They have to. I was just wondered if you had a feeling for what the fan perspective was. I know BU fans felt strongly about winning last fall.

cbull> The first question calls for speculation, and I am not going to get into the personal lives of other people.

AgE2theBONE> What's your prediction, cbull?

cbull> for what?

BigD03> FYI fellas... Baylor hasn't lost a game in which they've scored more than 34 points since 1991 or something

AgE2theBONE> lol

AgE2theBONE> The Presidential Election

AgE2theBONE> Do you think Baylor's gonna pull this off?

cbull> I hate sounding like I am avoiding the question. Do i think they can win? absolutely. Do i think they WILL win? I don't know. This game is such an important game for each team, I just don't know how each team will react come opening kickoff.

AgE2theBONE> Nothing wrong with "I don't know." Especially when it's the truth. I don't know either.

AgE2theBONE> My hunch is that A&M will blow it open, but that's based on some emotional thing that comes from I don't know where.

BigD03> this is going to be my toughest prediction so far I think

AgE2theBONE> It'll probably end up in OT.

cbull> Sorry, to lay an egg on that answer fellas

BigD03> A&M could win by 30+, Baylor could win by 10-14, Could be an OT game, etc

AgE2theBONE> You're right Dallas.

AgE2theBONE> No prob cbull. You called like you saw it.

BigD03> anything else for Chris, fellas?

AgE2theBONE> Thanks a bunch for your time Chris.

AgE2theBONE> Coming to Kyle Field?

cbull> I am not coming, unfortunately, just got back from a vacation.

BigD03> okay, I think that's it, man. Thanks so much for coming over

cbull> Anytime, thanks for having me. I look forward to working with you guys in the future!




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