Baylor was distracted on Saturday. Just ask Jim Grobe.
After TCU’s 62-22 thumping of Baylor on Saturday, Grobe spoke with the media, saying that the Art Briles protests and the new news coming out almost daily about the rape cover-up scandal has been distracting for the team:
"A lot of distractions don't help," acting head coach Jim Grobe said. "This is a game you really got to spend all your focus on for 12 games during the season to play well, and if you don't, this is what happens."
I get what he was trying to say. He was trying to say that the team (coaches included) need to stay focused on the task at hand: winning football games. It’s a pretty typical statement for a football coach to make, but it just isn’t sitting right with me.
Here’s the thing: Baylor football has, based on the extensive amount of information that has come out since February, been solely focused on winning for the last nine years.
They were so focused on winning that they silenced victims of sexual assault. They refused to be distracted by Patty Crawford. They refused to be distracted by the alleged victims of Tre’von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman. They refused to be distracted by Sam Ukwuachu’s victim. They refused to be distracted by Tevin Elliot’s victim. They refused to be distracted by the 17 women who made claims of sexual and domestic assaults at the hands of 19 Baylor football players.
Now, everywhere they turn, they can’t help but see the result of their focus.
The assistant coaches certainly aren’t helping the cause, either (I have no idea how they still have jobs). Tweeting in defense of your old head coach the night before a rivalry game is the epitome of distracted. Based on the circumstances, it’s also a signal of the culture shift that has yet to take place. Priorities are still not in order for those coaches.
Priorities are also not in order for those fans who thought it was a good idea to sell #CAB shirts outside the stadium, or for the high-paying suite owners to fly a CAB flag out of their suite window in the stadium. They’re also not in order for the people who send hateful, shameful messages to survivors of rape on social media, or for those folks who still think the #truthdontlie hashtag is a good idea.
Now, I understand this is a small segment of Baylor University. There are thousands of good and righteous people associated with the Bears.
But those thousands of good and righteous people have to stand up and stop the ridiculousness that’s taking place in their community. It’s time. They can no longer be written off as “those fans.”
I know several have already started. Just go to our sister site Our Daily Bears. They’re doing an incredible job being a voice of truth and sensibility through all of this.
But, while Baylor football was distracted on Saturday, there was still football to be played. For the first time in nine years, it didn’t seem like Baylor was focused on winning.
Baylor’s defense got a boost from it’s early-season schedule this year, as they played Northwestern State, SMU, and Rice. Then, they were exposed by Iowa State and Texas, both of whom rushed for over 200 yards against the Bears. TCU saw that, took note, and Gave Kyle The Damn Ball.
Hicks was everything we thought he could be when he saw the ball enough, as he carried it 26 times for 192 yards and five touchdowns.
He plowed through people. He juked and spun around people. He out-ran people. He did it all. Hopefully that continues through the remainder of the season, because if it does, TCU may just win out.
Hicks now has 789 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on the season.
TCU’s defense looked incredible as well, swarming to the ball, playing with aggressive confidence, and showing that, when they have two healthy/elite cornerbacks, they’re an overwhelming unit.
Julius Lewis and Ranthony Texada had fantastic days. Their play, along with the great play of Niko Small, is allowing Patterson to open up the playbook a bit and call more exotic looks. Those looks baffled Seth Russell on Saturday, who completed just 52% of his passes, threw a pick six, and was sacked three times.
Travin Howard, Nick Orr, and Ty Summers all recorded double-digit tackles as well in the effort. Aaron Curry, Josh Carraway, Mat Boesen, and the rest of the defensive line got after the running game all day. It was as complete a defensive effort as we’ve seen since the Peach Bowl.
Kenny Hill looked confident on Saturday, running the ball with effectiveness to help extend drives and add another dimension to TCU’s offense. He threw the ball well too, for the most part. One pass should have been picked, and a few others were overthrown, but overall he looked much more like the player TCU thought they were getting.
This is, of course, largely in part due to the effectiveness of Kyle Hicks. But hey, we’ll take an effective Hicks/Hill combo.
The Final Three Games
Oklahoma State, Texas, and Kansas State. Before the Baylor game, I looked at the schedule and thought, “Oh God, we could seriously go 4-8.” Now I look at the schedule and I’m thinking this team could still be 8-4. The reality probably lies somewhere in the middle, but if TCU’s running game and defense show up for those games like they did for this one, they’ll be a hard team to beat.