2010 Record | 7-6 (4-4 in Big 12)
Returning Starters | 13 (8 on offense, 5 on defense)
Key Losses | The Bears lose over 1,200 yards rushing from RB Jay Finley and their second leading receiver WR Josh Gordon (42 catches for 714 yards and 7 TD). OT Danny Watkins is lost on the line and he was one of the best in the nation last year. TE Brad Taylor (20 catches for 242 yards and 2 TD) also graduated. Defensively the Bears lost a lot of production. How about your top six of your top 7 leading tacklers from last year: S Byron Landor (127 tackles), S Tim Atchinson (72 tackles), LB Chris Francis (72 tackles), LB Antonio Johnson (70 tackles), DL Phil Taylor (62 tackles) and DB Mikail Baker (49 tackles). That's a lot of production to lose from a defense that finished 104th in the nation (yes, Texas Tech's defense was worse).
Key Additions | There are a couple of JUCO guys, including DL Nick Johnson to help shore up the line and DB Josh Wilson.
Impact Offensive Player | No question, it's Robert Griffin, III. He's not just a runner, completing 67% of his passes for 3,501 yards, 22 touchdown and only 8 interceptions. Add to that 653 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns and you've got a difficult player to corral.
Impact Defensive Player | I going to try to be ahead of the curve on this one, but you won't think that a guy that finished 19th on the team in tackles DB Ahmad Dixon would be on this list, but Dixon was one of the more highly rated defensive backs the year before last and he played quite a bit as a true freshman. I think you could also add freshman DE Tevin Elliott to the list as he had 5.0 sacks and 9.0 TFL last year, but he's listed with the second team as of the end of spring.
|Texas St. Bobcats
|@ New Mexico Lobos
|@ Kansas Jayhawks
|Texas A&M Aggies
|Kansas St. Wildcats
|@ Oklahoma Sooners
|Iowa St. Cyclones
|@ Texas Longhorns
|Oklahoma St. Cowboys
|@ Missouri Tigers
vs. Texas Tech | Perhaps the biggest addition to the Baylor team is the addition of defensive coordinator Phil Bennett. Personally, I would have been quite happy had he been hired by Tuberville at Texas Tech. Bennett didn't have the best teams at SMU, but he's had a very good track record as a defensive coordinator (Kansas St., Texas A&M and Pitt). As much as Texas Tech fans are hoping that with a new defensive coordinator (Chad Glasgow) the defense will improve, Baylor fans are most likely thinking the same thing. The one item that I think that most fans overlook is that despite what a coordinator does, it does take time for the plan to take shape, so fans of both teams probabably need to think that it's going to take a year to really make a difference.
As mentioned above, Bennett inherits a defense that loses six of their top seven returning tacklers and this was a defense that finished 104th in total defense, 114th in pass defense and 79th in rush defense. There's only so much that a new scheme can fix. Obviously, you have to remain hopeful that a new scheme will help and a big part of the pass defense getting better will be improving the pass rush (90th in the nation in sacks) and getting behind the line of scrimmage (92st in the nation in tackles for loss).
The offense was sterling last year, good for 13th in the nation in total offense. The loss of Gordon is significant, he was a huge big-play receiver for the Bears, averaging 17 YPC, but WR Kendall Wright is the second best player on the team and he's very good. Love his speed and overall talent. With Finely's graduation, the Bears will turn to RB Jarred Salubi (26 carries, 215 yards and 2 TD), RB Terrance Ganaway (46 carries, 299 yards and 4 TD) and RB Glasco Martin (9 carries 21 yards and 1 TD). Although the biggest loss for Baylor will be the departure of Watkins, who was a 1st round pick in last year's NFL draft and anchored that line. Even with the loss of Watkins, Baylor does return the rest of their line, led by RT Ivory Wade and C Phillip Blake.