Oct. 7, 2007
After dropping a 43-23 decision to Colorado last night in Waco, the Baylor football plays its second consecutive game against a Big 12 North Division foe, as the Bears travel to Lawrence, Kan., Oct. 13 to face the 5-0 and 20th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. Kansas is coming off a 30-24 win at intrastate rival Kansas State yesterday and is off to its best start since the 1995 season when it opened at 7-0. The Baylor-Kansas game will be televised on Fox College Sports Center with kickoff set for 11:30 a.m.
Here are Baylor coach Guy Morriss' thoughts on the Colorado loss and next weekend's KU game:
Overall on the Colorado game: Morriss: "There were a lot of mistakes. Defensively we missed a lot of tackles. There were some mental mistakes for us with gap control. Our biggest mistake defensively was missing tackles."
What kind of positives did you find in the Colorado game? Morriss: "I think our effort was there. Effort was not the problem. We just didn't play smart. That's been our M.O. around here for a long time. Offensively, the first drive we had a couple false starts, a holding call. The second drive we had a bad decision and threw an interception. The next drive we had a false start...We dropped balls, and I don't know. I thought our protection was pretty good for most of the night. They only pressured Blake (Szymanski) two or three times. (Jay) Finley had a fumble. The kicking game was not good. We missed an extra point, bobble a snap and had a 19-yard punt. They got a field goal out of that. We had a lot of mistakes. It's frustrating to come out of halftime getting the ball and getting everybody calmed down to drive it down the field, and we go three and out and then the next time four and out. There were six minutes left in the third quarter before we decided to play."
Why do you think it took so long to get a rhythm going?
Morriss: "Well, the game was out of hand. It was 40-9, so the pressure was off. You've just go and play ball. That's my take on it. I don't know how else you'd explain it. For some people, the technical term would be performance anxiety. I'm not going to use the ex-player term that I know. This is no excuse, but there are lots of young players (out there)."
Is there an answer to get them to relax? Morriss: "I think we just have to keep pounding it into their heads. It's frustrating because nothing seems to be working. The second half of why it is frustrating is because as coaches, we know we have guys that can make plays."
Is it hard to keep the players from getting discouraged? Morriss: "I don't think they are in the tank. They are obviously disappointed. They are kind of looking for an answer, too. We've got six games to play. I feel like they will bounce back, but they may run out of time (in reaching our goal of a bowl game)."
Are there any problems with leadership? Morriss: "I think we have some leaders on the defensive side of the ball, which is the reason why they have played better. But offensively, we don't have it. They are young. We have Brandon Whitaker that's a senior, Chad Smith, and Mike Miller, and the three of them together don't say three words a month."
"We can talk to them. They can talk to professionals, sports psychologists, give them examples that you've had as a player, but it's just something they need to deal with on their own. Find a way to get over whatever it is that's not letting them release their energy in a positive way."
How has wide receiver David Gettis has improved? Morriss: "I think the biggest part is the feel of the game and learning how to setup routes. I think his vision has gotten better, especially on returns. Probably things are slowing down for him out there. The more he plays, the more comfortable he gets. I think Blake Szymanski is really starting to trust him and find him. He can catch the ball as well as anyone we've got."
Talk about the young talent you have on offense. Morriss: "We've got Gettis (David) who is young. We've got Thomas White who's young. Krys Buerck is a true freshman. Justin Fenty is a sophomore. Brad Taylor is a redshirt freshman and Jay Finley is a redshirt freshman, so we've got some young guys who are going to be playmakers for us."
What can you draw from the last drive from inside your own 5 yard-line? Morriss: "It was good to see because they did what everyone is always going to do to us by sitting back in a soft zone. They play two zone or two man and make you execute. They won't let you have a big play. That's where Whitaker was getting all of those yards right over the middle dinking it. You know, if I were a defensive coordinator, that's what I would do to use because we'll self-destruct. We aren't disciplined enough to put too many 14-play drives together. And on the 14th play, we dropped a touchdown. That's what I'd do to us until we're disciplined enough to execute. When we do things right we can move the football. This can be a possession offense where we control the clock. We were very good at that in Kentucky. Time of possession was almost always in our favorite.
Baylor Sunday Notes: Sophomore quarterback Blake Szymanski established school single-game records for completions (36), pass attempts (60), total-offense attempts (64) and total-offense yards (428) against Colorado ... Szymanski passes for 410 yards against the Buffs to become the first player in Baylor history to register three 400-yard passing games (he had a school-record 412 passing yards vs. Rice and 411 yards vs. Texas State) ... Szymanski has thrown 15 TD passes on the season which ranks in a tie for No. 3 with Larry Isbell (1950) on the Baylor single-season list ... Senior RB Brandon Whitaker registered career-highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (166) vs. Colorado ... His 11 receptions ranked as the second-best one-game total in school history (behind 12 receptions by 4 different Bears), while his 166 receiving yards equaled the eighth-best single-game total in school history ... Whitaker has 86 career receptions, most-ever by a non-receiver at Baylor and the 13th-highest total overall ... Sophomore WR David Gettis had a career-high 8 receptions for a career-best 99 yards against Colorado and had 7 kickoff returns for 126 yards to give him a career-high 225 all-purpose yards against the Buffs ... For the second consecutive game, the Baylor offensive line did not allow a sack ... Baylor has lost six consecutive Big 12 Conference games since a 36-35 come-from-behind victory over Kansas last year in Waco.