The challenges of preparing for Baylor

Standout RB Lache Seastrunk is one of the Bears' many offensive weapons. AP Photo/Mo Khursheed/CSM

For the past couple of years, coaches often have told me that Baylor’s offense is perhaps the most difficult in the country for which to prepare.

But why? Which pieces and concepts make it that way, and how will they factor into the 7-0 Bears’ final stretch, beginning Thursday with a potential showcase game against Oklahoma?

Baylor is averaging 63.9 points per game and 9.03 yards per play, comfortably first in the Football Bowl Subdivision in both categories. The team has just nine three-and-outs all season.

“I’ll be watching,” one coach told me this week, referring to the big BU-OU matchup.

Here are his thoughts, along with those of some others, regarding what makes Baylor so difficult to defend and how the Sooners may go about trying to slow down the Bears.

Coach: “They put their receivers way out wide and create a bunch of space, trying to make you commit to the run or pass.

“That puts a lot of pressure on your outside linebackers. You have to be all-in for the run, but then they’ll spread it out and pass. So there’s a lot of gray area with those wide splits.

“They run the ball so well because the linebackers don’t know where to commit to because they’re afraid of you throwing bombs. Then Lache Seastrunk breaks off a 30-yard run. It’s not very exotic, but what they do, they do very well.”

This is a point that everyone I spoke with eventually mentioned or repeatedly mentioned. Baylor coach Art Briles’ specialty is his ability to make a football field seem larger than it is -- or at least to use more of it than most coaches. Spread offenses and tempo offenses are often interchanged, and incorrectly, but this is spread in the truest sense.