Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Weak and Strong: Baylor Bears
By David Ubben
Turnover is an annual tradition in college football, but with that, teams' strengths and weaknesses constantly shift, too. Today, we'll wrap our series looking at the biggest strengths and weaknesses for each Big 12 team.
We'll close with those Baylor boys in Waco.
Strongest position: Running back
Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk emerged as the Big 12's best running back over the final month of the season, sprinting to a 1,000-yard season and returning to Waco for a highly anticipated encore. He's the Big 12's most dangerous player with the ball in his hands and will get plenty of chances to showcase his game-breaking speed. He's sometimes a bit too ambitious and and takes losses in the backfield, but it's definitely worth it, and he's working on being more north-south through the first line of the defense this spring.
He's not alone, either. Running back Glasco Martin "runs angry," Bears coach Art Briles told me on my visit earlier this month. We've seen that to be the case over his career, but the duo definitely balances each other out well. Martin is a more physical runner capable of earning tough yards, and he'll come in handy in short-yardage situations this season. The depth is impressive, but the Bears' 1-2 punch at running back is the Big 12's best entering the season. I don't know if I buy talk of them both hitting 1,000 yards this year, but they're going to be tough to handle all season.
Weakest position: Defensive tackle
Beau Blackshear and Javonte Magee have potential, but both combined for just 1.5 tackles for loss in spot duty last season, and they'll be forced into starting duty this season. Neither of them have a career start, though reserve Trevor Clemons-Valdez made three last season before being passed up on the depth chart this spring. Baylor's had issues stopping the run, and though it should be better at safety and defensive end this year, that development won't look nearly quite as impressive if the teeth of the defense doesn't toughen up a bit.
The position isn't a huge weakness, but when you look at the rest of the Bears' roster, it pops out to me as the biggest question mark on a defense that should be improved.