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TCU vs. Baylor: What To Expect from TCU's Defense

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TCU's defense can take a cue from Texas this past weekend, but they'll need to do more than the Longhorns did if they want to leave Waco with a win.

Tom Pennington

Texas may have lost 28-7 to Baylor this past Saturday, but their defense did a lot to slow down the vaunted Bears' offense. TCU will no doubt try to accomplish some of the same things while improving on some of the things Texas did poorly.

Strategy No. 1: Get Pressure With 4

If TCU wants to be successful on defense, they'll need to get pressure with the front four big guys. Chucky Hunter and Davion Pierson specifically, need to get up the middle to disrupt the pocket. Against Texas, Petty looked to be a little skiddish once Texas started knocking him down.

If TCU can disrupt the pocket and force Petty to move around behind the line of scrimmage (while maintaining containment), they have the secondary to cover receivers and force bad throws.

Getting pressure with 4 means more than just pressuring the quarterback though. It also means disrupting running plays at the line. Baylor runs a lot of draws, which puts the linebackers on their heels at the start of the play. It is imperative that the defensive line gets hands on the running backs to slow them down or stop them, so the linebackers don't have to start creeping up.

Strategy No. 2: Close Holes Quickly On The Line

Baylor beat Texas because of their run game, it's that simple. Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson combined for 220 rushing yards on 39 carries, and if they do that against TCU, they'll win. TCU's run defense has been good all season, but they allowed 152 rushing yards to Oklahoma. Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallett will need to be on high alert for the run game so they can get up to the line quickly and shut things down.

Strategy No. 3: Don't Bite On Play Action

Really, this game is going to come down to how well the linebackers play. Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallett, along with Jonathan Anderson, have a tall task on Saturday. First, they have to be willing and able (which they are) to come up quickly and stop the run. However, they also have to understand that against this Baylor offense, they're going to be critical to stopping the pass, which means they can't bite down on any play action fakes.

Baylor really likes to run fake and throw a pass out to their receivers in the flat, where they have space to make things happen after the catch. Dawson and Mallett are fast, but not fast enough to bite on a play fake and still recover out to the flat in time to bring a receiver down for a minimal gain.

Strategy No. 4: Don't Bite On Double Moves

Of course, this responsibility also falls to the safeties, and guys like Derrick Kindred will need to be much better than they were against Oklahoma.

Baylor has more depth and more speed at wide receiver than Oklahoma does, which means that biting on a double move almost certainly means you're watching someone in green and gold run to the endzone. Look for TCU to double guys like Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood over the top, while leaving a safety to cover the slot. It wouldn't surprise me to see a lot of 4-1-6 in this game, so Gary can get a sixth DB on the field to cover all of Baylor's speed. This circles us back around to the first strategy, too, because with one less linebacker on the field, it's all the more imperative the front 4 can get pressure and stop the run.


If you want to see more of how Texas was able to stop Baylor, or to see what few things worked for Texas against Baylor's defense, check out the video below. (Thanks Philly for posting this video).