This weekend, the Baylor Bears plan to utilize the spread offense while mixing in a triple option attack. However, don’t expect Matt Rhule to consciously slow down the offense in an attempt to keep the Oklahoma Sooners offense off the field. Instead the Bears plan to deploy receivers over the six foot mark to test this secondary once again.
Against taller receivers, Parnell Motley’s track record remains less than impressive through four games this season. Earlier this year, missed tackles plagued the developing defender leading to large gains from opposing receivers. Potentially drawing the task of stopping a player like the 6’5″ Jalan McClendon — who also steps in at quarterback — textbook tackling must be a priority. Of course, it starts with much more than individual coverage and tackling. It begins with the pass rush.
Entering the season as the starting nose guard, Neville Gallimore continues to impress. Through four games, Gallimore has racked up four tackles for loss demonstrating the talent and skill level embodied by the big man. Making an impact with his large frame, the movement of the defensive lineman provides opportunities for those on the edge. It’s a large reason that Oklahoma has recorded a total of 33 tackles for loss.
On the opposite side of the equation, the Bears have surrendered eight sacks this year. Given an eternity to scan the field before making a throw, the accuracy of the passer significantly increases. There’s no exception to that rule for signal caller Charlie Brewer. The Sooners must find a way into the back field consistently to relieve much of the burden shouldered by the secondary. Yet, it’s Gallimore who plays the largest role in the success of the defensive line.
It’s becoming apparent that the Oklahoma defense lacks a field general — a vocal centerpiece. Starting as a true freshman and finding sustained success as a sophomore, Kenneth Murray has been tabbed as the leader of this defense. However, the young star must learn to be the heartbeat of the group in voice, not only in style of play and production. There’s an opportunity to grow into the role this weekend as most fans expect an easy win. Make no mistake, this is not the same team from last year. When the going gets tough, it’s Murray who must rally the defense.