Why Aren't We Baylor?

baddogmaine's picture
September 30, 2012 at 1:36p

Holy cow did you see the Baylor - WV game? The Bears scored 63 points. Amazingly that is less than 10 over their season average - they've been lighting up the scoreboard all year. That might not have surprised us last year when RG3 was runing the show, but this year they're scoring 54 a game with a guy who had thrown a grand total of 15 passes before this year. Nick Florence replaces Griffin and the team doesn't miss a beat. And none of the receivers and running backs generating the yardage are likely to be first round picks, this year or any year. Whoever is there makes it happen.

When teams score seemingly at will the offense is frequently mocked for being a "system." Usually this is directed at the QB, as in his numbers are inflated because of the "system" he's a part of. I've never understood this point. As the ads say most NCAA athletes are going to go pro in something other than athletics, and this is true of qurterbacks as well as third-team interior linemen. In order to average 54 pooints a game an unheralded Nick Florence and his team-mates still need to know what they are doing, still need to be able to execute, and the offensive game plan needs to be such that the other guys don't know what they are doing. "System" is another word for a well-oiled machine designed to destroy opposing defenses.

Let's be honest - didn't most of us expect that offensive wizard Urban Meyer was going to turn us into something like Baylor? It can be said that Bayler has not exactly faced a murderer's row of defenses. I agree with Reese Davis that the Baylor - WV game was painful to watch for real football fans because both defenses were there more in spirit than body. But Ohio State has also faced teams not known for smothering their foes and we struggled to score 28 against UAB. Baylor had 35 against WV at half-time. I get it that Miller was being kept on a short leash against UAB and maybe Cal as well, but the point is that an offense firing on all cylinders should still be able to move the ball even if one weapon is taken away. We have capable receivers, don't we? guys who can run routes and catch passes? we have capable offensive linemen who can pass protect and run block, don't we? We have running backs who can hit holes and break the ocassional tackle and drag defenders an extra yard or too? Our roster matches up with Baylor's, doesn't it? Our coaching staff is as good, isn't it? And if Baylor is enjoying the advantage recruiting in the State of Texas suerely we recruit as well as Nevada (fifth in offense in the NCAA with a schedule that included CAL and USF) and Marshall (sixth in the NCAA, against Purdue and Ohio U).

I don't know how to construct an offense, but I recognize when one is less than a well-oiled machine. We have had injuries at tailback but otherwise have had the offensive players we had been counting on. It was reasonable to expect that we might struggle somewhat against a defense as strong as Sparty's, but at 54th out of 120 in total offense we have been struggling statistically against everyone. And yes we are scoring better than we are accumulating yardage, but at 43rd nationally in scoring we're not doing that all that well either. Are we playing down to our opponents? are we building to a future when the machine clicks and bodies fly?

I was impressed with our final drive against MSU. That running to run out the final 4:10 was a thing of beauty. Games can be won playing that way. But the drive right before that last one, with the game still very much in doubt and time needing to be consumed, chewed up only 1:28. On the day we had only three drives that lasted more than three minutes. You don't need long drives if you score quickly, but we scored only three times, and one of those was a FG.  We are neither a quick strike nor a clock-killing team. We are a tremendously dynamic quarterback who can win games by himself - until he gets knocked out. He went down twice against MSU. Guiton was able to hand off enough to complete the first drive, Miller had MSU's possession to recover the second time, but if we continue to be almost totally dependent on Miller's running it is just a matter of time before he gets knocked down and doesn't get up right away. It doesn't matter if a future foes's defense is as "good" as the Spartans' - whoever we play can hit hard enough to hurt Miller. Is Guiton going to be Nick Florence to Miller's Grififin?

I'm not going to argue with 5-0. We were expected to be 4-0 before Saturday but several teams have  lost games they should have won and we didn't. That's a good thing, though it is only one win in pre-conference and four points in the conference opener better than last year's underwhelming team. This team is not last year's. But neither is it the offense many expected when Meyer came on board. I don't know why it isn't. But having watched Baylor score at will on Saturday I'd  like to know why we seem to have trouble scoring at all. Maybe it is fundemantally unsound to score 54 points a game. But I thought we would be doing better with Meyer in charge, and I still do.

What do you think?

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