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Monday, March 21, 2011
Baylor defense still a 'work in progress'

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Baylor's defense still needed plenty of work when I stopped by Waco for a visit last week, and that continued in Saturday's scrimmage.

The Bears defense gave up scoring plays of 75, 75, 71, 62, 61 and 33 yards in the scrimmage.

"It just so happened that today was our day, collectively, as an offense," quarterback Robert Griffin III said in a release. "We were dominating today [more] than we have been all spring. Definitely on Thursday, the defense was giving [it] to us.

"It was pretty exciting today, to see all the big plays, but we know you've got to keep coming back and getting better. We're not going to take this day and go, 'All right, we're done for the rest of the spring.' But it was definitely good to go out there and have a good day."

Baylor's three quarterbacks combined to complete 55-of-67 passes (82.1 percent) for 933 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception.

Those aren't encouraging numbers for the defense, but new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett says improvement isn't immediate, but it isn't far off, either.

"It's not as bad as it looked. All things are correctable," he said. "You look at the missed tackles, and we had some guys in position. I do like their want-to, I like their ability, they can get it done. Today, we didn't play as well or as consistent as I think we're capable of, or as we did on Thursday."

One bright spot for the defense was safety Ahmad Dixon leading all tacklers with 10 stops. He was making plays during my visit, and it looks like that's carried over to the scrimmage. It's not a great sign for a defense as a whole to have a safety as your leading tackler, but the Bears need Dixon to step up and make good on the potential that made him one of the program's highest-rated recruits ever. Early on, with a starting safety spot up for grabs, it looks like he's obliging.