Bulls' 'D' has left much to be desired

On September 7, 2013

Fifty-six points and 501 total yards. These are not the final statistics for Baylor against Buffalo this weekend, or even its box score the week before against Wofford - an FCS school.

These are Baylor's first-half statistics against the Bulls.

This was supposed to be the greatest defense in program history - where was it?

The Bulls have allowed 110 points in their first two games of the season, highlighted by the 70-13 embarrassment against Baylor Saturday. The 70 points was a school record for the Bears, as was their 782 yards of total offense.

Besides senior linebacker Khalil Mack trending No. 1 in America on Twitter, positives from these opening games have been difficult to find. A few linebackers stepped up for the Bulls during the turnaround against the Buckeyes, but they have spent the majority of the two games being pushed around.

The largest cause of concern relies with the secondary.

Miscommunication has led to receivers running free and standing alone in the end zone. The secondary is filled with experience, and these types of plays are inexcusable at this point of their careers.

Against Ohio State, failed coverage resulted in an easy touchdown flick for its backup quarterback - Kenny Guiton - after Braxton Miller sat out a series.

This week began no different.

After Buffalo's offense shocked the Bears with a 'flea-flicker' on the first play of the game and senior running back Branden Oliver punched in the first score to put UB up 7-0, a 10-yard Baylor curl route turned into a 61-yard touchdown.

All momentum Buffalo gained on the opening series was immediately lost.  

Later in the quarter, a third-and-4 pass over the middle to Antwan Goodley resulted in an 83-yard touchdown. No Buffalo defender laid a finger on Goodley after the catch. He simply kicked into another gear and left all 11 Bulls in the dust.

Baylor scored on its first seven possessions, after Ohio State scored on its first three possessions the week before.

The defense is simply not showing up ready to play, and the blame for this goes beyond the 11 on the field.

Coaches commonly prepare their first 15 plays of the game and the Bulls haven't been able to stop their opponents on those plays. That is all about game planning, and head coach Jeff Quinn and his defensive coaches have done a poor job of knowing what to expect.

The 56 points at halftime was a school record for Baylor. Its average of 12.2 yards per play in the first half is unheard of. Bryce Petty had 298 yards on 12 completions - averaging almost 25 yards per completion.

These statistics shouldn't be possible, no matter how explosive the other team's offense is. Buffalo's preseason expectations make this even worse.

After watching this game, the season opener against the Buckeyes feels like a distant memory. I couldn't believe this was the same team that took the field in Ohio Stadium the week before.

Clearly, this is not a recipe for success. When the Bulls decided to challenge themselves in the opening weeks, this couldn't have been the result they expected.

Buffalo will not face two teams like this for the remainder of the season, but it will see high-tempo offenses in the Mid-American Conference.

Kent State, Miami and Ohio all will study these game films closely and look for ways to best replicate this attack.

I hope, by that point, the Bulls will know they need to be ready.



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