Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Baylor offense looking to get back on track
By Jake Trotter
Baylor still leads the nation with 635.1 yards and 55.4 points per game going into its regular season finale against Texas. But "America's Top Offense" hasn't looked much looked like itself recently.
In fact, since exploding for six touchdowns in just over 23 minutes in a 63-34 rout of Texas Tech last month, the Bears almost seem to be running on fumes.
With Lache Seastrunk almost fully healthy, Baylor will have most of its offensive weapons back against Texas.
Over their last two games, the Bears have mustered just five offensive touchdowns combined, with one coming after TCU fumbled on its own 1-yard line.
At Oklahoma State, Baylor trailed 35-3 in the fourth quarter before finishing with a season-low 17 points.
At TCU, the Bears mustered a season-low 370 yards of offense while Spencer Roth punted a season-high eight times, as Baylor survived only after two defensive touchdowns and the fumble at the TCU 1.
"I feel like we may be looking around for too much and trying to see too many things,” said Baylor guard Cyril Richardson. “We just need to go out there and play. We need to go back to hard-nosed football, and that's basically it."
That will be easier with running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin back in the lineup.
Neither was available for the 32-point loss at Stillwater. And at TCU, both were easing their way back in after injuries.
“Those guys are warriors,” said coach Art Briles. “I don’t think either guy was 100 percent. They’ll both be a lot closer to 100 percent his week. But from a confidence standpoint, it made a big difference.”
Even at less than 100 percent, Seastrunk dashed his way to 94 yards on 24 carries. Martin was the closer, pounding out 69 yards on 17 carries, most coming in the fourth quarter when Baylor was attempting to move the chains and grind out the clock.
"I think it showed those guys provide a spark that not a lot of guys can,” said quarterback Bryce Petty. “Lache is that spark. Lache is that guy that can take a carry that shouldn't get anything and make yards out of it, which you've got to love. Glasco's the veteran guy. He's been there. He's done that. He's that thunder part of it so it's always fun to have him as far as closing out games. The guy that can make those tough yards for you so it's always fun watching him play."
Baylor, however, will continue to be without two key players to its passing game, left tackle Spencer Drango (back) and wideout Tevin Reese (wrist).
Through the first nine games with Drango protecting Petty’s blindside, the Bears gave up just 13 sacks. The last two games, they have given up five.
The loss of Reese and his downfield speed has been even more critical. One of the most lethal deep threats in college football, Reese was averaging 25 yards per catch, and 54 yards on his eight touchdown catches.
The Bears didn’t miss him at Tech. But they missed him dearly against Oklahoma State and TCU.
With TCU All-American cornerback Jason Verrett locking up leading receiver Antwan Goodley, Baylor’s patented vertical passing attack was almost non-existent. The Bears, which still lead the country in pass plays over 30 yards, had only one such completion against the Horned Frogs, while Goodley finished with just one reception for 12 yards.
“We’ve had to change a little bit to the personnel we’ve had or haven’t had on the field the last couple weeks,” Briles said.
The good news for the Bears is they’ll finally be back at Floyd Casey, for the stadium’s swan song. And even with the injuries, America’s Top Offense still has the personnel to put up big points.
“We didn’t have a lot going on offense,” Seastrunk said. “Missing key players hurts a lot.
“But we’ve got to get back to doing what Baylor does.”