We take a look at Baylor's explosive offense that averages over 44 points per game.
As discussed in Part I of the preview, Baylor offense is one of the most dynamic units in the country. Baylor is 1st nationally in total offense with 579 ypg. They are balanced, averaging 226 ypg on the ground (18th nationally), and 353 ypg through the air (3rd nationally). They've put up these numbers despite losing their starting quarterback, running back, and leading wide receiver, and they've managed to find pretty damn good replacements.
Baylor is led by Nick Florence (6-1, 205, SR.), who has had a great season replacing Robert Griffin III. Florence has completed 61% of his passes for 4,121 yards with 31 TD's and 13 INT's. He's also ran for 531 yards and scored another 9 TD's on the ground.
Florence may not have even been mentioned in the Heisman race, but it is interesting to compare Florence's number to Griffin's. Last season, Griffin completed 72% of his passes for 4,293 yards with 37 TD's and 6 INT's, and rushed for an additional 699 yards with 10 TD's. Obviously, Griffin's numbers are better across the board other than passing yards, but not by a whole lot. The coaching staff should get a lot of credit, but Florence is an impressive quarterback in his own right, and it's a shame that he only gets one season to shine.
Last season, Baylor essentially relied upon Terrance Ganaway as the workhorse back. This season, Baylor has spread the carries out amongst three backs. That said, Lache Seastrunk (5-10, 205, SO.) has recently taken over the role as lead back, and he'll get the lion's share of the carries. In case you're wondering, Seastrunk is the guy in the middle of the Oregon-Willie Lyles fiasco that will probably lead to some fairly severe sanctions for Oregon. He originally signed with Oregon and redshirted, then transferred to Baylor and sat out his freshman season.
Seastrunk leads the team with 874 yards on just 115 carries. Those stats don't really tell the whole story though, as Seastrunk only became the lead back 5 games ago. In that 5 game span, Seastrunk has 86 carries for 693 yards and 5 touchdowns. Seastrunk has also made a bit of noise recently when he declared that he was going to win the Heisman next year.
Baylor will also rely on upback Glasco Martin (6-1, 220, JR.), who will get the short yardage carries. On the season, Martin has 158 carries for 791 yards and 12 TD's. The third back in the equation is Jarred Salubi (5-9, 210, SR.), who lost the starting spot to Seastrunk. He has 108 carries for 437 yards and 3 TD's.
Baylor may have lost Kendall Wright, but they have a good group of receivers led by Terrence Williams (6-2, 205, SR.) who starts on the outside. Baylor will primarily use four receivers, and the other starters are Lanear Sampson (5-11, 205, SR.), Tevin Reese (5-10, 165, JR.), and Levi Norwood (6-1, 190, SO.). All four receivers get targeted quite a bit, but Williams is the clear alpha of the pack.
Williams will likely follow in Wright's footsteps as a first round draft pick in April. He's had a monstrous season with 95 catches for 1,764 yards and 12 touchdowns. Williams clearly earned his All-American first team selection, and the UCLA secondary will have to give him some extra attention.
Opposite Williams, Sampson starts on the outside and has 51 catches for 639 yards and 6 TD's on the season. Inside, Reese has 51 catches for 889 yards and 8 TD's, and Norwood adds 39 catches for 477 yards and 1 TD.
Baylor doesn't use tight ends often, but they have a useful player in Jordan Najvar (6-6, 260, JR.) when he sees the field. On the season, he has 8 catches for 64 yards and 2 TD's.
In addition to the gaudy offensive numbers, Baylor's offensive line has only allowed 17 sacks. The line has a good mixture of youth and experience, and they have pretty good size and athleticism. They frequently pull inside, similar to UCLA's line, and they are assisted in the passing game by Baylor's play action.
The starters are Troy Baker (6-6, 300, SO.) at RT, Cameron Kaufhold (6-4, 310, SR.) at RG, Ivory Wade (6-4, 310, SR.) at C, Cyril Richardson (6-5, 335, JR.) at LG, and Spencer Drango (6-6, 310, FR.) at LT.
That concludes Part 2 of the Baylor preview. Feel free to fire away with any additional thoughts and comments, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for Part 3 of the preview.