By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
As much as you want to get right back on the field after a loss, Baylor coach Matt Rhule said the bye week comes at a good time for the Bears.
“When you don’t have a game in front of you, sometimes you can really stop and do some soul-searching – look at yourself and look at the team and look at the staff and look at the players,” Rhule said Monday during the weekly Big 12 Conference coaches’ teleconference. “All of us have to do that and say, ‘Are we doing the right things?’’’
One of the positives from Saturday’s 33-20 loss at Kansas State, Rhule said, is the fight the Bears (0-5, 0-2) showed in the second half.
“After a really poor first half, I thought our team at halftime made a decision that they’re going to go out there and they’re going to fight,” he said. “That competitive toughness, we just have to continue to grow that and we have to continue to push it. This team will be a tough week for all of us, because we have to become a tougher team if we want to have a chance to win some games this year.”
After losing wide receiver Chris Platt and defensive end Xavier Jones to season-ending knee injuries the week before in a 49-41 loss to third-ranked Oklahoma, the Bears took another blow Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, Kan. Junior punter/kicker Drew Galitz suffered a non-contact knee injury on the opening kickoff and will also miss the rest of the year.
“He’s out for the year,” Rhule said of Galitz, who ranks 2nd in the Big 12 and 14th nationally with a 45.2-yard average.
Sophomore Connor Martin filled in on punts and kickoffs and even picked up a first down with a 16-yard run on a fake punt. But, Rhule said sophomore walk-on kicker Peter Webster will get a look in practice this week to either handle the punting or kickoff duties.
“It’s a lot for Connor to take on, so we’ll see if there’s not someone that can relieve some of that,” he said.
As far as the running game struggles – the Bears have netted just 201 yards on 89 carries over the last three games – Rhule said it’s a combination of things.
“I don’t think we’re probably running the ball enough, just calling the runs,” he said, “and we’re not dominating the line of scrimmage the way we can. (Freshman John) Lovett did on Saturday, he was able to turn that one run into a long run (74-yard touchdown), but we haven’t really hit a lot of home runs.
“I do think the offensive line is getting better. They played better this week than they had. But, to go up there and play a physical team like Kansas State, we just have to be better on the offensive line and at tight end.”
Quarterback Charlie Brewer became the Bears’ 16th true freshman – 15th scholarship freshman out of a 27-player signing class – to see the field this season. Brewer lost a yard on an option keeper, then the Bears had a holding penalty on his second play before Zach Smith came back in to finish.
“We’re going to need Charlie at some point,” Rhule said. “When I can, I’m just going to try to get him in the game here and there, just to make sure he’s ready when his number is called, if it is. If something happens to Zach, Charlie will have some snaps under his belt and he’ll be ready to go play.”
A first-team all-state quarterback who threw for 8,343 yards and 107 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions in three seasons, Brewer led Lake Travis to the 6A state championship last season.
“He’s tremendously accurate, he’s really intelligent, and the biggest thing is he just has competitive toughness,” Rhule said. “He has ‘it.’ He’d run down on the kickoff if I let him. He’s just a competitive, competitive player. You certainly saw that in high school, you see that from his whole family, and I think everyone in our program feels his competitiveness.”
After their only bye week of the season, the Bears will face No. 14/15 Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1) at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 14, in Stillwater, Okla., in a game that will be televised by FS1.