Monday, March 25, 2013
Baylor figuring out its new identity
By David Ubben
Baylor coach Art Briles' track record gives any bystander reason to have faith that despite losing talented receivers like Lanear Sampson and Terrance Williams, the Bears will find others on their roster to fill the void.
If Saturday's scrimmage is any indication, Briles is getting ready to reward that faith.
Quarterback Bryce Petty, the likely heir to Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence's throne -- both set the school record for passing yards in consecutive seasons -- completed 22 of 32 passes for 326 yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception.
He's not officially the starter, and Seth Russell completed 20 of 29 passes for 220 yards.
Still, a pair of receivers had strong days, and the safe bet is you haven't heard of either of them. Sophomore Jay Lee had seven grabs for 111 yards, highlighted by a 50-yard score from Petty.
"It kind of translates from the way he's been working out," Briles told reporters. "He's been exceptional in workouts, exceptional all winter in the weight room in strength and conditioning, and he was exceptional today. It just shows that if you do things right for a long time, pretty soon it pays off for you."
Lee didn't have a catch last season and redshirted in 2011, and Brandon Brown is still looking for his first career catch, too. The former minor league baseball player is a walk-on but caught a game-high eight balls for 116 yards.
Running back Lache Seastrunk broke loose for a 28-yard touchdown run but finished with just 24 yards on six carries.
Ultimately, you've got to be pleased with Petty's progress, and his completion percentage and production have to be encouraging moving forward.
"Every time I get out here, my confidence is growing," Petty told reporters. "Every day is something new, something to get better at, something to grow on. I'm starting from the bottom and trying to work my way up."
Penn State transfer Shawn Oakman, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound sophomore, had two sacks to lead all defenders.
The offense gave up eight sacks, which could mean one of two things: The quarterbacks don't quite feel comfortable making decisions quickly enough just yet, or the pass rush is improving. I'm betting it's a little bit of both, but there's only so much stock you can put in a spring scrimmage.
Earlier in the week, the Bears debuted some pretty sharp-looking uniforms, too. I'm loving these. Here's a look:
I love everything about those, and I'm glad to finally see the terrible bear claw mark gone from the pants, replaced by a more tasteful, subtle bear paw on the shoulder.
Gotta love what's in store for Baylor next season.