- David Ubben, College Football
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Each season, there's lots of turnover and change for every college program. What do the Big 12 teams need to do before next fall? Let's close the series with the Bears down in Waco.
1. Shore up the defense. Baylor saw some major growth late in the season, beginning with an eye-popping dominant performance against Kansas State. Phil Bennett's defense brings back a lot of talent from last year's team in linebackers Eddie Lackey and Bryce Hager, as well as talented safety Ahmad Dixon and defensive lineman Chris McAllister. The pieces are in place for some growth that would help Baylor make a lot more noise than it did in last year's eight-win season. You know about the offense, but developing and improving the defense over the offseason will be huge for this team's hopes in 2013.
2. Figure out what it has at quarterback. I think there's tons of promise ahead of Bryce Petty, but you never quite know for sure. You can't quite count out Seth Russell, who hailed from the same town as Nick Florence, but I'd be very surprised if Petty isn't clearly the guy once spring hits full speed. The bar is really high, though, after the last two seasons have seen Baylor's school record for passing yards fall. What can Petty do? What in this offense suits him best? How much do Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin need to carry the load while the junior gets used to handling this high-powered offense? Baylor needs to get a feel for that during the spring.
3. Find some help for Tevin Reese. Baylor's never had a shortage of weapons in this offense, but it needs to find some guys to fill in. The receivers aren't quite ready-made to step into a prime role like Terrance Williams was from 2011 to 2012. Reese is speedy, but he needs more help from the receivers underneath and in the intermediate routes in this offense. Baylor needs to find weapons, but incoming freshman Robbie Rhodes may make an impact come fall, too.
More offseason to-do lists: