Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman celebrated a sack in last season's Cotton Bowl.
Jerome Miron/Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Baylor Bears don’t blitz much, but they dusted off the play call quite a bit last week in throttling of the Rice Owls.
Now the question is if they plan to keep up the pressure against a difficult spread offense like Texas Tech when the teams meet Saturday in Arlington, Texas. Baylor recorded a season-high five sacks against the Owls as it dialed up blitzes for its linebackers and defensive backs more than usual.
“You live by it, you die by it,” Briles told the Waco Tribune-Herald of calling the blitz. “If you blitz, you take a chance of giving up a big play, but you also take a chance of an opportunity to get a big sack. You kind of have to weigh the pros and cons of the situation, the tempo, the momentum and the score, everything that goes along with making the call. We certainly have the talent level on the field to be very active defensively from a blitz standpoint.”
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Against a team like Baylor, and therefore Texas Tech, which employs a version of the Air Raid offense, blitzing can leave a defense high and dry. Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes, although dinged a bit, is elusive and can keep plays alive.
If he’s able to escape the coming blitz, chances are he’s going to find a receiver for a sizable gain.
"A guy who can move around like Mahomes, if you blitz and miss, a lot of times you’re manned up behind it. Sometimes you’re zoned,” Briles said. “But if you’re manned up, then you’ve got not a lot of eyes on the football and it gives a chance for a big play from an offensive standpoint. It’s just really all situational.”