It is hard to predict what Coach Bradley will do with his gameplan this week. I consider him to be one of the best defensive coordinators in college football, and he always has a new wrinkle. Obviously, filling the gaps and tackling are the biggest concern for this Baylor defense. Against Kansas State and Colorado, the Baylor defense was able to get away with some poor tackling. Against the Longhorns, Baylor will not have that luxury. Other than these things, I expect Coach Bradley to give the Longhorn offense several different looks on the defensive side of the ball.
2)Besides the obvious veteran leadership, what in particular, is your secondary doing (X's and O's wise) to generate the turnover success you guys have had thus far, and how do you think it will affect the Texas passing game situation: (RS freshman QB/good receivers/minimal use of TE's)?
C.J. Wilson and Anthony Arline are two outstanding defensive backs for Baylor. They are quick to the ball and their height allows them to match up well with opposing wide receivers. This is something that Baylor has not had in some time. The ability to drive to the ball, and exhibit unbelievable footwork in the secondary has allowed this team to become one of the nation's top teams in terms of takeaways. The Bears should do well against the pass as long as they can get over miscommunication in the defensive secondary which was the cause of two long touchdown passes given up this year. Colt McCoy has showed he can play in a big game, as displayed against Oklahoma, but the success of the Longhorn's running game will definitely impact the final numbers through the air.
3) What defensive position is hurting the most because of lack of quality depth?
While some would consider the Baylor defensive line to be the weakest part of the defense, they have done well considering injuries to guys like Marcus Foreman and M.T. Robinson. There will be a lot of rotation to keep these guys fresh during the game, but there has not been a guy in the front 4 that has really taken that next step to set himself apart from the rest of the unit.
4)How does Baylor's spread offense (wide line splits) work against a defensive front that has shown the ability to penetrate as Texas' has?
It will be interesting to see just how far the Baylor offensive line has developed. The Longhorns' ability to pressure the quarterback and cause chaos in the offensive backfield is something that all visiting teams should be aware of. With the wide splits however, and with the offensive linemen in a two-point stance, it allows for better pass protection. Additionally, quarterback Shawn Bell has learned to let a pocket develop and step into it and make a good throw. The use of a two-back set also allows help against blitz packages and should cause the defense some concern because both backs, Paul Mosley and Brandon Whitaker, are threats to catch and run out of the backfield.
5) Assess the following attributes of the Baylor Defense and how they are performing this year so far:
(Pro, Con, or Servicable is fine for ratings along w/ any commentary or standout players)
Secondary: The Baylor Bears secondary is definitely a pro. As mentioned earlier Anthony Arline and C.J. Wilson are two NFL caliber defensive backs that know how to play their position well. In addition, keep an eye on hard-hitting Dwain Crawford at safety. D-Line: Serviceable. Colorado rushed for a lot of yards against the Bears and it all starts up front. Defensive end Marcus Foreman is definitely a guy who can make things happen, and converted tight end, Jason Lamb add quickness to the defensive end spot.
Linebackers- In what many thought would be our weakest position coming into the season may be one of the biggest surprises. Redshirt freshman Joe Pawelek and Junior Nick Moore have done an outstanding job. Include Antonio Jones into the mix and the Bears have very athletic and impressive linebackers.