1. Travis

    Rhule had some really elucidating comments when asked about issues in the secondary during his press conference today,

    “On one touchdown, the whole defense was playing one defense, and three guys are playing something else. The last touchdown, a guy comes out of coverage. And that makes it hard, then, on [defensive coordinator] Phil, because they’re checking and they know what we’re in when we show a blitz, and we’re showing it really early because we’re just young and excited. He wants to go to another defense, but he’s afraid to, because every time we did, half the guys got it and half the guys didn’t.”

    • ianaboyd

      That’s fun. Gets back to the “FCS teams with legit QBs can get you in a shootout” point also.

      Baylor is starting over with new schemes, lots to master.

      • Travis

        Yeah, to my eyes I saw Cover 2, 3, and 7. Liberty’s crucial TD in the 4th Q came on Cover 2 where the safety came up to cover a crossing route instead of staying back and covering a go route.

          • ianaboyd

            Ha! It had served them pretty well. Rhule is going to need time to develop this secondary but I thought they looked pretty bought in and ran to the football well.

            Kinda reminded me of watching the 2016 Iowa State Cyclones where it was like, “these guys don’t get it all yet, and some of them just aren’t very good, but they do look well coached and coordinated.”

          • Travis

            Yeah, that’s why I wasn’t worried after the loss. Early on the most important thing isn’t necessarily the results, but the level of toughness and attitude team was playing with. Worst thing you could see is a dejected team. I didn’t see that.

            True freshman CB Harrison Hand looked like a revelation. Could be a great one. You liked him in your recruiting breakdown.

  2. SpiritusNox

    Like your take on the Baylor loss. Like I said the other day: lots of Baylor fans are losing their damn minds, and this season probably isn’t going to be a ton of fun, but at the same time…I don’t see anything to convince me that this isn’t a fixable problem for this staff. The defense was wretched, but they’re also very young and missing something like 8 guys in the defensive backfield to injuries and suspension even on top of the new scheme. The offense was downright encouraging – not a Briles offense, obviously, but 45 points is significantly less glitchy than I would expect from day one under a brand new, slower offense. Especially when you consider that that side of the ball isn’t wildly deep itself.

    • ianaboyd

      You expect the offense to be solid against an FCS team but it would have been VERY easy for them to struggle in week one because it’s all so new. So the offense is on track, or better, for what reasonable minds would have expected.

      The defense is behind but that’s not too shocking or concerning. There’s no question that was a bad loss and lowered the ceiling for the season but that doesn’t mean the team won’t have moments this year or that Rhule is the wrong guy.

      • SpiritusNox

        Yeah, ’bout where I’m at. I could have seen us push 10 wins if literally every 50/50 question broke in our favor regarding things like injuries and people picking up schemes well and new faces surpassing expectations. Right now they’re mostly breaking against us, so that clearly isn’t on the table, but nothing that broke last Saturday really looked…systemic to me. Rhule’s saying the right things in press appearances too, IMO. Not happy, but no panic.

  3. Will

    Re: The WVU run game, they started to find some room/Justin Crawford started to make guys miss in the middle of the game but then they started basically just throwing the ball after that backbreaking holding penalty/Holgo unsportsmanlike penalty. I also felt like they should have run the ball more late (6.3 ypc for the team, Crawford averaged 8.2) but Tech was daring WVU to throw for most of the game.

    I think WVU matched up athletically with Va. Tech, which is probably a good sign for how they will look against the Big 12. The defense has three relatively underwhelming opponents coming up (ECU, Delaware St., Kansas). It’s a perfect opportunity to get some of the new guys some snaps and build a little depth before a bye week and then the Big 12 gauntlet.

    • ianaboyd

      The problem I saw though was that the Hokies were playing 3 over 3 on the bubble screen, 2 over 1 on the boundary, and then 6 in the box. So the best move is the bubble but then you have to throw it wide to the field and beat good personnel out there.

      Shoulda just run it anyways because strangely the WVU front 5 and RB were probably better than the Hokie front 6.

  4. Cameron

    “Texas and West Virginia are both looking at the problem this year of how to maintain the ability to run the ball when they want to from spread sets that lack either a good blocking TE or a dual-threat QB.”

    The only way I think you do that is to sufficiently threaten the defense with the deep ball, particularly off play-action. If the defense has no problem (a) spinning to single-high or (b) aggressively moving up their safeties in quarters coverage, then the offense is always going to be -1 in the run game without a dual-threat QB or a good TE to create an extra gap. So … you gotta get the defense to play more honest against the deep ball. Or switch personnel. But knowingly getting outnumbered in the run game … not super-productive.

    • ianaboyd

      But I don’t think what VT did, for instance, was particularly vulnerable to the deep ball. The Mountaineers’ wide splits kinda worked against themselves because it allowed a deep safety and overall team pursuit to get involved against the bubble game.

      I do wonder if West Virginia could have just run the ball on numbers and been fine.

      • Philly Frog

        Also, that was one of those games which would have been a lot more interesting in November.

        WV had to replace a ton of production, and they still looked pretty decent the other night. There are some damned good coaching staffs in this conference.

      • Cameron

        From what I remember, VT was playing pretty aggressive with their strong safety. On WVU’s last TD, I remember he was about 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and it screamed “throw it deep”. (Spoiler: WVU did and it worked.)

        Holgorsen will probably get it figured out though.

        • ianaboyd

          Maybe so, I missed that one and noticed more of them playing their FS, whip, and CB wide but then the LBs in the box vs trips.

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