Texas Football: Right Now, Baylor Is a Better Version of Texas

Chris Dukes

Baylor is fast, physical and doesn't make many self-inflicted mistakes. 

The Bears rally to the football on defense, are patient and effective on offense and gain hidden yardage in special teams. Did I mention they are also 10-1 and going to the Big 12 championship game?

In other words, they are everything Tom Herman wants his Texas program to be. 

In terms of personnel and scheme, Texas and Baylor aren't far off from each other. In terms of execution in 2019, it's been night and day. 

The Longhorns have lost games in the fourth quarter and Baylor has won them. On Saturday, it bullied around a Texas team that prides itself on being physical. 

The Bears sacked Sam Ehlinger five times, and while Texas ran for 214 yards, the stat is somewhat deceptive as much of it came on Ehlinger scrambles. If you take out Keaontay Ingram's 68-yard run, the running backs gained just 40 yards on 11 carries. 

Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow did exactly what Todd Orlando wants to do every week. He took away the run game and made the Longhorns one-dimensional. 

"What makes (their defense) so difficult is, you say 'Okay, we are not running the ball real well, let's start throwing it around. We've got good wideouts, we've got a good quarterback. They're dropping eight into coverage and they can get a really good pass rush with those three defensive linemen, which makes it difficult for the quarterback back there."

On offense Baylor runs an eerily similar pro-spread attack with an Austin-area quarterback who is a dual-threat. The Bears rushed 37 times for 172 yards and allowed just one sack to the Texas defense. 

"Coach Rhule has those guys playing really hard right now," Herman said. "They're playing with a lot of confidence. We knew what we were going to be up against."

Texas fans can't help but wonder why the Bears are so much better at what Texas wants to do right now. Yes, Herman spent time cleaning up the mess left by Charlie Strong, but it was a small job compared to the trainwreck that Rhule inherited in the same year.  

He's done it without the major brand name, the top-notch Texas facilities and all the money one would need to his assistants. 

"I hadn't thought about comparing us to them," Herman said. "It would be foolish of me to try and figure out what's sunk in with them. I don't know their team."

Tom Herman may not have thought of comparing his program to that of Baylor, but you can bet that nearly every Texas fan watching the game from the stands or on TV was doing just that. 

And those comparisons are going to be present all the way through what is sure to be an uncomfortable offseason on the Forty Acres. 

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