Baylor head man Art Briles is establishing himself as one of the better coaches in college football. He also is proving that he is truly a nice guy.
After an overwhelming first half, he could have turned the ugly into the obscene, an embarrassment into a total humiliation. He could have made a huge statement by setting the college football record for total offense in a single game. But he didn't. Instead he pulled his starters after the first series in the third quarter and allowed West Virginia to do some running around against backups to "only" lose by 31 points.
Baylor indeed has one of the best offenses in college football. They have a great quarterback, superb receivers, and one of the best running backs in the nation. Perhaps they are the next Oregon. Maybe they'll run up and down the field against everyone. Only time will tell.
But 56 points and 617 total yards in just the first half? You have to be kidding. And Mountaineer fans thought the 37-0 loss to Maryland was a low point.
West Virginia played essentially a prevent defense, dropping 7 or 8 into coverage, with safeties playing 20 yards off the line of scrimmage. The idea was to keep the prolific Baylor skill players in front and prevent the big play. Maybe a good theory on paper. But after 28 points and 367 yards in the first quarter, one wonders if perhaps a less passive approach might be considered. When the Bears chose to run the ball once past the line of scrimmage there was no run support as the secondary and linebackers were backpedaling downfield. It probably wouldn't have made much difference, but it would have been nice to at least see us try a Plan B for a while.
When they had the football, the Mountaineers strategy was I can only describe as the "panic offense." Let's just throw the ball downfield 40 yards every play and hope something happens. A few times it worked. Most of the time it didn't, resulting in immediately putting the overmatched WVU defense back on the field.
Quarterback Clint Trickett was playing in severe pain and I admire his fortitude and competiveness. On the sidelines he was picking up the telephone with his left hand because he couldn't lift his right. Yet he was out there trying his best to lead his team. My question is why was he sent back out there in a game when we were six touchdowns behind? What was the point in that?
Even with calling off the dogs, the Bears set a school record for total offense (864 yards), piled up 468 yards rushing, and converted 11 of 15 on 3rd down. They scored 73 points while turning over the ball 4 times. It is scary how much worse this could have been.
The only positive aspect of this game I could find was when it was over. At least we don't have to play Baylor again this season. Bring on anybody else. Please.
The Mountaineers have a much needed week off before returning home against Texas Tech on October 19. Next Saturday would be a good time for WVU fans to forget about football for a while and have a midseason barbecue.