Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Midseason review: Baylor
By David Ubben
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Record: 3-3, 0-2 in Big 12
The Bears were expected to challenge for a bowl game with Robert Griffin leading a talented offensive attack and an impressive defensive unit expected to show improvement. Baylor started the season with an upset victory at Wake Forest, but lost that momentum in the Bears’ next game when they fell to Connecticut. But it got worse the following week when Griffin was lost for the season against Northwestern State, likely ending any legitimate bowl hopes the Bears had. Coach Art Briles has his most talented collection of talent surrounding him this season with linebacker Joe Pawelek, safety Jordan Lake and defensive tackle Phil Taylor among the standouts. But replacing Griffin with freshman Nick Florence or senior Blake Szymanski is too steep of a drop in talent for the Bears to think about playing in December and beyond this season.
Most valuable offensive player, QB Robert Griffin: Even though he played in only three games, it’s hard not to give this award to the sophomore quarterback. His presence made the Bears think they could challenge for a bowl trip. With him gone, it will be another long year of waiting. One bright spot will be that Baylor plans to petition for a medical redshirt, giving him three years of eligibility after his rehabilitation.
Most valuable defensive player, LB Joe Pawelek: As usual, Pawelek has been the key for the Bears’ defense, leading the team with 56 tackles and 2.5 sacks, including a career-best 21 stops against Connecticut. He’ll be making his 41st straight start this week against Oklahoma State and appears headed to breaking Maurice Lane’s school record of 45 straight starts if he can stay healthy through the rest of the season. He will go down in Baylor annals as one of the school's top defensive players.