Bears polishing up before conference

Baylor running back JaMycal Hasty (6) breaks past a tackle attempt by Rice cornerback Andrew Bird (15) during the first half of the game Saturday in Houston. The Bears scored all of their touchdowns in the first half of the matchup against the Owls but could not make it into the end zone during the second half, taking the victory 21-13. Associated Press

By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer

Prior to the Rice and Baylor matchup Saturday, The Dallas Morning News predicted the Bears to come out victorious 49-14. The 21-13 victory came as a surprise to many, and led to some points of concern for head coach Matt Rhule Monday during his weekly press conference.

Junior quarterback Charlie Brewer was 20-27 for over 300 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown. The Austin native also led the team with 58 rushing yards, contributing to nearly half of the team’s rushing yardage against the Owls (124). Although it sounds like a successful day for the Bears, all their points came in the first half and the offense flattened in the second.

Rhule said the biggest point of improvement going forward will be in the run game.

“We were beyond deficient on Saturday and maybe it doesn’t show up in the yardage quite as much but when we needed to get it,” Rhule said. “It’s one thing to run the ball on jet sweeps and things to get some free yardage […] You have to run the ball if you want to be a good team and we weren’t able to run it on third and one, weren’t able to run it on fourth and one. We were outnumbered at the point of attack and couldn’t make a guy miss.”

There’s room for growth for Baylor football, that’s something Rhule points out every week — that no week will ever be perfect. On a positive note, Rhule said he was happy watching his team take responsibility for their play and learning from “paying attention to signs.” Senior defensive end James Lockhart told Baylor Bear Insider Jerry Hill that the game showed the team they needed to be prepared to play from start to finish.

“In a weird way, this really was a good challenge, especially for the defensive side,” Lockhart said. “We’ve been playing 30 plays the first two games, so this was a good way to get out and play a four-quarter game. I liked how the defense responded. Not satisfied, but we’re starting to kind of get in a groove of playing four quarters of football.”

Sunday was a day to sit down, analyze and correct some things as the Bears prepare for their first Big 12 conference matchup against Iowa State this weekend. Learning from last week’s mistakes, another big point of emphasis to Rhule is to get life back on the sidelines.

“When we were getting tackled ,we weren’t even running over there and helping them back up. We were just kind of going back to the line of scrimmage. Kind of going through the motions,” Rhule said. “At the end of the day, like I said, the mission is to go 1-0 every week. Above the mission, we have a standard. We didn’t play to our standard, but we did find a way to go 1-0 so hopefully we learn from it. Hopefully we have a much better week this week.”

Rhule’s focus is always on improvement, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t proud of his team and their development. He said he hopes when people look at the Baylor Bears, they see a team with passion.

“I hope they see a disciplined team, a team with a lot of talent,” Rhule said. “We’re like everyone else early in the season. Everyone is a work in progress. Look at the scores. Look at the scores in our own conference. There are 10 teams in the Big 12; only three are undefeated right now. It’s difficult to win in college football. We don’t even know what we are.”