Culpepper's Commentary: Baylor Game

Two things stand out at this game and one of them had nothing to do with what was happening on the field.

The first came on Baylor's first possession; actually, on its first play of the game. The Bears aligned in an I-formation wing set and ran a Gordon Woods special for a touchdown. Quarterback Shawn Ball put the ball on his back hip and stepped back after his fake to tailback Paul Mosley. This was right out of the legendary Brownwood coach's playbook. The fake fooled 88,966 football fans, as well as the Texas secondary, allowing Bell to launch a 67-yard touchdown pass to Trent Shelton. What a start for the Bears! But that was only half of it.

As the Baylor players returned to their bench just in front of where I sit (row 4, section 29 on the 45 yardline), they turned to the Texas crowd and did their best imitation of Oklahoma with their upside Horns.

That was not good. Orangebloods on the East Side are not the "wine and cheese" group! From then on, every time Baylor had the ball, that group, which included Texas parents, were making noise for the Longhorn defense.

The second was a surprising reaction by the crowd for a Dixie Chicks advertisement on the Godzillatron. [Note: for Culpepper's political commentary, click here.]

Baylor was geared to stop the Longhorns' rushing game and they did an adequate job. Several times, defensive penetration over the offensive guards forced the Longhorn backs sideways or backwards for lost yardage.

The Bears paid dearly through the air for their preoccupation with the Texas rushing attack.

Wide receiver Billy Pittman finally got on the stage with a 24-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and a beautiful 62-yard short pass-long run in the third quarter.

Colt McCoy continues to grow into his role and except for a couple of underthrown passes is proving to be a smart and tough winner at quarterback.

I enjoyed watching the defensive front of Texas with their burst and pressure applied on Baylor's excellent quarterback. With Frank Okam out due to injury, Roy Miller, Thomas Marshall and Derek Lokey never stopped moving their feet trying to get to Bell. Tim Crowder was spectacular in his pursuit and looks like an All-American to me.

In the secondary, Michael Griffin needs to get it in gear. On Paul Mosley's 56-yard touchdown run, he took a horrible angle for a potentially TD-saving tackle.

The Longhorn defense had a difficult time early adjusting to Baylor's formations, which is not uncommon when gameplans and substitutions are determined by opponent's personnel groupings.

Once Coach Chizik figured out what was going on, the Longhorns settled down to open up a comfortable lead.

Concerns:

1. The Longhorns' sluggish start on offense. Perhaps going downfield sooner would open up things. With the threat of Texas wideouts Limas Sweed, Pittman, Quan Cosby, Jordan Shipley and Nate Jones going deep, it would seem Jermichael Finley over the middle would be worth a try. If that happens, Finley needs to bring the ball into his chest faster to make the catch secure; he does just that on the goalline but drops passes in the field which has to be frustrating to his coach Bruce Chambers. Finley can be as big a target as Sweed if he ever settles into his role.

2. There is inconsistency in the Longhorn secondary, at least partially attributable to injuries. Only in the second half versus Oklahoma did Texas fans see Aaron Ross, Michael Griffin, Marcus Griffin and Tarell Brown play like the unit they out to be.

I have to point out the solid snapping of the football by Lyle Sendlein on scrimmage plays and Tully Janszen in the kicking game. Without their efforts, serious problems arise. Dallas Griffin substituted for Sendlein occasionally and has improved.

Will Jamaal Charles ever get the football in the open field?

The twin running back scheme of Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles is working but somehow Charles doesn't get a chance to get outside with blockers in front.

This next game against vs. the Huskers in Lincoln will be difficult. I watched the USC-Nebraska game on TV and the Blackshirt defense is tough up front.

I think Texas will have to come from behind in the fourth quarter for a 28-24 win.

Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.


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