Wow! What a change from last season! What happened? How were we able to stop Baylor’s feared passing attack?
Pass Defense Breakdown
1. The emergence of Will Johnson is a literal game-changer! I planned to write about how this was going to be a complete game changer for the Baylor game weeks ago after Will’s first game but didn’t get around to it. If you’ve followed the breakdowns the last couple years then you probably figured it out for yourselves as well. With Will Johnson at nickel, Parker could play one of the safety positions and now what was a weakness now becomes a strength.
With Will, we have 4 db’s on the field that can cover really well and we don’t have the liability of Hatari Byrd in coverage against the team that makes a living taking advantage of safeties covering their slot receivers.
2. Just like I’ve been clamoring for a couple years now, we finally lined up our corners inside of the wideouts to take away the slants and trap the receivers on the sidelines. They love to put their wideouts ridiculously close to the sideline and there’s a reason teams haven’t been doing that all these years, it allows corners to trap the receivers and squeeze them into the sideline forcing a perfect pass.
Jordan Thomas also did a great job forcing Coleman into the sideline. As soon as he started going deep JT sprinted outside as quick as he could, not allowing him to get outside of him without running right into the sideline. That left him vulnerable to a deeper in route, but since they don’t really run that (yet) there wasn’t much to worry about.
Baylor is pretty simple on offense and they don’t have a ton of options, but what they do have is crafted to have an answer for just about anything the defense does. If we can take advantage of this, that will allow us to be much more effective at stopping their high-powered offense.
3. Despite many fans saying we needed to run all out blitzes to stop Baylor (which isn’t true at all), Stoops rarely rushed more than 3 or 4, leaving 7 or 8 in coverage. That was key!
This meant Striker was in coverage much more than he was blitzing, something that would likely have made fans furious had it not worked. But it did.
Having all those LBers lined up off the line of scrimmage allowed them to drop back into zones, and their speed played a big part of that as well. This allowed the corners and safeties to play deeper, although there were plenty of times when db’s played tight coverage at the line.
If your db’s can keep up with the receivers deep without having to play really deep then Baylor’s offense becomes mortal. They lose a huge key to their power.
4. Mike did an excellent job mixing up and disguising his coverages! We played different types of zone and different types of man coverage keeping Briles and their true freshman QB off-balance and unsure who was going to be open.
5. The back 8 did an excellent job in zone coverage. What a huge change from last season! They were very well coached, knowing what Baylor likes to do and exactly where they needed to be to stop the route combinations they like to run! There isn’t much room for error, and we were very precise!
6. Jarret Stidham is not the best at reading coverage and his lack of experience really showed through in this game. He stared down receivers, although that’s kind of the way their offense is run. The backside receivers don’t even run their routes if the QB initially looks the other way, they are taught to save their legs. Because of that, a free safety can just play half the field and majorly cheat to whichever side the QB turns to.
That said, he still had a bad habit of reading one receiver and if he wasn’t open, start scrambling. There’s a lot of similarities to Baker’s limitations the first half of the season. There were even a couple times where he left the pocket despite no reason to.
7. We always seemed to know when they were going to pass or run, but I’ll go into MUCH more detail about that in the running defense breakdown.
Be Notified When the New Breakdowns Come Out!