Photo CC: Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE(Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE – US PRESSWIRE)
Being at the bottom of the Big 12 is terrible for fandom. The level of play this year is underwhelming and causes one to question why you are watching. I get it. But the wild NCAA 2020 season presses on.
While Kansas continues to lead the bottom being 0-7, Texas Tech (1-5) and Baylor (1-4) are a close second, third. With a few games left, the bottom three mentioned above seem to be solidifying their places. Wells should be bringing out all he can to end on a high note.
For Baylor, replacing Matt Rhule is Dave Aranda, former defensive coordinator and associate head coach at LSU (including the 2019 Championship). You can’t doubt the pedigree, but Aranda has yet to confirm his first recruiting class. Until then, 2020 (and even 2021) is a wiggle room year for Aranda.
For Wells, his wiggle room is closing. And he knows another dismal performance is only going to call for one thing – a change. He hears the echos, and they are getting louder after each loss. The disastrous play calling vs TCU is still alive and well for most Red Raiders. At times, the offense can be downright nauseating.
With the remaining games on the schedule, if Wells wins out he’ll more than likely keep his job, citing COVID as a leading cause of the outcome. However, the COVID excuse still can’t explain the decision to go for an FG on second and four, with timeouts and time on the clock. Wells needs to win at least two of the last three games to secure his job for 2021.
Oh, and by the way, Aranda and Wells coached together at Utah St, so they definitely know a little about each other.
The Tech defense will again have to lead and set the pace for Colombi/Bowman (whoever is under center) and the offense. Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson knows what he has to do. With two quarterbacks getting playing time, it’s more pressure on the defense to create turnovers and opportunities for the offense.
What you need to know for the game –
When Baylor has the ball
Quarterbacking for Baylor is a four-year starter, SR Charlie Brewer. The younger brother of former Red Raider QB Michael Brewer, Charlie has thrown for 1,125 yards, 11 TD’s, and 5 ints in 2020. With 8,867 yards for his career, the senior is close to breaking the 10,000-yard mark for his career. Brewer is averaging 61.5 CMP%, which demonstrates consistency, but his offensive line protection has been very hit and miss. With 15 sacks on Brewer thus far, the losses against WVU (6) and vs TCU (5) posted the highest sack totals of the season.
JR-WR RJ Sneed is the main WR target for Brewer. His 290 yards, 2 TD’s, and 12.7 average are not on the wow scale, but Sneed is coming off his best game of the season vs ISU with 93 yards on 6 receptions.
Look for Zech McPhearson to be covering him. This should be one of the top matchups of the game.
The running game for Baylor hit a snag with the loss of SO-RB Craig Williams, who was filling in for the previously injured RB John Levett –
The multi-use RB-WR hybrid you will see in the backfield is Trestan Ebner. He’s not exactly slow either –
The back totaled over 200+ yards of total offense vs ISU, and he could be handling more of the load with Williams injured. Ebner’s usage will change with the return of SR-RB John Levett. Levett was held out of Baylor’s previous game but is expected to play vs Tech. With Levett, you’ll have him getting more carries and Ebner getting more use on the receiving end.
When Tech has the ball
In comparison to how Texas Tech played vs ISU, Baylor’s defense has clearly stepped up –
Defensively, Baylor comes into Lubbock with its star LB Terrel Bernard out for the season. Bernard will be replaced by 6’4, 248 DE/LB William Bradley-King, a transfer from Arkansas St with 19 tackles, 2.5 sacks, ff, fr, and 3 pass deflections. Bradley-King should have no problem stepping in on a permanent basis as he has been in the rotation for some time, performing at a high level.
Watch out for Houston native Jalen Pitre. The junior safety has been in the rotation for Baylor since his freshman year but is making a much larger impact in 2020. Pitre is coming off his best game of the year vs ISU with 5 tackles, one int.
Also, beware of SO-LB Dillon Doyle. The Iowa Hawkeye transfer has stepped up big from the get-go totaling 31 tackles, one pass deflection, half-sack, and 2 forced fumbles. With Terrell Bernard out, look for Doyle to step it up vs Tech alongside Bradley-King.
With Tech’s offensive line in flux, look for Baylor to test them early.
This is all of Ebner’s domain. He’s already returned one kick off for a touchdown this season vs Kansas. Any lack of preparation for him as a kick returner would be a sore mistake. Special Teams need to be flawless vs Baylor.
This game is all about respect. The loser of this game is going to get ever-so-closer to joining Kansas’ as a Big12 bottom feeder. This is not good news. But from here on out, with the heat on Wells, look for surprise offensive play calling. And this time, it better work.