By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 record: 8-5, 4-5 in Big 12, won Holiday Bowl.
Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1
Top players returning: OL Cyril Richardson, RB Lache Seastrunk, S Ahmad Dixon, WR Tevin Reese, LB Eddie Lackey, DB Sam Holl, LB Bryce Hager, K Aaron Jones.
Need replacing: WR Terrance Williams, QB Nick Florence, WR Lanear Sampson, S Mike Hicks, C Ivory Wade, DT Gary Mason Jr.
Bryce Petty must follow in the footsteps of the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and the Big 12's leader in total offense last season. But the junior quarterback made it clear during the spring that he's ready to step in and become Baylor's next productive quarterback.
At 6-3 and 230 pounds, Petty has the ability to run with speed and power. He also has a strong and accurate arm. The biggest questions are rebuilding parts of the offensive line and finding more receivers to help support senior Tevin Reese, who averaged 18 yards a catch last season.
The past two years, though, Baylor has been more than just a pass-happy offense. The Bears were second in the Big 12 in rushing two years ago and led the Conference in rushing last season. Junior Lache Seastrunk, who transferred from Oregon, hit his stride in the second half of 2012 and averaged 138 yards per game. Senior Glasco Martin is an excellent between-the-tackles runner who compliments Seastrunk's game-breaking skills.
The Bears won five of their last six games when the defense improved. The hope is that seven returning starters will maintain and continue that improvement. Senior linebacker Eddie Lackey is a play maker while junior middle linebacker Bryce Hager anchors the middle. Senior defensive backs Ahmad Dixon, Sam Holl and Joe Williams anchor what should be the best secondary in Briles' time in Waco.
Troy Baker, a junior to be who started last season, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during spring practice. After surgery and rehab, Baylor hopes that Baker will be available to return to the field by Oct. 1. Receiver Tuswani Copeland suffered a torn Achilles tendon and is expected to miss the 2013 season.
Bryce Petty originally committed to Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer prior to his senior season at Midlothian (Texas) High in 2008. When Fulmer got fired and replaced by Lane Kiffin, Kiffin told Petty he wouldn't be needed at Tennessee.
Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett made a switch in the secondary with two of his senior starters. Ahmad Dixon moved from nickelback to strong safety while Sam Holl switched from strong safety to nickelback.
Baylor opens the season with four consecutive home games. The season opener Aug. 31 is against Wofford, an FCS school. The Bears were originally scheduled to play at SMU but SMU backed out of the game in mid-February.
Coach Art Briles on ...
The national perception that Baylor would rather throw it than run it:
"It's kind of a misconception we appreciate. People think of us as a passing football team. "But if it's time to get dirty, we're going to get dirty."
On the upset of top-ranked Kansas State highlighted by a fourth quarter goal-line stand:
"To have a chance to be believable, you have to have some realistic results, which, we got some in the Kansas State game. We made some plays that had to be made that kind of spurred us on through the rest of the season and certainly gave us a lot more confidence defensively."
On junior quarterback Bryce Petty:
"His skill set is off the charts. Physically, he has a chance to be a very dominant quarterback, but it's a very mental game, so what you have to do is match it all together, your physicalness and your intellectualness and creativeness and instinctiveness. It all has to come together."
|Oct. 5||West Virginia*|
|Oct. 12||at Kansas State*|
|Oct. 19||Iowa State*|
|Oct. 26||at Kansas*|
|Nov. 16||vs. Texas Tech* (at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas)|
|Nov. 23||at Oklahoma State*|
|Nov. 30||at TCU*|