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Baylor Football

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Football

November 20, 2023
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The Bears lost the [Bluebonnet] battle, but it remains to be seen if they'll lose the war [of relevancy]. Whatever the path forward, a shakeup in the ranks is needed, as the losing streak continued in Fort Worth. 

Here's a look at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly for Baylor Football from TCU week. 


THE GOOD 

The Early Going: The defense made two huge stops early on, with Cooper Lanz's forced fumble and Caden Jenkins' recovery on 2nd & goal at the 2. Then, the following sequence, stuffing and ending a 16-play (!!!) drive on 4th & 1 at the 6. Those plays were the highlights amidst a disappointing showing. 

NIL News: Last week, there was a positive jolt of updates regarding the program and some promising changes with their NIL efforts. I'm glad to see this area getting sorted out, as it's clear some adjustments were needed. The whole NIL situation is fluid, to some degree, but paying players is the new era of college sports, period. And you better have your ducks in a row or face the consequences. Such as needing more talent to compete, much less compete for championships. Baylor's place in this type of world remains to be seen, but last week indicated a step forward in the right direction. 

The Decision: After some teases from CB Caden Jenkins about his future, the freshman standout announced his intentions to remain in Waco next season. That's huge for 2024, so long as any potential upcoming changes don't affect his choice. The timing could have been better, seeing as how the Bears were promptly whooped, especially in the secondary, a few hours later. But good news is hard to come by these days, And a Jenkins return certainly qualifies as good news. 

THE BAD 

Shapen Injury: By lunch on Monday, we should have official word on Blake Shapen's injury from Saturday. The description didn't sound promising, as Aranda informed reporters that officials were checking his chest and head areas. Regardless of the diagnosis and impact on the finale, Shapen's been a warrior and true competitor all season. Like any other player, Shapen's play or talent is debatable, but his toughness is indisputable, given his injuries and the hits taken all season long and over his career. It's been a rough year.

Jared Wiley: Regarding the Baylor defense, TE is the position I worry about the most besides QB. Those fears were spot-on Saturday as Temple's own Wiley crushed the Bears D with seven catches for 178 yards and 2 TD. He was practically unstoppable and only briefly derailed by an injury, only to return and get back to work. Midway did a way better job defending the likes of then-QB Wiley and Quentin Johnston years ago. 

Pick Your Poison: Bad field position, missed tackles, drops, blocking, missed assignments, incorrect reads, etc. None of these issues are brand new, but they are the driving forces on the field when it comes to this year's record. The execution category has been a sore spot all year and has seen its fair share of ugly. I understand the mistakes that can come with youth and inexperience, but it's Week 11, and errors are still occurring at an alarming rate. What's going on here? What's the disconnect? 

THE UGLY 

No Punts: TCU had ten drives on the day but never punted once. Six drives ended in touchdowns, two got stopped on downs, one ended with a turnover, and a one-play drive led into halftime when they let time run out after a sack of Josh Hoover. The fumble was at the Baylor 2. The downs ended at the Baylor 6 and Baylor 21. Saturday was an u-g-l-y showing and oh so close to being even worse. Aranda called the missed assignments "inexcusable" and "hard to look at" this late in the year. I'd agree.

Late Downs: Not only could the Bears' defense not get off the field, but the offense couldn't stay on the field. The Frogs were 0-2 on fourth down but a ridiculous 9-11 on third down attempts. Meanwhile, the Bears were 5-14 on third down and 2-6 on fourth down. Awful stuff here and the most significant factor in Saturday's result. 

The Second-Half Duel: TCU's second-half run turned a competitive rivalry game into a full-on blowout. Most felt the Frogs were a tick above the Bears going in, but this didn't feel close or heated at all by the end. The Frogs went TD, TD, TD, TD, and Downs in the second half. At the same time, Baylor responded with TD, Downs, Downs, Downs, and End of Game. 

The Pass Defense: On the bright side, TCU only ran for 100 yards. But why run when you can throw for over 400 yards, and Josh Hoover can have a career day? 

'Bluebonnet Battle’: A generic and uninspired renaming for this rivalry. With all due respect to those involved, they did themselves a disservice by not feeling out the room for this project. The Revivalry was unique and fit the game nicely. Do you still want a change? Fine. But, this feels so low-effort and impersonal given the subject; it's what I imagine the AI spit out. 

TCU Dominance: Regardless of what you call this rivalry, nothing feels or sounds all that great when one side always wins. Dave Aranda is now 0-4 against the Frogs against three different head coaches. And that's not only four straight wins for TCU but also 8 of the last 9, all since 61-58. We're talking about a full-blown decade of losses, which is hard to fathom. 

The Hot Seat: It's an unavoidable and necessary topic, as the Bears have now dropped 12 of their last 15, and Aranda drops to one game under .500 in Waco at 23-24. They're underdogs in this week's finale, too, meaning a 3-9 finish is the likely outcome. It's been a brutal season, and frustration is boiling over. Winding down, I'm fascinated to see how quickly changes occur and what those changes are, but it's clear something has to give, or else this program risks losing ground and never recovering.

Discussion from...

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Football

3,424 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by BUGWBBear
Johnny Bear
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At this point, shouldn't these articles be titled "The Bad, the Ugly, and the Even Crappier from This Week in Baylor Football"??
oorahpa
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Not much positive. NIL.money needs to come as Baylor got caught behind the 8 ball. Without a new a.d. and coaching staff recruiting will keep us at the bottom. No one is interested in Dave Ball. Texas high schools are playing Briles ball. It is exciting and we are as dull as our uniforms. RVO is a disaster as we have no run blockers. We need Texas coaches to recruite.to an exciting offense. Been a Bear for 75 years and this is as bad as I have seen it. Time for big change from the top.


DAC
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Good write up Craig
DAC
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100%
BUGWBBear
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Yet neither Smoak has the balls to address the real problem with the horse's @$$ that's caused it.

So just keep puff-piecing, boys.
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