Iowa State (1-3) @ Texas Tech (5-0)
The biggest question mark heading into Saturday's game between Iowa State and Texas Tech is who will play quarterback for the Red Raiders. Freshman Baker Mayfield injured his knee against the Jayhawks although it was announced earlier this week there was no structural damage which was good news for Tech.
That doesn't mean, however, that he'll be healthy enough to play Saturday. If Mayfield doesn't go, the likely starter will be freshman Davis Webb who has already seen a fair amount of playing time this season. Sophomore Michael Brewer is also working his way back from injury and saw his first action of the season in mop up duty against KU making him a possible option for Kliff Kingsbury, as well.
On the other sideline, Iowa State is will try to regroup following the heartbreaking loss to Texas. Even as tough as the loss was to stomach for ISU, the Cyclones should have plenty of confidence heading to Lubbock, despite their 1-3 record.
The most glaring aspect that stands out when looking at ISU is how much better they've gotten since the season opener. Every week has been better than the last even if they only have one win to show for it.
The emergence of running back Aaron Wimberly is the biggest reason for the Cyclones improved play. He rushed for 137 yards on 19 carries against Tulsa and followed that up a 29 carry effort against Texas pounding out 117 yards against the Longhorns.
Quarterback Sam Richardson has also improved in recent weeks as his ankle sprain continues to get better and the offensive line has started to gel with the return of center Tom Farniok to the lineup.
Iowa State's defense has been sound although both Tulsa and Texas had success through the air. They'll face a Texas Tech offense that loves to throw it no matter the quarterback which shouldn't come as a big surprise given Kingsbury is calling the plays.
Tech has put the ball in the air roughly 73% of the time this year and are last in the Big 12 in rushing as a result not only in yards per game (112) but also in yards per carry (3.4). Expect the ball to be in the air plenty against Iowa State whether it be Mayfield, Webb, or Brewer doing the throwing.
Key Matchup of the game:
Texas Tech's run defense vs. Aaron Wimberly
There's no question what Iowa State wants to do when they have the football; feed Wimberly. The Red Raiders run defense leads the Big 12 in rush defense allowing just 107.2 yards per game. In their two Big 12 games to date, they held a good Kansas rushing attack to just 51 yards although TCU, behind quarterback Trevone Boykin, managed to gain 207 yards on 44 carries in their 20-10 loss.
If Texas Tech is able to keep Wimberly - and to a lesser extent quarterback Sam Richardson - in check they stand a better than good chance of moving to 6-0 on the season.
Iowa State's passing offense hasn't been bad but take away the ground game as Iowa did earlier in the season, and ISU's offense becomes much easier to defend. (It's worth noting that ISU's 59 yards rushing against Iowa came before Wimberly entered the lineup full time. In fact, it's one reason he got his chance the following week).
Player to watch:
Texas Tech tight end, Jace Amaro.
Amaro will be a nightmarish matchup for the Cyclone defense as he will be for most of the teams in the Big 12. After catching just three passes in the season opener against SMU, Amaro has at least eight receptions in the four games since.
The Cyclone defense will obviously have to give Amaro a lot of attention and even if they are able to keep the ball out of his hands, that figures to open things up on the outside for Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant who happen to solid in their own right.
Iowa State figures to come out playing with plenty of emotion following last week's set back against Texas, but can they sustain that emotion for four quarters on the road?
Texas Tech is a team on a roll which is a tribute to the job Kingsbury and his staff has done to date given the uncertainty at quarterback entering the season. The defense is also playing much better although they haven't exactly been tested by a high powered offesne this season. Those tests are yet to come.
As for that defense, Iowa State will have some success moving the ball in Lubbock, just not enough of it. The Red Raider defense will hold Iowa State to three scores which will be more than enough. Eric Ward will top 100 yards for the second straight week and Amaro will hit double digits in receptions. Texas Tech 34 Iowa State 21.
Oklahoma and Baylor look like the cream of the crop in the Big 12 as we near the half way point in the season. Texas Tech continues to hang around, as well, but after that it's a hodgepodge of teams trying to figure out which direction they're headed.
With the State Fair of Texas currently underway, here's how things stand in the Big 12 with six weeks of the season in the books.
1. (-) Oklahoma (5-0): The Sooners picked up another win this time against a feisty TCU squad that gave OU all it could handle. Now Oklahoma can turn the focus solely to Texas who've they beaten by a combined 80 points the past two seasons. Are the Sooners national title contenders at 5-0? Absolutely, especially with a defense playing its best football in the last several years. Up next: vs. Texas (in Dallas)
2. (-) Baylor (4-0): It was more of the same for the Bears who absolutely pounded West Virginia into the mat Saturday night. Baylor has every right to claim the top spot in the power rankings but given the fact OU has already beaten Notre Dame and TCU, Baylor stays at number two, for now. Up next: @ Kansas State.
3. (-) Texas Tech (5-0): The Red Raiders just keep on chugging along this time derailing a struggling Kansas squad. How good is this team? We still don't know yet, but they could be bowl eligible this week with another win. They obviously have their sights set much higher than just bowl eligibility, but that's nothing to sneeze at considering we're not even to the half way point in the season. Up next: Iowa State.
4. (-) Oklahoma State (3-2): The Cowboys struggled to an extent for the second straight week. This time, however, they found a way to come away with a win. The Cowboys remain a team difficult to figure out. They may not be as good as some thought coming into the season, but they're still a team capable of beating anyone on their schedule. They'll have an extra week to think about which direction they're going to go. Up next: bye.
5. (↑1) Texas (3-2): Texas nearly saw their Big 12 title hopes go up in a puff of smoke Thursday night in Ames. They lived see to another day, however. That's the good news. The bad news? They get to play Oklahoma next. The Longhorns defense has been better since Greg Robinson took over but it'll need to be even better if they hope to slow down the Sooners ground attack; that is if they want to keep talking about those Big 12 title hopes. Up next: Oklahoma (in Dallas).
6. (↓1) TCU (2-3): Nobody in Fort Worth wants to hear this but TCU is likely the best 2-3 team in the country. The offense continues to be a work in progress without Casey Pachall, but the defense is starting to round into shape. There is still plenty of time to get the season turned around starting this weekend with the best medicine the Big 12 has to offer; a game with Kansas. Up next: Kansas.
7. (-) Kansas State (2-3): The Wildcats have to be wondering what-if after letting victory slip through their hands against Oklahoma State. The game of musical chairs continues at the quarterback position although you have to wonder if Daniel Sams didn't do enough against the Pokes to claim the job on a full-time basis. The offense will need to be clicking like never before if KSU hopes to keep up this week. Up next: Baylor.
8. (-) West Virginia (3-3): After watching West Virginia get steam rolled by Baylor, some may think the Mountaineers looked like the worst team in the Big 12. They're not. They just caught a very good team at the wrong time. Looking forward, the schedule gets a bit easier giving West Virginia hope the rest of the way. A week-off comes at just the right time to heel their wounds. Up next: bye.
9. (↑1) Iowa State (1-3): The Cyclones will rebound put that doesn't make the loss any easier to stomach for the people in Ames. The schedule is brutal in the coming weeks, but Iowa State has plenty of reasons to be confident following their performance against Texas. Up next: @ Texas Tech.
10. (↓1) Kansas (2-2): After jumping to an early 10-0 lead against Texas Tech, everything fell apart and then some. Kansas may have taken a step forward winning two nonconference games, but they took two steps back on Saturday. It goes without saying, but they'll need to play much better if they have any hope of ending their Big 12 losing streak which hit 22 games. Up next: @ TCU.
We've heard all the hype surrounding Baylor's high octane offense and for good reason. The Bears have scored 70+ points in three straight games and it's now looking more and more like Wofford actually slowed them down in the season opener when they held Baylor to just 69 points and 38 in the first half.
Baylor leads the country averaging 779.5 yards per game. They've done it by air leading the country at 423.3 yards passing per game and on the ground averaging 347.3 yards, good for only second in the nation.
With an offense putting up those type of numbers, one way for opposing coaches to cope is by having a sense of humor about it all. Maybe that's what helps them sleep at night when the Bears are next up on their schedule
This week that task falls to Bill Snyder's Kansas State team who will have the challenge of trying to keep the Bears from lighting up the scoreboard.
What's the biggest challenge is facing Baylor? "Well, keeping them from scoring less than 100 points, I guess," Snyder said during Monday's Big 12 teleconference. "They're a very prolific offense. You have to keep some points off the board if you want to have any chance whatsoever."
So how do you go about doing that exactly? The Bears have put up at least 38 points by halftime in each of their first four games including 56, 49, and 56 in the past three before taking the foot off the gas in the second half. "We're going to take the first snap and run into the locker room and stay there until halftime," Snyder joked.
On a more serious note, Snyder talked about having to have all facets of the game come together.
"You just have to go out and play and play hard with discipline and responsibility. And it has to be a three-pronged game. It's obvious you have to play well on defense and not give up the big plays. Offensively you've got to be able to not get caught in three and out situations which is what happened to us last year on numerous situations early in the ball game. And your kicking game has got to help you and create some field position for you, as well."
In theory, that's exactly the plan but executing it is obviously easier said than done. Snyder was hard pressed to think of an offense during his time as a coach that was putting up these type of numbers.
"I don't know that there has been. I'd have to take time to look in a record book and I don't want to because it would probably frighten me. I don't recall anybody being as productive in terms of numbers with their offense as Baylor is right now."
For those wondering, Baylor opened up as a 17.5 favorite over Kansas State. Considering nobody has come closer than 31 points thus far, it appears the odds-makers feel as if the Wildcats will give them their toughest challenge to date. That may be in large part because of KSU themselves but also because this will be Baylor's first road game of the season.
Is that enough to keep the down? We will find out but one thing the Wildcats should be hoping for is some strong Kansas wind on Saturday and a lot of it. Maybe that will help keep the Bears scoreboard in check because KSU's defense will likely need all the help they can get on Saturday.
Don't judge Baylor's victory over West Virginia on Saturday night by the final score which happened to be 73-42, a 31 point victory. Why? Because it wasn't nearly that close.
As with Baylor's first three games, all you can really judge in Saturday night's game is the first half because by the time the team's headed for the locker room, the game was over. The final two quarters were akin to somebody's spring game.
The Bears led West Virginia 56-14 at the break and had it not been for a muffed punt that the Mountaineers recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, it would have been 56-7. The Bears racked up an astonishing 617 yards before half and finished with a Big 12 record 872 yards went it was all over.
Like Buffalo, Wofford, and UL-Monroe before it, West Virginia didn't have a chance.
And the scary part is, we don't know yet exactly how good this team can be.
"I still think the identity hasn't been written. It's too early," Art Briles said of his team following the game. "We've played four games since August 31, and it's October 5th. You're not going to date somebody three times and ask them to marry you. You're going to hang around a while and get to know them and see if it's a match. I think we've got to see where we're at before we judge ourselves."
With each passing week, however, Baylor is looking more and more like a team that can be serious contenders for not only the Big 12 title, but maybe even more. That might be jumping the gun a bit, but given what we've seen to date, they're going to be a matchup nightmare for any team they line up against.
They have a scheme offensively that matches perfectly with the talent on their roster. They have a quarterback with a canon for an arm, wide receivers that run like the wind, and quite possibly the best running back in the country. And to top it off, they have an offensive line they will take a backseat to no one.
"I would recommend giving Baylor some credit, "Dana Holgorsen said Saturday night. "I've never seen a team establish the line of scrimmage like they did. We've been pretty proud about how we've been playing defense around here for the last five games and you can't play defense when the line of scrimmage is five yards backwards every single time they ran the ball."
About the only fault one could find in Baylor's performance against West Virginia was the special teams gaffe on the fumbled punt, and a few too many dropped passes that at times got Baylor out of their offensive rhythm if only for a millisecond.
Outside of that, it was more of the same; pure domination.
Up next for the Bears is a trip to Manhattan to take on a Kansas State team that has dropped back to back games to Texas and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats have been respectable on defense but you have to wonder if K-State has the speed on defense to keep up with what Baylor brings to the table.
About the only danger comes in the fact that it was be the first game for Baylor away from home. Maybe that in itself will cause Baylor's offense some issues because through four games, there hasn't been a defense that stood a chance of keeping them out of the end zone.
After that, it's onto Iowa State and Kansas both of whom would figure to be severely overmatched before the Bears meet up with Oklahoma in what is shaping up to be the game of the year in the Big 12.
Until then, expect more of the same; points and a lot of them.
There were plenty of highlights for Baylor but maybe none better than this touchdown catch by Tevin Reese.
Kansas State dropped their second straight Big 12 game on Saturday falling to Oklahoma State, 33-29.
It was a game full of would of - should of - and could of's for the Wildcats, but at the end of four quarters, it was still a loss nonetheless.
It was also a game that was very un-Kansas State like. There were 12 penalties - the most for Kansas State in single game since 2005 - to go along with five turnovers.
"In our history, we just have not been that kind of a football team. I mean, we haven't always been extremely good, but we haven't always turned the ball over and we haven't always been penalized. We had a chance to win with it, like you said, but it sure makes it a heck of a lot harder, " Bill Snyder said following the loss.
Yes it does.
It was also a game in which we saw quarterback Daniel Sams get his most extensive action of the season. Do the two go hand-in-hand, that is the increase in penalties and turnovers to Sams getting more time on the field?
Maybe to an extent, but certainly all of Kansas State's miscues can't be placed solely at his feet. It may, however, be an indication of why we haven't seen him play more to date.
Without him on the field Saturday, it's not a reach to say Kansas State might not have even been in position to win the game. He generated some big plays on the ground, and by and large outside of the three interceptions, he threw the ball relatively well even without his top two receivers for much of the game.
He completed 14 of his 21 pass attempts for 170 yards and racked up another 118 yards on the ground on 27 carries. His 228 yards of offense accounted for 68% of the Wildcats 336 total yards.
Would Jake Waters have performed better if he had gotten more playing time? Will never know, but in this particular game against this particular defense, Snyder likely made the right call in riding Sams all he could.
As good as Sams can be at times and as much as his athletic ability will allow him to make plays Waters could never make, you're going to have to learn to live with a few head-scratching throws. Is that something Snyder can deal with? We will find out next Saturday when Baylor brings their high wire act to town.
"Well, the good things we all saw, and the bad things we all saw it. It was just exactly like we saw it. We started him (Sams) because we were trying to do some things that we knew he could do and get him invested collectively in the ballgame," Snyder said.
Whatever the case, Snyder needs to make a decision on who is guy is and go with it. Sams proved on Saturday he's a guy that can make plays and K-State is probably a more difficult team to defend when he's in the game.
As for the errant passes and poor decisions he'll make at times? Well, Snyder can certainly help his cause by designing a game plan around the plays Sams is most comfortable running. Not to mention, the more he plays, you would hope to see improvement in those areas, as well. Let's not forget, this is a guy that hasn't exactly received a ton of playing time during his short career. It wouldn't be fair to expect him to go out there and play mistake free football.
This coming week will be interesting to where Snyder lands. Sams figures, at the moment at least, to be his high risk, high reward option. Snyder doesn't strike me to be the gambling type, but with three losses already on the season, rolling the dice with Sams exclusively may be his best bet.
Texas Tech continued to impress in their 54-16 victory over the Jayhawks.
Kansas, on the other hand, did not. After jumping to a 10-0 lead, they witnessed Texas Tech rack up 54 straight points without an answer.
The problems started in the second quarter when KU's offense all but stalled with three straight series of three-and-outs. Then came the biggest mistake of them all. With the score now tied at 10, Kansas decided to fake a punt on their own 16 yard line. It didn't end well.
According to Charlie Weis following the game, the punter had the green light to run the fake if he saw a certain look, but it didn't sound as if he made the right decision. Weis said his punter, Trevor Pardula, got caught in limbo in what was a bit of a grey area. Whatever the case, it was a huge momentum shift that saw Texas Tech score just two plays later to take a 17-10 lead and Kansas never recovered.
After a scoreless first quarter, it was a great day for the Red Raiders offense that finished the day with 525 total yards (121 rushing, 404 passing). They ran 100 total plays and quarterback Baker Mayfield bounced back after a couple shaky performances finishing 33 of 51 for 368 yards before leaving in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury.
Texas Tech now heads back to Lubbock to take on Iowa State who will no doubt be fired up following their controversial loss to Texas on Thursday night. They're already 2-0 in Big 12 play and will likely be favored in each of their next two games. If they take care of business, they stand a better than average chance of heading to Norman on October 26th with a perfect 7-0 record intact.
For now, however, they'll anxiously wait to find out the extent of Mayfield's knee injury. If Mayfield is out for any extended period of time, Davis Webb figures to take over the starting job, although sophomore Michael Brewer may be getting closer to returning after missing the first five games of the season with a back injury.
As for Kansas, the Jayhawks will once again have to pick up the pieces following a miserable performance. They had all kinds of issues on the offensive line causing their running game to sputter despite rotating quarterback, Jake Heaps and Michael Cummings, in hopes of helping out.
Darrian Miller finished with 58 yards and James Sims just 29 yards on the ground. That was Sims' lowest output since his sophomore season in 2011.
If the Jayhawks are looking to pick themselves back up after this loss, it might be a good idea to not look at the upcoming schedule. Over the next five weeks, Kansas takes on TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma State.
Is there an upset in there somewhere? Not if the way they played on Saturday is any indication of what's to come. It was ugly and became painfully obvious, yet again, that there's a lot of work yet to be done in Lawrence.
We've all seen the play by now. Texas running back Johnathan Gray plows into the line and goes down except he's missing one thing; the football. Iowa State linebacker, Jeremiah George, happened to have it running the other way. The officials ruled Gray was down by contact and after a review, the booth apparently failed to see enough evidence to overturn the call.
Well, the Big 12's supervisor of officials, Walt Anderson, spoke on the play today. Here's part of the statement from the Big 12.
He correctly determined there was no indisputable video evidence to confirm that either the ruling on the field was correct, or that the ball was loose prior to the runner being down. By rule when there is not indisputable video evidence to confirm or change the call on the field, the ruling stands.
On this play, the covering official ruled the runner was down and still had control of the ball. There is no question the runner ends up on the ground, and there is no question that eventually an Iowa State player ends up with the ball. However, after reviewing the video evidence it is impossible to tell with certainty when the runner loses control of the ball and at that point was he down or not.
The conference would acknowledge in this unique situation if a mistake were made, but we do not have the video evidence to prove that one occurred.
So what do you think?
Anderson is probably right in one sense. From the views I've seen, there is no clear picture that actually shows the football going into Jeremiah George's arms. That shouldn't mean, however, that there is not indisputable evidence to overturn the call.
It doesn't take a gigantic leap of faith to draw some conclusions here. There is one view that shows Gray's rear end still in the air and George starting to run the other way. We all know he had the ball so isn't it logical to assume it was a fumble even if we don't actually see the ball changing hands?
And therein lies the problem, replay sometimes has its limitations. Add to that the fact replay officials aren't exactly into making assumptions no matter how obvious it may seem and you get the result we saw on Thursday night. Is it a 100% certainty that it was a fumble? Some may argue it is - I would. It was a fumble. In reality, however, it's probably around a 99.8% chance it was a fumble leaving open the possibility someone could see if differently.
As it turns out, it's a tough pill for Iowa State to swallow. It won't show up in the records, but the Cyclones can at least take solace in the fact that they were the better team on the football field Thursday night. It doesn't take any one replay to see that. We all saw that over four quarters of football.
Texas (2-2) at Iowa State (1-2)
The Cyclones finally had something go right for them last Thursday night against Tulsa after opening the season with two straight losses to Northern Iowa and Iowa. It wasn't exactly the way Paul Rhoads' team hoped to start the season, but the win over Tulsa should give Iowa State confidence heading into the Big 12 schedule that will see ISU play nine straight weekends after already having two early season bye weeks.
The Cyclone offense finally showed some signs of life against the Golden Hurricanes. One game after rushing for just 59 yards against Iowa, ISU gave running back Aaron Wimberly his opportunity and he took full advantage gaining 137 yards on 19 carries. Wimberly had just 10 carries coming into the game but after his breakout performance against Tulsa, he put a firm grip on the top of the depth chart and will get the start Thursday night against the Longhorns.
Iowa State also benefited from the return of center Tom Farniok to the lineup after suffering an MCL injury in the opener. Farniok started every game at center over the past two seasons and his return to lineup gave ISU a huge boost even though Rhoads said Farniok was just 75-80% healthy.
Quarterback Sam Richardson continues to nurse an ankle injury suffered in the opener but his performance against Tulsa was his best of the season. "He held up very well," Rhoads said following the Tulsa victory. "I'm sure he'll be sore tomorrow. I'm sure he's sore right now. Ankles aren't as sore when you win and water tastes better when you win."
Getting Farniok back in the lineup plus an improving Richardson is paramount for the Cyclones who can ill afford to have either on the sidelines heading into Big 12 play. Even with both, does Iowa State have the horsepower to hang with Texas?
I wouldn't see why not even if Texas looked much better in beating Kansas State after getting dismantled by BYU and Ole Miss.
The Longhorns' rush defense was much improved in holding K-State to 115 yards on the ground while allowing the Wildcats just 3.0 yards per carry. Is Greg Robinson already making a difference? The jury is still out but if two games are any indication, Texas is getting back to basics and not taking the same risks they were beforehand, for now at least. With 12 days to prepare for Thursday night's contest, how they perform in Ames will be another strong indication just how far they've come.
The bad news for Texas is that it appears they will once again be without starting quarterback, David Ash, who is expected to miss Thursday night's game. He played the first half against Kansas State before Case McCoy once again took over after Ash suffered lingering effects from his previous concussion.
Whoever takes the snaps, Texas figures to once again rely on a running game that looked very solid against the Wildcats. Johnathan Gray picked up 141 yards against KSU while Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron give Texas a deep and talented trio to rely upon.
Iowa State, Keys to victory:
1. Big plays on offense. The lack of playmakers has plagued Iowa State in recent seasons but against Tulsa they had six plays of 20 yards or longer which was a step in the right direction. Texas has been known to give up a few big plays themselves so If ISU hopes to hang with the Horns, that trend will need to continue.
2. Utilize the play action pass. Going into a game with Texas, any game plan that doesn't feature the running game is ludicrous given how bad UT has been at defending the run. There's no doubt ISU will utilize Wimberly as much as possible, but how effective they are in the passing game is going to be critical.
Tight end E.J. Bibbs started to show what he could do against Tulsa and Richardson would be wise to find him in the seams which could very well be open, especially if the Longhorns commit a safety in the order to help stop the run. Iowa State's run game will be key, but sucking Texas up and hitting them over the top will make life much easier in the scoring department.
3. The Hilton Jack Trice magic. Everyone remembers when the Cyclones knocked of Oklahoma State two seasons ago on a Friday night as the Cowboys were on their way to playing for a national title. This isn't a Friday night but the atmosphere will be the same. If Iowa State can stay within striking distance in the second half, strange things have been known to happen inside that stadium which is a credit to the ISU faithful.
Texas, Keys to victory:
1. The mental attitude. It's an understatement to say the win over Kansas State was huge for Texas. Even so, their head coach remains under fire and speculation picked up again this week with the announcement that DeLoss Dodds will be stepping down as athletic director. How much does that affect the players? I don't know but they can ill-forward to come out thinking about anything but Iowa State on Thursday night.
2. Build early momentum. Early on against Kansas State, nearly everything went Texas' way and they were able to carry that momentum into the second half. Can they do it again? If not, this is likely still a team with a fragile psyche and how will they respond if some adversity strikes? That's a question that remains to be answered.
3. Stop the run and take your chances with Iowa State's wide receivers. The most dynamic player on the field for ISU is going to be Aaron Wimberly. Texas needs to do whatever they can to keep him from finding his grove, even if it means taking some chances in the secondary to make it happen. The Cyclones wideouts are improving, but they remain a work in progress which should allow Texas to win some one-on-one matchups when ISU puts the ball in the air.
This is going to be interesting. Both teams are coming off confidence-restoring games after less than impressive starts to the season. Which teams are going to show up on Thursday night?
On paper, this game should be a walk in the park for Texas, but if there's a coach that has shown what's on a piece of paper doesn't mean a hill of beans, it is Paul Rhoads.
Iowa State is at home which should be a huge advantage although it's worth noting that ISU was just 1-4 in Big 12 home games last season. As good as the Cyclone crowd will be Thursday night, the Iowa State players to have to go out and execute for four quarters.
That is something they couldn't do last season in Austin when Texas outgained them 609 to 277. While I would expect this to be much closer than the 33-7 Texas victory in 2012, the Longhorns will still win their second straight game. Not to mention, Mack Brown will get to keep touting the fact that Texas is still in the running for a Big 12 title, for another week at least. Texas 28 Iowa State 17.
Clint Trickett is 1-0 as the starting quarterback at West Virginia. That is the good news. The not-so-good-news is that he still has a long ways to go before he understands all that is happening with the Mountaineer's offense.
In discussing what his process is signaling in the plays to the quarterback, Dana Holgorsen had some interesting comments during his Tuesday press conference which may indicate why Trickett had seen minimal playing time prior to starting against Oklahoma State.
"... you may change the play altogether (at the line of scrimmage) which he has the no clue how to do at this point. The more you do that, the easier it gets and that is what he has to improve upon. And that's on him. He should be better at that right now. There are times in a game where I signal the play to him and he looked at me like I was from outer space. That's when I would throw my fits because it is just frustrating; it's like communicating with someone that speaks a different language."
It seems like Holgorsen is being forced to take the good with the bad for the time being. The positive in that is the good included a win which obviously trumps whatever frustration comes from the communication process even if it means he rips his hair out in the meantime.
On top of that, Holgorsen is not only having to deal with the inexperience in running his offense, this week he also has to sort through injuries to Trickett (shoulder) and Ford Childress (pectoral muscle) whose injury opened the door for Trickett to start in the first place.
He said that if all three QB's were 100%, Trickett would probably once again get the starting nod against Baylor based on last week's performance. But if they're not 100%, it's going to depend in large part on what happens at practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
He went onto add that if one or both didn't practice this week - even on a limited basis - he would be unlikely to put them in the game on Saturday meaing Paul Millard could be back under center after starting the first two games of the season.
As far as Trickett goes, even if getting the plays called tends to be a challenge, Holgorsen liked what he saw beyond that. "The good news is that when he snaps the ball, reacting to the game of football, is why we won."
As for beating Baylor, having Trickett back on the field would seem to be a key piece in that happening seeing how they'll likely need to put up their fair share of points to keep up with the Bears. Baylor is currently a 28.5 point favorite so there's no question who the oddsmakers like at the moment. Of course, that didn't make one bit of difference last week against the Cowboys who were 20+ favorites, as well.
Holgorsen's entire Tuesday press conference leading up to Saturday's game with Baylor is below.
Baylor first released photos of their new gold helmets in January and finally, we'll get to them in a live football game this weekend.
Baylor's equipment department tweeted out the uniform ensemble that the Bears will wear on Saturday in their first Big 12 game of the season against West Virginia.
Gotta love it.
There will already be plenty of eyes on the Bears when they kickoff Saturday night to see if their high powered offense can keep up their torrid pace now that the competition level will be ratcheted up a few notches. And now we'll have the added bonus of seeing some damn cool uniforms to go with it.
If that's not enough to get you to Saturday, check out the accompanying video they produced to go with it below. #bringthebling. Oh, don't worry, they're bringing it.
|Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State 11:00, ABC
|Texas @ Baylor 2:30, FOX
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