Burning Questions

There are burning questions that need to be answered by our beloved Red Raiders for the upcoming game against Baylor at Jones Stadium. Our Red Raiders need to respond well from the tough loss to Texas, as RaiderPower asks the questions that need to be the focus for this week.

1. Can we bounce back from the Texas/Referee heartbreak?  Losing this game was so incredibly tough on me.  I'm infinitely proud of our boys for how they played, yet still pissed off for the way it ended up.  I can't imagine what the team felt, or how they will respond to the painful loss.  Hopefully, they recognize that they played a hell of a game, one worth being very proud of.  I also hope that they realize that with a little bit more in the second half, we might have been able to overcome the extremely poor officiating.  I see one of two teams showing up for the Baylor game.  We will either have a demoralized team that could very well lose to an improved Baylor team, or an extremely angry and motivated team that takes their frustrations out on the Bears in a blowout.  I'm thinking and hoping it will be the latter.

2. Can we be a first AND second-half team?  As much of a factor as the referees were, all we would have had to do is score one touchdown in the second half to win the game.  I credit Gene Chizik for making the proper defensive adjustments for Texas, but we still should have been able to get on the scoreboard once.  The reason that we lost the game, other than the officiating, is simple.  Our offense's drives sputtered, and our defense never had the chance to rest up between drives.  The D was forced to play tired, and because of this, Texas was able to exploit our defense's sluggishness with their team speed and make the comeback.  That said, there are few teams that are able to mount that kind of a comeback against our solid play.  Playing like we did last Saturday will beat the rest of the teams on our schedule.

3. Can we keep up the offensive success?  The Air Raid made its glorious return on Saturday, making one of the nation's better defenses look porous.  Graham Harrell used the entire field, and made every throw in the book.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Had we won that game, Harrell would have been catapulted to legend status already.  Instead, we came up a half-yard short on a few occasions, and that turned out to be the difference.  Still, what Graham and the rest of the O showed us in that game was reason to get excited for the future, and reason to never question Harrell again.  Jarrett Hicks was back to his dominance once again, and the fact is, we should have won that game, and we sure as hell deserved to.  The Air Raid is back, so let's frighten defensive coordinators and finish out the season strong. 

4. Can our secondary and LBs step it up for Baylor?  The secondary struggled a bit against Texas, but that is because they were forced to provide run support.  Also, the unit got a little banged up, partly because Texas was playing a little dirty.  See the chop block against Chris Parker that took him out for much of the game.  Of course, it was not flagged.  Still, our secondary is a talented group which has played well for most of the year.  As for the linebackers, the key is communication.  I don't want to see OLBs trying to match up with speedy wideouts, a la Johnnie Lee Higgins/UTEP.  The LBs and secondary need to work on their switching to handle Baylor's passing game.  Also, Shawn Bell is out for the season, so expect a larger dose of Paul Mosley.  Mosley is an underrated back, so we must keep an eye on him.

5. Can we remember why we don't like Baylor?  First of all, we have the WTAMU Benedict Arnold who Leach lets observe practice while furtively plotting with Morriss to take over the offensive coordinator position at BU once he's learned the system.  Then we have Morriss' "falling off a log" comment to state how simple our offense supposedly is.  Add in the frustration that our guys are feeling after the Texas game, and it is reason enough to just beat the living poo out of the Bears.  If we come out as angry as I think we will, watch out, because this one could get ugly.  However, we could easily get surprised if we don't take Baylor seriously.  Rebound nicely, fellas, and show the nation who the real Air Raid is.  The original is still the best.  Let's go out and prove it with prolific passing and another defensive shutout.


-Trent Wycoff

(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at trent@raiderpower.com.)

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