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Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus :: Baylor Bears

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2010 Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus

Game 1: SMU Mustangs (9.5.10) :: Game 2: @ New Mexico Lobos (9.11.10) :: Game 3: Texas Longhorns (9.18.10) :: Game 4: @ Iowa St. Cyclones (10.2.10) :: Game 5: Baylor Bears (10.09.10) :: Game 6: Oklahoma St. Cowboys :: Game 7: @ Colorado Buffaloes (10.23.10) :: Game 8: @ Texas A&M Aggies (10.30.10) :: Game 9: Missouri Tigers (11.06.10) :: Game 10: @ Oklahoma Sooners (11.13.10) :: Game 11: Weber St. Wildcats (11.20.10) :: Game 12: Houston Cougars (11.27.10)

General Information

Opponent Baylor
Nickname Bears
Location Waco, TX
Enrollment 14,769
Conference Big 12
Head Coach Art Briles
2009 Record 4-8, 1-7
Starters Returning 7 Offense : 5 Defense
Blogs Bear Crawl
Links 2010 Post Spring Prospectus

Join me after the jump for a closer look at the Bears.

Statistics

Statistic Baylor Texas Tech
Pass Offense 242.33 (37) 386.77 (2)
Rush Offense 100.58 (108) 84.00 (115)
Total Offense 342.92 (85) 470.77 (4)
Scoring Offense 20.75 (101) 37.00 (7)
Pass Efficiency 121.10 (85) 143.79 (19)
Sacks Allowed 2.58 (96) 2.38 (87)
Pass Defense 121.10 (85) 225.62 (73)
Rush Defense 178.75 (98) 126.77 (38)
Total Defense 405.58 (94) 352.38 (49)
Scoring Defense 27.25 (72) 22.46 (41)
Pass Efficiency Defense 123.10 (48) 117.38 (35)
Sacks 1.50 (96) 3.09 (4)
Tackles For Loss 4.17 (117) 6.46 (34)
Turnover Margin -0.42 (87) -0.46 (94)


Top Returners

Category Player
Rushing Jay Finely :: 79 Rushes : 370 Yards : 1 TD
Passing Nick Florence :: 165/266 : 1,786 Yards : 9 INT : 6 TD
Receiving Kendall Wright :: 66 Receptions : 740 Yards : 4 TD
Tackles Antonio Johnson :: 35 Solo : 34 Assists : 69 Total
Sacks Tracy Robertson :: 3 Solo : 0 Assists : 31 Yards : 3.0 Total
Interceptions Chance Casey :: 2 INT : 66 Yards : 1 TD


Key Losses and Returning Impact Players

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on the opponent, but I try my best. If I have something wrong, please let me know and I'll correct or revise as necessary.

Key Losses:

C J.D. Walton, WR David Gettis, WR Ernest Smith, LB Joe Pawelek, LB Antonio Jones, S Jordan Lake and S Jeremy Williams.

Impact Offensive Player :: QB Robert Griffin, III:

For a true freshman, Griffin was really, really good. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't perfect, but he elevated the Bears to a point that they were relevant and being discussed. Griffin rushed for 843 yards and 13 touchdowns and threw for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns. To say that he was the Baylor offense in 2008 is an understatement and if he can even remotely duplicate his freshman year, the Bears should be better in 2010.

Impact Defensive Player :: DT Phil Taylor:

Potential. Taylor had / has all of the potential in the world to be a dominant force. Taylor was a highly rated prospect with a commitment at Penn St., but Taylor has to be better than 25 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and 0.5 sacks.

Coach Speak:

Head Coach Art Briles on developing depth this spring:

"I thought our guys held the proper mentality throughout the spring," Briles said. "It can get a little repetitive, but you can’t get better looking out the window. You have to get out there and practice. One of our main objectives the last couple of years is to develop quality depth to play in the Big 12 South. We’ve got a bunch of guys who are capable of playing."

Spring Chatter:

  • Youth Keys Spring Game: The younger players showed up to play during the spring game, including QB Nick Florence and WR's Terrance Williams and Josh Gordon:
    Florence, who replaced Griffin after he went down in the third game of last season, completed 20 of 31 passes while hitting Terrance Williams with a 66-yard touchdown pass and Josh Gordon with a 40-yard touchdown pass.

    "Last year, I learned everything on the run, so this spring has been real good for me," Florence said. "Some things were a little off for our offense today, but we still made some good plays. I like the way our young guys are stepping up."

    Williams and Gordon will play much bigger roles as sophomores in the fall after combining for four catches for 68 yards as freshmen last season. Both bring superb speed to the table at wide receiver, and Gordon has tremendous strength to go with his 6-3, 220-pound frame.

    "I’m the biggest wide receiver out here, and I’m a north-south runner who isn’t going to do a lot of juking," Gordon said. "If I have the opportunity, I’m going to run over people."

  • Receivers Are Young, But Plentiful: The Baylor receivers don't have a lot of experience, but there's more than a handful:
    "We’re real young at receiver, but I don’t care if they’re 18 or 28," Briles said. "It’s all about making plays. We’re just looking at who can get the job done right now."

    With his speed and superb hands, Wright is the Bears’ top returning receiver after catching 116 passes for 1,389 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons. He’ll be joined at inside receiver by senior Krys Buerck, redshirt freshman Darius Jones and true freshman Tevin Reese, who enrolled at Baylor this semester after grayshirting last fall.

  • Linebackers Still Solid: Despite graduating two of their three starting linebackers, there's still plenty of talent:
    Baylor coach Art Briles believes his stable of linebackers will carry on the tradition of solid linebacker play from Pawelek.

    "Joe provided and lived leadership and dependability," Briles said. "He had the utmost character, and you knew what you were going to get from him every time he showed up. But we feel like we’ve got a lot of football players like that. All these guys need is an opportunity and experience."

    Stepping in for Pawelek at middle linebacker will be senior Chris Francis and redshirt freshman Chris McAllister. After playing in a reserve role for three seasons, Francis feels prepared to make a bigger impact following a solid junior year in which he collected 45 tackles.

    "I really like playing middle linebacker because you have to know so much about both sides of the ball," Francis said. "I just can’t wait to get it going. I learned from playing with Joe (Pawelek) because he was such a student of the game. When you’re as prepared as he is, your reactions are better and you know where to go."

    After redshirting last season, McAllister might have the biggest upside with his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and athleticism. As a senior middle linebacker at Converse Judson in 2008, McAllister collected 112 tackles with two sacks and three fumble recoveries.

  • Confident in C Blake: Biles is very confident that center will not be a problem with Phillip Blake taking over for J.D. Walton:
    Offensive tackle should be a strong point with senior Danny Watkins back on the left side and sophomore Ivory Wade moving from guard to right tackle. Meanwhile, Philip Blake has switched from right tackle to center. "I don’t know if there will be a better offensive tackle in the Big 12 than Danny," Briles said. "Ivory fits better at tackle because he can use his ability and length. Anytime you lose a center it’s a crucial spot to replace, but we like Philip’s ability."
  • Competition in Secondary: There's a good chance that incoming freshmen Ahmad Dixon and Prince Kent could make an impact in the fall:
    Baylor brings in two talented recruits in Prince Kent and Ahmad Dixon in the secondary, along with a few others, but the Bears have three seniors and sophomore Chance Casey leaving the spring with starting positions. The fall camp could play host to heated competition from the talented youngsters.
  • Lombardi Award Watch for Watkins: LT Danny Watkins will be a senior, but has already been drafted:
    Watkins became a JUCO All-American at Butte (Calif.) College before coming to Baylor, after he didn't play high school football. Of course, the British Columbia native played hockey. Before playing football in California, he was working as a fireman in his native country.

    Now, even if the NFL doesn't come calling for the 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman, he can go back home to continue his career.

    "It’s an honor and a privilege to be selected in the CFL draft," Watkins said in a release. "It’s definitely an exciting time for me and I’m anxious to see what awaits as I head into my senior year here at Baylor."

    Watkins was named to the Lombardi Award watch list last week, and is gearing up for his second season starting for the Bears.

vs. Texas Tech:

For whatever reason Baylor has played Texas Tech really well the past two season and I think it's a bit disconcerting for most Texas Tech fans to think that Baylor played Texas Tech so darned close. If you go back and look at this past year, I think that most of the comments were about Potts not playing up to your collective expectations. It wasn't just Potts, but it was inconsistency at the receiver, the defense gave up big plays that kept the Bears hanging around, etc. Similar excuses/ reasons can be given for 2008 where Harrell had a broken hand, Crabtree had a bum knee and the team essentially knew that they weren't playing for much after having "it" handed to them against Oklahoma. Perhaps this is a situation where the team just wasn't getting up for Baylor and it being the last game in a long season, the motivation just wasn't there.

In 2010, I think things change a bit. The Bears are replacing two huge playmakers on defense in Pawelek and Lake. Not to mention, Walton along the offensive line and Gettis at receiver are really nothing to sneaze at. Obviously, the return of a healthy Robert Griffin is what Art Briles and Baylor fans are hoping makes the difference. And as good as Griffin was his freshman season, and he was very good, football is more about the talent that you have around a singularly great player. A great player (I'm using the term loosely here, not trying to debate if Griffin is great or not) doesn't make a team and right now Baylor just doesn't have enough depth to get past that .500 record hurdle.

Aside from losing Pawelek, they've lost both safeties and the guy that everyone was clamoring would have this huge impact, the aforementioned DT Taylor, didn't impact squat as he was overweight and hardly had a significant impact on the defense. If Baylor wants to do something on defense, I tend to think that it starts with Taylor making a significant improvement and getting a real push along the defensive line. This will keep things simple for two new safeties and two new linebackers trying to cover a conference that still has more than a handful of teams that play the spread.

Baylor does have freshman options, especially at defensive back where Ahmad Dixon, a 4-star recruit and one of Briles' biggest recruiting catches, is a tremendous player. If Dixon can contribute immediately, then I think Baylor's defense might be just fine, but that's a lot to ask from a true freshman.

I still like Texas Tech in this game. I tend to think the talent gap between Texas Tech and Baylor is still too wide.