By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
No. 17 Baylor football bounced back in a big way following its week two 26-20 road loss to No. 12 Brigham Young University. The Bears suffered from a slow start but eventually broke free toward a 42-7 blowout win over Texas State University Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium.
One problem from the game Saturday that carried over from the BYU loss was the fact that the team wasn’t “playing green.” Head coach Dave Aranda emphasizes playing green over playing yellow or red.
“Playing green, playing fast, playing authentically, putting themselves out there and not holding back for the majority of the game,” Aranda said.
When an athlete plays yellow, he’s hesitant and not playing at full speed. If a player is competing under the red category, he’s hurting himself and the team by not playing with the right type of confidence and ability.
Aranda, now in his third year, started this idea and tries to get his guys to play green as much as possible. In Baylor’s 42-7 win over Texas State, it took awhile for the team to play green after a lackluster first half, but once it found its footing, success followed.
“Some of it is going through it,” Aranda said. “The other thing for us as coaches is how we respond to it, because we’re either putting water on the fire or putting gas on the fire. Then the other piece of that is just creating more of those situations in practice, so they feel that pressure and are able to play green.”
The Bears led 21-7 at the halfway mark, but the margin was wider than it may have seemed. The team had to rally around each other in order to perform at a higher level in the ensuing half.
“We know what we’re capable of,” sixth-year senior wide receiver Gavin Holmes said. “We just have to go out and play our game and execute. That was the message going into the second half. We did make some mistakes offensively in the second half [turnovers], but we rallied together and were able to bounce back from those.”
Senior safety Al Walcott echoed that message, as he said the secondary in particular had a lot to fix in order to play green like Aranda preaches.
“Going into halftime, we knew we had a lot of things to fix, especially in the back end,” Walcott said. “We knew we had to dial in and fix those things, and that’s what we did as a whole, even as a team. Everybody knew we had to pick each other up, and that’s what we did.”
The Bears (2-1) responded with 21 unanswered points in the second half, cruising to the blowout victory. Next week, Baylor hits the road for Ames, Iowa, for its first conference battle against Iowa State University.
The Bears upset the Cyclones (3-0) by a score of 31-29 in Waco last year, and they will look to “stay dialed in” by playing green.
“We are really resilient,” Walcott said. “And we’re going to stay dialed in and focused and try to get better each and every day.”