Overview- The Baylor Bears are 6-6 in the third year of their rebuild following the historic and unprecedented sexual assault scandal that saw the University President, AD, and Football staff resign or removed. It is not fair to cast aspirations on a wide range of people, and a long shadow on a program three years removed, but the point is this football team is very different than the one that was lead by Art Briles from 2008-2015. It isn’t the Baylor you remember, and their play is a direct result of the fallout following that scandal.
The Bears are led by Matt Rhule, a graduate of the Temple University Head Coaching Internships (See: Bruce Arians, Steve Adazio, Al Golden, and Manny Diaz). They are 36th in total offense with 5,300 yards, 441.7 yards per game, 5.84 yards per play. They scored 41 TD’s on offense and average 48 points per game, but it dropped to 24 ppg in conference.
In the S&P+ they rank 57th ahead of teams the Commodores have played like Nevada, MTSU, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
Unlike Briles’ team these Bears are balanced statistically with 451 passing attempts to 456 rushing attempts, but the run is used in specific situations, primarily first down with more than six yards to gain. On the season they have over 2600 passing yards to 1900 rushing yards. Their goal is control the game (ranking 20th in time of possession) with the run and score with the pass.
They are lead by Charlie Brewer, a 6’1” 200lbs Sophomore from Austin, Texas. He has a strong arm and is fairly accurate eclipsing the 60% completion mark, but has been plagued by WR drops (which is not factored into the completion percentage).
Brewer has 2,635 yards with 17 TD’s to 8 INTs. The Bears will sling it from anywhere on the field, in any quarter (56, 49, 49, 65 in each quarter respectively), and the only uptick in attempts is when they fall behind, which is the natural trend.
Brewer is pestered by a porous offensive line which has allowed 30 sacks (not good!), but Brewer has compensated with his legs. He is a scrambler and has six rushing TD’s on the year.
Baylor’s leading receiving and top target for Brewer is a 6’4” 215lbs Senior you may be familiar with- Jalen Hurd. After transferring from Tennessee, Hurd has found his home in the Baylor offense. Though he isn’t a home run threat to take the top off a defense, he is a big WR who has caught 69 passes this year for 946 yards. His big body is a target allowing him to average just under 14 yards per catch against ranked, conference, and non-conference foes alike. He also is the primary target on first and second down, catch 56 of his 69 passes between those two downs. Hurd has four receiving touchdowns on the year as well as three rushing.
The primary back for Baylor is John Lovett. He 6’0” 200lbs and can run away from defenses. He has 100 carries on the year and is average 5.5 ypc with five touchdowns. Almost all of his rushing attempts (51 of 53) come on first and second down with over six yards to gain. He runs more in the second half than the first 60 attempts to 40, and he runs from any place between the 20’s with 74 attempts.
Baylor has suffered losses as a program that are requisite with major transition- admin, coaches, and athletes. They are building back to a program that showcases the kind of talent Texas is known for, QB’s with big arms and speedy WR’s. They aren’t there yet, and until they will make due with a OL that is coming together but is average and a methodical offense that can score with key position players.