New offensive scheme, same defensive power propels Bears to victorySept. 10, 1996
ight end shines in new passing offense Despite obstacles, defense holds off Bulldog attack
By Scott Dixon
Lariat Sports Staff
Was Jay Novacek doing a rehabilitation assignment in the Baylor lineup on Saturday night, or was it the second coming of Charlie Joyner?
Well, maybe not, but it's sure a huge improvement over last year.
In Jack Crowe's offensive scheme, the tight end was seen as a pass receiver about as often as Salman Rushdie was seen spouting scripture.
With Crowe calling the plays, the tight end was normally just a quick tackle that running backs could follow around.
For the first time in at least two years, the Bears made the tight end an important part of the offense.
In an offense that looked pretty stagnant after the first quarter, Chad Chmelar, a Caldwell sophomore, was a very bright spot. He had four catches in Saturday's game against Louisiana Tech, doubling last season's output for the entire team at that position.
Enter into the picture Mike Gundy, quarterback and passing game coordinator.
With Gundy came a crazy offensive scheme that actually had the tight end going out on pass routes to help move the ball.
The inventive idea was just zany enough to work in Baylor's 24-16 victory over the Bulldogs.
The Bears didn't have the same potent running game that they did a year ago, so Baylor was using Chmelar in the same way that the 49ers use Brent Jones: to open up the running game.
'I wish we had thrown the ball to him more,' Gundy said. 'He (Chmelar) was open on a lot of plays, but we just couldn't get him the ball.'
Jeff Watson seemed to find Chmelar at opportune times, though.
Chmelar's first catch came at the end of the first quarter for only a five yard gain, but that catch gave the Bulldogs another person to watch in the Bears' offensive scheme.
The people in the press box were as awestruck as Louisiana Tech's defense on that play.
'I want to give God all the glory,' Chmelar said. 'The coaches really wanted to make the tight end an important part of the passing game this year.'
Chmelar had a catch for 13 yards and another catch for two yards later in the game. The two yard catch showed Chmelar's good hands and mobility when he had to dive to the right.
'Coach Wyatt and coach Gundy brought in an offense that makes the tight end a valuable receiver,' Chuck Reedy, Baylor head coach, said. 'We still need to do a better job of finding the open receiver, though.'
The tight end's last catch was the biggest, helping to set up a 39 yard Kyle Atteberry field goal, and sealing the Bears first victory of the season.
Jenny Bourn/The LariatBaylor players stand each other up during a Monday afternoon practice. The Bears are back in action on Saturday at Louisville.
By Russell Reneau
Lariat Sports Reporter
The Baylor defense turned back a feisty Louisiana Tech offense to preserve the Bears' season opening 24-16 victory Saturday night in Shreveport.
Even though Louisiana Tech was a three-touchdown underdog going into the game, they brought in last year's No. 14 ranked offense with no intention of being taken lightly.
The defense started strong by allowing Tech only 15 total yards of offense and no first downs in the first quarter. The Tech running game was going nowhere, so Tech abandoned its running game and relied on its most explosive weapon: the passing attack.
From the second quarter on, the Baylor linebackers and secondary must have felt like they were in a shooting gallery. By the end of the game Tech quarterback Jason Martin had completed 20 of 47 passes for 324 yards.
There was no pass rush to speak of on Martin. Baylor failed to record a sack in the game, and Martin was rarely forced out of the pocket.
Baylor will not see a bigger offensive line than Tech's for the rest of the season. The Bulldogs had an average height of 6 feet 6 inches and an average weight of 305 pounds, and it did not hurt to have 6 foot 11 inch 365 pound tackle Chris Crudup on their side.
Since the Bears were kept out of the backfield on pass plays, the linemen became defensive backs. Junior defensive end Sheldon Mallory was able to knock down four passes, and six others were able to knock down a pass apiece.
Tech was able to put together a few good drives, but the mark of a good defense is its ability to come up with big plays when the team needs them the most.
The Bears were protecting a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and Tech had a prime scoring opportunity with first and goal at the Baylor 2-yard line.
On third down, senior cornerback George McCullough forced Tech Running Back Lee Ragsdale out of bounds for a loss at the five yard line, and Tech was forced to settle for a field goal.
In the third quarter, McCullough was able to come up with another crucial play when he stepped in front of a Martin pass for a drive stopping interception at the Baylor 11.
'I just wanted to go out there and make a big play for the team,' McCullough said,'we were losing momentum, so someone had to come up with a big play.'
Without any pressure on the quarterback, Tech receivers were able to run pass routes where they wanted to create mismatches in coverage. Tech seemed to be picking on junior linebacker Dean Jackson, but he was up for the challenge.
Jackson had 11 tackles and two interceptions in the game, both team highs. The first interception came in the third quarter and stopped a Tech drive at the Baylor 24.
Jackson picked off his second pass of the night with 48 seconds left in the game to crush Tech's last hopes of tying the game and sending it into overtime.
'The defense did a great job of keeping them out of the end zone,' Baylor head coach Chuck Reedy said. 'They showed a lot of character and just kept scrapping and fighting.'
While the defense held Tech to only one touchdown, they could not keep them from staying in the game. Breakdowns in the Baylor pass rush allowed Tech to put some fifty passes in the air.
The opener was positive for Baylor.
'We can moan and groan, but we are thankful for every win, especially on the road,' Reedy said.
Next weekend Baylor travels to Kentucky to meet the Louisville Cardinals for the first ever meeting between the two teams.
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