Team chemistry plays vital role in gridiron success

Baylor football beat Wofford College 69-3 at Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday, August 31, 2013. Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor

Baylor football beat Wofford College 69-3 at Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday, August 31, 2013.  Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
Baylor football beat Wofford College 69-3 at Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
By Parmida Schahhosseini
Sports Writer

Chemistry is not just a science, but also an art. A team can have all the talent in the world, but without chemistry, the team can falter. Just look at the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers and how they flopped with an all-star roster. Fortunately for Baylor’s high-powered offense, the chemistry continues to grow.

Baylor’s offensive firepower has the nation watching as head coach Art Briles has turned the Bears into consistent contenders with a notoriously explosive offensive attack. Baylor put up 692 yards of offense against Wofford, the third most in program history.

After two years of stellar quarterback play from Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence, Petty displayed that the Briles system is not a fluke. Petty threw for 312 yards and completed 19-of-24 passes for two touchdowns.
“He played well,” senior running back Glasco Martin said. “He was poised and made good decisions down the field for the most part. His arm looked strong and I thought he did a great job.”

Consistent quarterback play is important, but football games are won in the trenches. Baylor’s offensive line was productive by allowing only two sacks and giving junior quarterback Bryce Petty plenty of time to operate in the pocket. The receivers benefited from the offensive execution and relished the opportunities to produce big numbers.

“Without those guys I wouldn’t be getting the ball to score touchdowns,” junior wide receiver Antwan Goodley said. “Those guys are great. I don’t worry about them and I have faith in them 100 percent that they will get the job done on every play.”

The dominant offensive line gave receivers time to separate from the defender. Goodley had a breakout game making the most of his five receptions gaining 90 yards and scoring a touchdown. Despite the production, the only thing on Goodley’s mind is contributing to the team.

“Doing what ever I can to help my team win,” Goodley said. “Producing.”

This unselfish attitude allows for Baylor’s chemistry to strengthen. The faith the players have in each other leads to better production, especially when the opposition turns up the pressure.
Goodley’s production also struck a cord with Briles.

“I think we will find out as we go along,” Briles said. “Just like Bryce Petty his identity will be called out by other people or by himself, but I think we got a little taste of what Antwan can do. We backed off him pretty quickly the other night, he got a little bit nicked, took a shot in the back, but he’s just a big powerful guy that can stretch the field and also catch underneath stuff. He can get some yards after the catch because of his physical presence. He will just continue to get better and better as the season goes on and then we can involve him a little more.”

Football is a team sport and great play from position players can only go so far. The offense needs to work together in order to get the job done. Baylor’s balanced offense was on display against Wofford. Baylor scored five rushing touchdowns on 281 yards and three passing touchdowns on 411 yards.

The Bears must put together a cohesive performance in order to replicate last weekend’s production. Junior running back and Heisman hopeful Lache Seastrunk started his campaign strong, rushing for 111 yards on 11 carries for two touchdowns. Despite the numbers Seastrunk puts up, he doesn’t take all the credit for his production.

“I move as far as my O-linemen move, so the better they are, the better I am,” Seastrunk said.

Seastrunk will also lean on his receivers to carry the load.

The receivers’ speed and physical presence will be important in order to stretch the field.

The extra burst of speed allowed senior inside receiver Tevin Reese to run past a defender to catch a 44-yard pass from Petty.

“T-Reese with the dramatic catch, Corey Coleman, Robbie Rhodes, AG [Antwan Goodley] Levi [Norwood] we have a complete set.” Seastrunk said. “The possibilities are endless. Anybody can catch the ball, so it’s a wonderful thing to have.”

The high-octane offense is firing up the Baylor fan base.

Against Wofford, 44,989 people attended the game, second most for an opening day game since Floyd Casey opened.

“The crowd was just unbelievable,” Briles said. “We have been hearing that it was going to be a great crowd and it was. It was an enthusiastic crowd, it was a Baylor crowd.”