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Better than expected: Bears give Texas Tech a fight

Oct. 11, 2000

By ROB SINCLAIR

Sports Editor

Missed opportunities plagued the Baylor football team in its 28-0 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday night.

Baylor drove inside the Tech 25-yard line four times and came away with zero points to show for it. Add a holding penalty that wiped out a 45-yard gain to the Red Raider six-yard-line, and you have five scoring opportunities gone awry.

What follows is a grading of the Bears by position.

Quarterbacks

As the old saying goes, if you have three quarterbacks, you probably don't have any. Guy Tomcheck started, Kerry Dixon replaced him in the second quarter, and Michael Odum finished the game.

Tomcheck continued his trend of slow starts, completing 1-9 passes for 10 yards before sitting. In the first halves of the past two games, he has gone 2-16 for 20 yards and an interception.

Dixon finished 3-6 for 28 yards, while Odum completed 9-25 passes for 110 yards and two interceptions as Baylor played in extreme catch-up mode in the fourth quarter. However, both freshmen QBs shouldered the blame for the shutout.

'It's a matter of me,' Tomcheck said. 'I didn't produce.'

Said Dixon: 'I was average.'

Grade: C-

Running Backs

Darrell Bush finished with 50 yards on 12 carries, but the numbers are misleading. He carried 10 times for 49 yards in the first half, then only carried twice for one yard in the second. He fumbled for the fourth time in three games, and opponents will most likely make a conscious effort to strip him of the ball. Chedrick Ricks showed a nice burst with 22 yards on only three carries.

Grade: C+

Wide Receivers

Given that three quarterbacks delivered the passes and Baylor suffered injuries to two of the top three receivers, the wide outs held up pretty well. Andra Fuller and Martin Dossett were both catchless after going out with a hip pointer and a sprained ankle, respectively. In their absence, Lanny O'Steen stepped up with three catches for 69 yards, while Reggie Newhouse was consistent with three receptions for 42 yards. Again, one group accepted responsibility for the offense.

'We didn't execute to our capabilities,' Newhouse said. 'We can do a whole lot better running routes and being more focused.'

Grade: B-

Tight Ends

Andrew Obriotti had a pair of catches for 16 yards. He already has as many catches this year (five) as he had all of last season. A fair number of two-tight end sets were used, and the run blocking was OK.

Grade: C+

Offensive Line

Injuries also hit the offensive line, as starting center Joe Jackson left with a high ankle sprain and did not return. Although sprains generally are more serious the higher on the ankle, Jackson should be back in action Saturday. Cedric Fields started at right guard for the second straight week. The pass blocking was good, but head Coach Kevin Steele said the run blocking could have been better. The line seems to improve each week.

Grade: B

Defensive Line

Still no sacks, but the pressure on Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury was tremendous. Baylor defensive coordinator Brick Haley said the Bears blitzed on 56 percent of Tech's plays (run or pass), and Kingsbury hit the deck on 36 of his 50 dropbacks. Aaron Lard and Charles Mann both had five tackles and a hurry.

Grade: B+

Linebackers

To counteract the Red Raider's spread offense, Baylor had only one linebacker on the field about 95% of the time, according to Haley. That was Kris Micheaux, and he had 10 tackles, a QB hurry and a fumble recovery. The Bears used extra defensive backs, so Anthony Simmons' suspension for disciplinary reasons was minimized.

'That's the chore that pains you as a father and coach,' Steele said. 'But it's not punishment. It's discipline, correction.'

Grade: B+

Secondary

The name on everybody's lips was Bobby Hart. The true freshman made nine stops and two tackles for loss.

'He executed really well,' strong safety Samir Al-Amin said. 'He made some great plays.'

Cornerback Gary Baxter hit as hard as ever, and Al-Amin was none too shabby, finishing third with eight tackles.

Grade: A-

Special Teams

Adam Stiles had another good game punting the ball, as he averaged 43.3 yards per kick. Hart returned one punt after Fuller's injury, and Randy Davis replaced Dossett on kick returns. Daniel Andino missed wide right on a field goal attempt that would have made the score 14-3 at halftime. It was his first miss of the year.

Grade: B

Overall

It may sound crazy, but Baylor's defense made Texas Tech work for all 451 yards of total offense. The Red Raider game plan included a ton of dump-off passes, but the Bears stifled that aspect by tackling extremely well. The pressure on the quarterback was a needed sight. On the other end of the field, the offense continues to struggle. Give the Red Raiders credit, their defense is one of the best in the Big 12 Conference. However, Baylor must end drives by putting points on the board.

Grade: B-