Baylor football just played their fourth game of the season and the first 30 minutes of the match up was so deeply painful that I became a bad fan and had to stop watching. I worked in the athletic department during the hellscapes that were the 2016 collapse and the 2017 1-11 season, but the Bears’ clash against the Horned Frogs was it’s own unique type of misery (aside from most of the second half). Once again I’m not writing a recap (last week I shared the now incorrect news about Trestan Ebner and John Lovett instead of talking about the Texas game) because I (as well as most Baylor fans) had many frustrations about different aspects of the team’s performance that I would rather share instead. Of course my thoughts on Baylor aren’t meant to be hateful as I do believe that the majority of the team and staff is working their asses off during Head Coach Dave Aranda’s first year and a global pandemic. We can’t ignore how difficult a time the team has had managing COVID outbreaks and cancelled games, so my thoughts on Baylor football will so reflect those struggles and tackle the key issues I believe are why the Bears have been going downhill each week.
- Senior Charlie Brewer should not be QB at this point. I love shit talking any athlete (or person if we’re being honest) I dislike, but I hate the discussion surrounding Brewer because the decision should be obvious and we wouldn’t have to argue on Twitter or bad mouth our team’s QB. I’ve admittedly never been the biggest Brewer fan, but his performance the past three games has me out of my mind frustrated. Charlie Brewer is not skilled enough to be the starting QB for Baylor. He’s always been inconsistent and slightly anxiety-inducing, but during the past two years, he sometimes had a stroke of magic during the fourth quarter or when the Bears needed to rally for a comeback. I will never forget how he almost led the team back from major deficits against Oklahoma and West Virginia during the awful 2017 year, but he’s not that Brewer anymore (or at least he doesn’t appear to be). Brewer can’t throw a long pass to save his life (his longest of the season was during the TCU game when he nailed a 39-yarder) and his totals for the first four games are 85 of 141 passing attempts for 830 yards with 8 TDs and 3 interceptions. He’s slow on his feet and in decision making and I’m often screaming at my TV for him to just throw the ball away before he gets sacked. Of course, it’s not only Brewer’s fault (see the point below), but his inability to pass makes him and the entire offense one dimensional. My main scary thoughts on Baylor football mostly revolve around the team losing sophomore QB Gerry Bohanon and redshirt freshman Jacob Zeno—both of whom have shown incredible potential in the shotgun.
- The offensive line is costing any type of momentum and progress. Baylor hasn’t had a “good” group in the front since probably 2014-2015, but rotations on the offensive line particularly due to COVID infections hasn’t helped Brewer and co. at all. The two most glaring issues with the offensive line is their lack of pass protection and getting called for holding on almost every drive. Brewer’s one acceptable excuse is that he isn’t receiving the time he needs to make an accurate or at least pass-the-line-of-scrimmage pass because his line cannot block at all. And he would be right to complain about it. COVID did a number on the players on the line as they didn’t have their full starters until the TCU game (which doesn’t argue for why the team was so awful). However, they are unable to help Brewer look for open receivers or holes to run through and when he or a running back or receiver do make progress, the play is negated by an inevitable holding call on an O-lineman. Until the line improves, we can’t expect much from a decimated offense.
- Offensive playcalling is abysmal and predictable. I was thrilled while watching Baylor play Kansas at the start of the season because I felt like I was watching the exciting offenses of the past. Offensive Coordinator Larry Fedora seemed to pull out most of the stops and the offense was milking each point. Charlie made a few exciting passes, the receivers and running backs were efficient throughout, and we even saw a few Wildcat plays (my absolute favorite thanks to the innovative 2015 season!). After watching three years of systematic Matt Rhule plays, I was excited to see a new type of offense maybe we hadn’t seen in several years. However, it’s almost like Fedora pulled out his extensive playbook for the KANSAS GAME (like why?) and immediately chucked it in the trash and changed the team into a predictable and robotic offense we’ve never seen before. And that’s not a good thing!
- A collection of extremely talented wide receivers is not being used. During preseason I wrote about how junior WR Tyquan Thornton might be the best receiver we’ve seen yet and I’m devastated that we’re not seeing him perform to the best of his potential on the field every week. Tyquan, just like Ebner or junior RJ Sneed or sophomore Gavin Holmes, is such an incredible athlete who can catch every ball (at least the attempted ones) and we could lose him to another school should he feel underutilized going forward. Baylor’s offense shouldn’t and hasn’t taken a hit on the player personnel front, but we almost never see any big catches or huge plays as Brewer doesn’t attempt any throws over a few yards. Until we see Tyquan and the other incredible receivers making plays again, the Bears will continue to struggle on offense.
- Missed field goals and extra points are devastating when the offense can’t score points. Sophomore K John Mayers was another one of the players I felt would be most important this year, and it seems like he did an entire 180 and became shit? Last year, Mayers was 16-of-19 in field goals with a career-long kick of 51 yards and also made 53-of-53 extra points. In short, the boy was a fucking monster in special teams. He was always reliable even in the most dire situations (see Baylor vs. TCU last year at the end of regulation), but something had to have changed to make him where he is today. As of the past four games, Mayers made 3-of-6 field goals with a 47-yard long one and thankfully made 12-of-12 PATS. Because Baylor’s offense has struggled so much, it’s essential that Mayers make every single kick attempt he has, and he simply hasn’t done that. Should he get the kicking strength and skill he had in 2019, our future is a little brighter.