Oct. 21, 2007
After dropping a 31-10 decision to 19th-ranked Texas last Saturday in Waco, the Baylor (3-5/0-4) football team travels to Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 27, for a 2:35 p.m. game against the Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Bears have lost eight straight Big 12 games dating to last year's 36-35 win over Kansas at Waco.
Here are Baylor coach Guy Morriss' thoughts on the Texas loss and the upcoming Kansas State game:
Why do you think the team rallied around quarterback Michael Machen?
Morriss: "Well, back in the first game, the guys rallied around Blake Szymanski because it was his first start of the year. Last season, I don't think our 10 other guys did a great job of supporting Blake last year after the Texas A&M game. After we finish our warm-ups and we head into the locker room, he stopped all the players and called them up. I don't know exactly what he said to them, but I think he was trying to get them excited and focused and all that sort of stuff right there in the middle of the field, and I think it really impacted our kids."
Overall how do you think Machen did?
Morriss:"Well, I think we did pretty good. I think our players think we did pretty good as well. They seem to feel that way today, which is probably more important than me thinking he did pretty good. It was a Mpretty windy day, and I think a couple of throws might have been affected by the wind. His presence was good. I think he is real calm in the pocket and on the field. He didn't get shook up or appear to be rattled or anything like that. He had two or three throws I'm sure he wishes he hadn't made. But I think he was just trying to make a play, and he may need to be a little more restrained next week and use better judgment. I think he has the support of his teammates, that's for sure.
So will Machen be the starter against Kansas State?
Morriss: "Yes, probably. Based on what I've seen from the film, yes."
What happened on the first interception?
Morriss: "He read it well. He probably should have thrown the ball down to Whitaker because he was open. But he just fired because it's what we call a stick route. He could throw it 100 times and 99 out of 100 it would be open. It's just like pitching and catching, but you can't do that."
How many drops were there?
Morriss: "We had a total of seven by the receivers and running backs. They always come at a bad time. They just need to keep catching the football."
How would you assess the defense?
Morriss: "I thought it was our best defensive effort. The last touchdown was an interception for a return, so the defense had nothing to do with that one. Another one was set up by an interception. I think we can build off of it. It seems like we had more people involved in some bigger plays. It was the best game Leon Freeman had with five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss. Brandon Stiggers came up big. Dwain Crawford played well. Of course Jordan Lake and Joe Pawelek played well. Our front four did as good of a job putting pressure on the quarterback as we have all year. We blitzed him a little bit."
What went wrong to allow Texas quarterback Colt McCoy to scramble?
Morriss: "Sometimes we would have a particular stunt called, and the guy who was supposed to have him contained didn't get there, and in some cases he just got blocked."
How do you handle the quarterback situation with Blake physically ready to play this week?
Morriss: "I think what we will do is try to get Mike as many reps as we can. But at the same time, John David Weed and Blake will have to split what is left."
What did you tell Blake Szymanski last week before the game?
Morriss: "After the Kansas game, we told him that we were going to look at the other two guys and open it up based on performance from the Kansas game. On top of that, there was all the talk about his concussion. So, the two together was what led to the scenario of the Texas game with the two older men."
How did it go this week in preparation being down a coach?
Morriss: "It was good. I think Lee Hays did a good job of working with the offensive line, and the good thing about it was that he was there to work with the quarterbacks as well. He is the one that has been coaching them. I talked to the offensive line four or five times to try and keep them charged up, telling them they did a good job and that protection was pretty good. I thought it went well."
How do you copy everything good this last week for next week?
Morriss: "One thing that stimulates them is the fact that they still have the opportunity to become bowl eligible. That is something that they have stated as their goal, and they can't lose sight of that. They are doing some things together with team building that they can continue to do. It's a matter of personal pride as well... I've had some people tell me that they sensed that the team played a little harder. There was a different feel about the game. I've even had people tell me that if we could have got them to play like that against TCU or Colorado, then we could have won those games. That's kind of a speculative opinion, but they did play hard and were well focused. I thought they did a good job of getting themselves prepared. So, whatever you did in your routine, don't overlook any steps to get yourself prepared. I think the number one thing that is motivating these kids is that they can still reach their goal. That's the ultimate for them right now."
Baylor Sunday Notes: Baylor's 24 turnovers have led to 79 opponent points, while the Bears have turned 15 opponent turnovers into 44 points ... In Big 12 play, though, Baylor has registered 15 turnovers which have been converted into 62 points while it has only been able to force six opponent turnovers which has led to 17 points ... Senior CB Alton Widemon had a career-high six tackles vs. No. 19 Texas ... Junior DE Leon Freeman had a career-high tying five tackles vs. Texas, including a career-best 3.0 for loss and 1.0 sacks ... Senior RB Brandon Whitaker needs 66 yards to become Baylor's 28th career 1,000-yard rusher and two receptions to become the seventh player in school history to register 100 career receptions ... Senior QB Michael Machen became the first Bear to throw for 200 or more yards in his first career start since Aaron Karas' 331-yard performance against Southern Illinois in 2001.