Friday, May 6, 2011
Baylor spring wrap
By David Ubben
2010 overall record: 7-6
2010 conference record: 4-4
Returning starters: Offense (8), Defense (5) P/K (1)
Top returners: QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright, WR Josh Gordon, DE Tevin Elliott, LB Elliot Coffey, WR Terrance Williams
Key losses: S Byron Landor, DT Phil Taylor, OL Danny Watkins, LB Antonio Johnson, RB Jay Finley, DB Mikhail Baker, DB Tim Atchison, LB Chris Francis
2010 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Jay Finley (1,218 yards)
Passing: Robert Griffin III* (3,501 yards)
Receiving: Kendall Wright* (952 yards)
Tackles: Byron Landor (127)
Sacks: Tevin Elliott* (5)
Interceptions: Prince Kent* (2)
Three spring answers
1. Doing business at running back. Finley took his 1,200 yards rushing to the NFL, and the Bears need a replacement. The combination of Terrance Ganaway and Jarred Salubi looks more than capable, and the Bears may mix in a bit of Glasco Martin, too.
2. Blue-chip recruit turned contributor. Ahmad Dixon sat behind two solid safeties a year ago, but the Bears lost both, and the former five-star signee looks likely to make a big impact at nickel back. Dixon gives them a high-level athlete that could be one of the league’s budding stars.
3. Big plays are possible. The Bears' defense got gashed plenty this spring, but it can take away some good things from a scrimmage that featured three defensive scores and eight touchdowns. Plays like that were missing last year. It’s small, yes, but plenty of big things start that way.
Three fall questions
1. Who’s going where? Baylor still has no depth chart on defense after the spring. Some things are easy to figure out, and new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett likely has a good idea of who his playmakers are, but piecing together the guys he’s going to ride with all fall will be a big task.
2. Big-game Bears? Baylor won most of the games it was supposed to last season but didn’t come close against the league’s top teams. Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State beat it soundly. If the Bears are going to be any kind of threat, they’ll have to show up in the big games. There’s no way to answer that in the spring.
3. Where’s the D? There are so few questions on offense, outside of maybe whether Gordon can become a truly big-time receiver. So, we’ll focus on the D. Once it figures out who’s playing, can it make a jump? That’s the biggest question facing a team that didn’t have much trouble getting into the end zone last year but a lot of trouble keeping everybody else in the league out. Baylor isn’t winning more than 7 or 8 games if the defense doesn’t get better.