WACO (August 17, 2012) -- This was the type of scrimmage where both sides could leave the field happy.
While Baylor’s first-, second- and third-team offenses combined for 670 yards in Friday’s 98-play scrimmage at the Highers Athletics Complex, the first-team defense pitched a shutout until the last drive of the day.
“I actually thought the first defense had a great day,” Baylor coach Art Briles said after the second of three scrimmages during fall camp. “They got a little winded there at the end and gave up the one there late. But up to that point, I thought they played really well. The first offense didn’t start out as confident as we needed to be, not finishing the drives. But they went down and got a couple scores late. Overall, I thought it was very productive.”
Senior quarterback Nick Florence continued to produce, posting his second straight 200-yard passing day. He was an efficient 20-of-25 for 216 yards and connected with fellow senior Terrance Williams on a 22-yard TD over the coverage of junior cornerback Darius Jones.
“He ran a great route. You’ve got to give it to him,” Florence said of Williams, who had six catches for 57 yards. “He ran a great route, set him up a little bit, and luckily I gave him a good ball, which is where we want it.”
In last week’s “Meet the Bears” scrimmage, Florence and sophomore quarterback Bryce Petty combined for five pass plays of 42 yards or longer, including TD passes of 75, 75 and 70 yards. But this time, Florence went with the shorter sideline routes to Williams, Lanear Sampson and Tevin Reese.
“That’s what our job is, just take what the defense gives you,” Florence said. “You try to do too much, that’s when bad things happen. If the corners are bailing, let’s take the underneath (route). He’s going to get 15 yards every time, so you can’t complain about that.”
Briles said Florence, who has completed 28-of-36 for 439 yards and three touchdowns in the first two scrimmages, has done a good job with “his ball distribution.” In Friday’s scrimmage, six different receivers had at least four catches, including Williams and sophomore Antwan Goodley with six apiece.
“That’s the whole key,” Briles said of Florence spreading the ball around. “He forced one in there a little bit that they got their hands on, but other than that he was pretty clean.”
The first-team defense came up with several stops, including a Lache Seastrunk fumble that safety Sam Holl scooped up. Holl is a returning starter at down safety, but has also played more of a linebacker in a 3-4 package that defensive coordinator Phil Bennett has installed.
“Coach Bennett and his staff have done a really good job of getting our personnel where they need to be,” Briles said, “and just developing a real tough mentality on that side of the football. I’m anxious and excited to see the defensive side of the ball this year.”
After coming up empty on its opening series, the first-team offense scored on its next four possessions. Florence hit Williams for the 22-yarder and then led back-to-back scoring drives that ended in touchdown runs by Glasco Martin and Seastrunk.
Completely shut down in the first scrimmage, Seastrunk, Martin and starter Jarred Salubi combined for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries for a healthy 6.5-yard average.
“When you can hand the ball off and get seven yards a pop, it makes my job easier and makes the offense’s job easier and the o-line gets some love,” Florence said.
Martin, who scored on an eight-yard TD run up the middle, gave credit to the offensive line for a “good push . . . and making a lot of holes.”
“I can do nothing but congratulate them and thank them when I get in the locker room,” said Martin, who finished with 41 yards on eight carries. Salubi led the way with 58 yards on six totes, while Seastrunk bounced back from the early fumble to rush for 57 yards and two TDs on eight attempts.
Seastrunk capped an eight-play, 90-yard drive on the second-team offense’s final series of the scrimmage, finding a seam up the middle and somehow keeping his balance for a 33-yard TD run. Petty was 4-of-6 for 48 yards on that final drive and 16-of-22 for 130 yards for the day.
“It was a good day up until that very last drive,” Holl said. “I’m really not sure what happened. They did pick up the tempo a little bit, but we’re used to that. It’s not something new to us. . . . That was a weak finish. We know that’s something we’ve got to work on.”
The Bears will take Saturday off before returning to the practice field on Sunday.