The Bears have put forward a couple of spirited performance, but despite their best efforts, the losses continue to mount. To say 2017 has been disappointing for Baylor would be an understatement, but a coaching decision made during Saturday’s contest against Kansas State left green and gold nation scratching their head.
Midway through the second quarter, freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer was sent trotting out onto the field for Baylor.
So why is that significant? Because it will keep Brewer, a highly touted QB prospect, from claiming a redshirt at the end of the year. To add to the dismay of the decision, quarterback Zach Smith has been having a pretty good day up until that point — 12/14 for 68 yards — and after the play, which resulted in a one-yard loss, we never saw Brewer again.
Needless to say, the decision received some attention on Twitter.
— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 30, 2017
Smith off to great start. Time to burn a redshirt
— JS (@Shake_Jaw) September 30, 2017
Has someone tried unplugging our OC and then plugging him back in
— NickOso (@heightofidiocy) September 30, 2017
Amid the backlash from the fans, Matt Rhule defended the decision after the game by saying his staff has known that they will have to rely on Brewer at some point this season.
“We made a little package that we were hoping to get started with Charlie and [Trestan] Ebner and Blake [Lynch],” Rhule said. “We knew we were going to have to use it at some point.”
“Zach got beat up a little bit last week, and so we just thought hey, “let’s get Charlie in there a little bit and let’s see if we can run the ball with some quarterback runs”. We’re just trying to manufacture some run game.”
Coach Rhule made it clear that the coaching staff has planned to use Brewer for a while as they thought they will need to rely on the freshman as some point, and that they are looking for ways to establish a ground game.
Here’s the thing, though. Having to rely on Brewer and using him as a wrinkle in the offense are two separate things.
First, it is understandable that Brewer might be called upon should Zach Smith go down or struggle. Season starting QB Anu Solomon has been out since week three after suffering a concussion, and the timetable for his return is not clear. However, with each passing week, Solomon gets closer to returning to the field. Not to mention, since a performance against Duke that left a lot to be desired, Smith has rebounded well. Over the last two games he is completing 63 percent of his passes and has thrown five touchdowns to one interception.
There may be a point in the season at which Baylor will have to rely on Brewer, but it was not against K-State on Saturday.
As to adding a wrinkle to the run offense, I cannot fault a coach for trying to find ways to improve and trying to win games, but if that’s the case, why just one play? Why let the cat out of the bag for one play? What kind of rushing attack did you think you were going to establish in one play?
To put it into perspective, Lincoln Riley unveiled the zone read with Baker Mayfield against Ohio State. It didn’t work the first time out. Ohio State stuffed it as Mayfield read the linebacker wrong. They went back to it later in the game though, and ended up gashing the Buckeye defense with it.
Moving forward, the cat cannot go back into the bag. Teams will now prepare for Brewer, and they will have a pretty good idea of what a package with him will look like and will know how Baylor hopes to use him.
Credit to coach Rhule for addressing the decision, but I’m not sure we are any less confused than when we saw Brewer take the field.