Texas’ defensive front can stress a shaky Baylor offensive line
Texas boasts one of the most formidable groups of interior defensive linemen not just in the Big 12, but the entire Power Five, regarding talent and depth this season. Redshirt senior defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat and junior nose tackle Byron Murphy II lead a deep group up front for DL coach Bo Davis and the Longhorns.
Sweat is the highest-graded interior defensive lineman in the Big 12 this season. Murphy also ranks among the five highest-graded interior defensive linemen in the Big 12 while leading the conference in quarterback pressures.
Meanwhile, Baylor has an offensive line that isn’t getting the job done consistently this season, blocking for the run or in pass protection. Baylor is allowing the most pressure on their quarterback in terms of pressure rate and total QB pressures.
The issues Baylor faces along the offensive line don’t have much to do with talent or competency. Baylor lost four of its starters from last year’s group up front. And they’ve replaced those four starters mostly via the transfer portal, highlighted by the Barrington brothers (Clark at center and Campbell at right tackle).
This group is taking a while to gel, evident by the plethora of false starts and miscommunications that have resulted in the offense getting put behind the marker and getting off-schedule on multiple occasions early this season.
None of Baylor’s starting offensive linemen not named Barrington rank in the top half of starters at OL in the Big 12 this season in pass-blocking grade. Baylor has two of the three-lowest graded OLs in pass blocking in the Big 12 at left tackle, freshman Alvin Ebosele and sophomore Tate Williams, as the Bears look to find the long-term answer at that spot.
The Bears have done better blocking for the run than in pass pro this season. But they’re still not all that effective running the ball, either. Baylor ranks in the bottom half of the Big 12 in yards per carry against FBS opponents (3.8). Worst of all, regarding run blocking, Baylor ranks 13th in the Big 12 in blown block percentage on run plays this season (3.9%).
To take advantage of the lack of cohesiveness and overall inconsistency of the Baylor offensive line in multiple ways, Texas can stymie Baylor’s efforts running the ball with the duo of Murphy and Sweat. And as the game wears on, Davis and Pete Kwiatkowski will keep guys fresh up front by rotating different interior defensive linemen and edge rushers that can still be effective on the field against this Baylor offensive line.
This should be a lopsided matchup in the trenches between Texas’ interior defensive line and Baylor’s offensive line.