It's like déjà vu all over again. Baylor's offense racks ups first downs, yards, and points at a frantic pace, but the Bears' defense allows teams to do the exact same.
It's a recipe that for worked for the most part a season ago with Baylor managing to outscore 10 of their 13 opponents in 2011. But with an offense missing Robert Griffin and a defense playing under Phil Bennett for the second straight season, if there's going to be a repeat of last year's success, logic says it had to come in improvement from the defense that gave up over 30 points 10 different times last year.
If the defense has improved, it certainly didn't show on Friday night in Baylor's 47-42 victory.
Louisiana Monroe racked up 561 yards gauging the Baylor defensive line however and whenever it pleased. The pass defense wasn't much better with ULM quarterback Kolton Browning scrambling and finding open receivers with a frequency that will leave Dana Holgorsen blushing with the thoughts of what his West Virginia offense can accomplish when the two teams meet next weekend in Morgantown.
Take nothing away from UL-Monroe, they're a talented group that will do plenty of damage in the Sun Belt conference this year. With Iowa State and Kansas being the possible exceptions, every offense Baylor faces the rest of the way is going to be equally as good and likely even more explosive than what the Bears faced Friday night.
Can Baylor expect to win a track meet every time out again this season? It looks like they might have to try.
The good news is quarterback Nick Florence continues to play well. After two early interceptions, he picked apart the Warhawks' defense completing 26 of 39 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns. Nobody is going to mistake Florence for RGIII, but he's more than capable of running Art Briles' offense and isn't afraid to tuck it an run, either. The Bears didn't have much success running the ball for most of the night, but when they did, it was usually Florence keeping it on the zone read.
And then there are the receivers. There are plenty of good ones in the Big 12, but there might not be a deeper and more talented grout than Tevin Reese, Terrance Williams, Levi Norwood, and Lanear Sampson (not taking anything away from Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin at West Virginia). They're going to be a nightmare for any secondary in the Big 12 to cover.
If there is a chink in Baylor's offensive armor, it might be the aforementioned running game. It's only one game, but ULK held Glasco Martin and Jared Salubi to 108 yards on 34 carries or 3.17 yards per rush. It might not be time to sound the alarms, but that number needs to improve going forward.
Baylor can still sleep well tonight, however. They're 3-0 which is really the only stat that matters. When they wake up in the morning though and glance at the upcoming schedule (at West Virginia, TCU, at Texas), that warm fuzzy feeling isn't going to be around for long.
There's plenty of work left to do, namely a few tackling drills for a defense that has to figure out a way to get more stops or the video game type scores are going to continue in Waco.