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Things to watch for: Baylor

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Since we haven't played Baylor for 3 years and they usually don't make a lot of headlines, many of us Cyclone fans don't know a lot about them.  I didn't really have the time to write a bit preview because of the Bates distraction, but I'll touch on some quick hitters.

  • New coach:  They have a new coach in Art Briles who brings a fun offense with him from Houston.  I think he was a great hire for Baylor because he has an exciting offense that can help regenerate interest in the program and he's a proven winner at the college level with obvious recruiting ties in Texas to help build the team back up with good local talent.
  • QB Robert Griffin might be the best athlete to put on pads in all of Division 1.  He hasn't thrown a pick yet but he can get it done throwing or running.  His completion percentage isn't outstanding against good competition and according to some BU fans the WR corp has been somewhat disappointing this season.  It is my hope that the talent ISU has on the defensive backfield can continue to jam their WR's at the line and force him to make passes into tight spots.
  • They are a very efficient running team as Griffin averages almost 5 ypc and Finley averages 7.4 ypc.  This is a game where the the corners might be left on an island repeatedly because additional players may have to be brought up to help the run game.
  • They are also pretty stout against the run, which has been the weakness of ISU's offense.  Apparently they play soft in coverage and will usually allow the opposing WR's 5-8 yards of cushion playing a bend but don't break style.  Arnaud repeatedly took advantage of that against KU and moved the ball very effectively last week.  I imagine this will be the gameplan again today.
  • Apparently the Baylor defense has trouble pressuring the quarterback as well as covering receivers.  This pretty much puts this road game on Arnaud's shoulders to deliver the ball to his targets.  I think he's up to it as the home crowds at Baylor haven't been that large and that shouldn't create as big of homefield advantage as it could.
I am extremely nervous about this game as Baylor has the weapons to beat Iowa State.  Briles is a good coach for that situation and Griffin has the ability to be a big playmaker for them over the next four years.  It's my nephew's baptism tonight so I'll be missing most of the game and what I will hear will be on the radio.  Good luck tonight Clones!