Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Across The Field: Playing Out the String, or Still Dangerous?

Tim Watkins, publisher of Bears Illustrated on the Network, takes the Baylor emotional temperature and breaks down some offensive and defensive items as we go Across the Field.

Watkins has been covering the Bears throughout this difficult season, and provides good takes and honest assessments of a Baylor team as it heads to WVU for the regular season finale. 

Q: What is the mood of the team heading into the last regular season game and the bowl game? Is there a sense of putting it all together for the seniors, or is it a case of just getting things done with?

Watkins: Honestly, the mood and the mindset of the team have been a mess since the week of the Texas game.  It's not a coincidence that was the beginning of the losing streak.  There are groups of players that are fully committed to winning and playing hard, but not enough of them (along with most of the coaches) are fully committed to this team.  It is a tough deal for a team with much better talent than the results of the past  five games show.

Q: How has the progression of Zach Smith been since he took over the QB position? Could any more have been expected of anyone stepping into a similar situation?

Watkins: He is a tough kid that is doing his job and more.  He played very well against a Texas Tech defense that was going after him.  He took big hits and made he plays. Smith was not the reason why the Bears fell behind big to the Red Raiders, and struggled to move the ball  on six drives.  The team around him has to do more and eliminate the silly pre-snap penalties and take much better care of the football.

Q: What have the major problems been that have contributed to the run defense problems?

Watkins: This was going to be the issue all season, even before the upheaval in May. The Bears lost so much talent and depth on the defensive line, and then lost three key contributors before the season even started. Moving to a 3- man front was necessary, not for a tactical reason, but for survival. The Bears depth and strength was at the linebacker/nickel back position.  However, the size and strength of the defensive ends was always suited for a 4-man front. Tough to run a 3-man front with 260 pound ends and 220 pound linebackers.

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