In the Huddle
with Nick Florence...
that was an ugly game to watch Saturday night in
Stillwater. Offensively, we just weren’t there, weren’t
dynamic and we weren’t getting yards on first down,
which is why our offense has been so successful is
you’re getting five, six, seven yards on first down. And
that really sets the tone. We just didn’t do a good
enough job of getting holes and making things happen.
have to look at this as a growing and learning
opportunity. I think when you lose a game, you approach
it differently and with a different mindset of, I’ve got
to get better. That’s one of the things Dave Aranda
talked about after the game. He said, “As coaches, as
players, we’ve got to be better. We weren’t at our best
today.” That takes a lot of humility as a coach to admit
that, because the players play. But, there’s a lot to
learn from that 24-14 loss on the road against an
Oklahoma State team that’s now up to No. 12 in the
fans, we tend to immediately go to doom and gloom. The
sky is falling. When the reality is we’re 4-1. We played
an ugly game, in Stillwater, against a top-20 team, and
had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. That’s all
you want is a chance. We just didn’t capitalize on it.
But, coming into this year, if I had asked if you would
have taken 4-1 through five games, you probably would
have said, “Yes, absolutely!”
That’s where we are, and we have a great
opportunity in front of us this week against West
Virginia to become 5-1. I know, you never want to lose,
but I think the loss came at a really good time for us,
because now we’ve got three home games, three really
tough games in front of us. Bounce back, learn, get
better, make adjustments and move forward.
Oklahoma State’s defense
came out in some completely different stuff, and we had
a hard time adjusting. Now, offensive coordinator Jeff
Grimes is not going to make that mistake twice. He’s not
going to be fooled twice. That’s where, as a coach and
one the caliber of Coach Grimes, is going to learn from
this. I guarantee you he’s going to change up some of
the things they do and evolve.
That’s part of the offense is it’s
got to continue to evolve. You finally hit a roadblock,
so now you’ve got to evolve, you’ve got to get better.
You have to take this one play and tweak it slightly,
change it up, do this and that. I have a lot of faith in
Coach Grimes and this offense, and I think our players
are going to rise to the challenge.
This is a big game, at home, it’s an
11 a.m. kick. We should have a great crowd. But, you
have to bounce back against a West Virginia team that’s
reeling a little right now, too. They’ve lost their last
two games by field goals in the last 20 seconds.
I think we’re going to learn a lot
about what this team is made of. We’ve said all year,
“How does this team respond to adversity?” We never quit
last week, which I love, but we have to learn how to
respond better. That’s what this week is all about: Can
you respond and get better? Can you take one step
forward? Can you be better than you were last
I’ll admit, I’m not one that understands the wide-zone
scheme that well, but there isn’t always the same hole
here and there. And if you’ve got guys that are quick
and strong and can shoot gaps, it blows things up. So, I
do think there has to be a level of evolution.
• If they’re coming off
the edge, like they did a lot last week against Oklahoma
State, can we pull it and throw it to the slot, who’s
got nobody on top of him anymore? Do you implement some
bubble-type screens? Maybe some play-action, where
you’ve got guys dragging across the middle?
• If you can get them
backing off the edge, now you do have those holes open
up and the receivers can get on their blocks, which
we’ve been really good at all year. But, if they’re
shooting off the edge, the receiver can’t block him, and
it’s a man that’s coming free that you can’t account
• I think Gerry Bohanon
has been so pegged as a run-first quarterback, he’s
maybe overcompensating, trying to be a pocket passer.
Use your legs, they’re a weapon. If the pocket’s
breaking down and you’ve got a gap, tuck it and run.
Yes, I love that he’s keeping his eyes downfield, but if
they’re in a man-free package and there’s a gap, take
what you can get.
• We can’t continue to beat
ourselves. Penalties killed us the other night (9 for 58
yards). Those penalties probably didn’t make or break
the game, win or lose, but it sure gave a lot of
advantages to Oklahoma State.
• There was one on that last scoring
drive, where Matt Jones was called for unnecessary
roughness at the end of a Spencer Sanders run. That’s
part of that competitive maturity that Coach Aranda
talked about. We have to be at our best in the most
pressurized situations, when things are maybe going bad.
You just can’t have a penalty like that.
• The defense kept you in the game,
getting three turnovers, but the offense has to be able
to capitalize and gets points off turnovers. We were
plus-3 in turnovers against Oklahoma State, and lost. If
we get anything off those turnovers, it’s a different
Keys to the
• Don’t let
that one loss shoot your confidence, but let this light
a fire. Let this shape you and mold you, and use it to
your advantage. A week from now, I think we’re going to
look back and figure out if we took advantage of the
opportunity and the growing and learning that can take
place, by how we play on Saturday against West Virginia.
• Having linebacker Terrel Bernard
back is huge. I think you probably missed a little bit
of Terrel, especially with those breakdowns up the
middle. When we took that penalty late to make it
third-and-long, and Spencer Sanders had a big gain, I
think with Terrel you have a shot at potentially
stopping him and forcing them to kick a field goal on
4th-and-10. But now, Matt Jones has experience in a
really tough environment. You live and you learn, and
you take the hand you’re dealt.
• Given what the last six quarters
have looked like for us, I think you’re going to
see a lot more defenses stacking the box and forcing
Gerry to throw the ball. It’s hard as a quarterback to
throw those hot routes when you’re throwing it three
yards downfield. But, that’s where you’ve got to trust
the receiver, too, because if they can make one guy
miss, he’s going to get some yards and pick up a first
• West Virginia is another defense
that’s hard to run against, but we’ve got to figure out
different ways to run the ball. We’re at our best when
Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith are moving the chains, and
then it opens up other things.
• In the passing game, we have to be
more dynamic. You’ve got to figure out how to get
receivers Tyquan Thornton and R.J. Sneed more involved
and engaged. That was the first time in a long time that
R.J. didn’t have a catch, and we only targeted him two
or three times. He needs to be a big part of the game
• West Virginia’s struggled on
offense, especially in the running game. Leddie Brown
had a good game against us up there last year, rushing
for 93 yards and scoring two touchdowns. But, as a team,
they’re only averaging 112 yards rushing per game, and a
lot of that came against LIU.
• The key defensively is to take
away the run game and make them one-dimensional. Jarret
Doege is more of a pocket passer, he’s not a runner, but
you have to put some pressure on him and force him to
make some bad throws, like you did last week against
Spencer Sanders. They turned it over four times in a
30-24 loss at Maryland, and he threw two picks against
us last year in a 27-21, double-overtime loss in
• Expect it to be close. Four of the
last five games in this series have been decided by one
score, including a 17-14 win by the Bears two years ago
at McLane Stadium. And this year, other than a 66-0
blowout of Long Island, all of West Virginia’s games
have come down to the wire. They lost on last-second
field goals to Oklahoma and Texas Tech the last two
• Look, football is weird this year.
Clemson’s not in the Top 25, Cincinnati controls its
destiny and has a shot to make the College Football
Playoffs, and you see upsets every week. That’s why we
don’t need to panic as fanbases. We need to rally,
because that’s what our team is doing. They’re not
panicking, they’re rallying.
• The 11 a.m. starts can be
challenging, but they’re a lot harder on the road than
they are at home. It’s just different, but the time’s
the time, go out and play ball. At least you’re not
sitting around waiting all day. And I would think after
losing to Oklahoma State, nobody wants to sit around and
wait. So, use it to your advantage. I know Coach Aranda
doesn’t like waiting around. Get there, it’s business
and let’s go.
Former Baylor quarterback Nick
Florence (2009-12) led the Bears to a Holiday Bowl
victory over #17 UCLA in 2012. He now serves as
Associate Athletics Director for Major