Big 12: Trey Bryant

Lunch links: Gill on the track, expansion, rookie mini-camps

May, 3, 2010
5/03/10
12:30
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Realignment

A few reports from the rookie mini-camps that a couple of the Big 12's first-rounders attended over the weekend:

Baylor recruiting capsule

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
10:20
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Here's a look at Baylor's 2010 recruiting class.

Baylor Bears

Total class: 25

ESPNU 150: 1

By position: WR 4, DE 3, OT 3, CB 3, LB 2, DT 2, QB 2, G 2, S 2, ATH 1, RB 1

By state: Texas 20, Oklahoma 2, California 1, Florida 1, Georgia 1

Already enrolled in school: 4

The big ones: S Ahmad Dixon: The nation’s No. 3 safety is the best defensive recruit ever attracted by Art Briles. CB Prince Kent: Prep school transfer is formerly No. 5 national cornerback before spending season at Hargrave Military Academy.

Sleeper: LB Bryce Hager: Son of former Texas LB Britt Hager turned down a chance to walk on for the Longhorns to accept a scholarship offer from the Bears.

Needs met: The Bears added five defensive linemen after losing starters Jason Lamb and Trey Bryant and having Phil Taylor and Earl Patin enter their senior season. They added five players, including Dixon and Kent, in the secondary where they lost starters Jordan Lake and Jeremy Williams. And they added quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Tyrell Jenkins despite having Robert Griffin apparently for three more seasons.

Analysis: This was the best talent haul in Art Briles’ coaching tenure and arguably the best in the Bears’ Big 12 history. A massive infusion of help in the secondary should enable the Bears to better stand up against the passing barrage in the Big 12. The Bears added some much-needed depth in the trenches. The most important factor in getting the Bears into Big 12 contention will be Robert Griffin’s health. Adding the bigger second version of Robert Griffin to the program as an offensive lineman should help that in the future.

What Art Briles said: “Last year’s recruiting class was kind of about the offensive line and the receivers. This year the strength of the class is definitely the defense. Top to bottom this is a class that really fills a lot of needs for us. We feel real good about the way that the numbers fell for us this year.

Scouts Inc. grade/rankings: C-plus, sixth in Big 12.

Big 12 South recruiting needs

January, 21, 2010
1/21/10
12:18
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Here's a look at what each of the South Division teams need to address in terms of recruiting with signing day fast approaching.

Baylor

Defensive line: After losing starters Jason Lamb and Trey Bryant and having Phil Taylor and Earl Patin entering their senior seasons, the Bears need to add immediate depth. Xavier Ruben and Anthony Gonzales will help shore up the deficiencies and the Bears still are in the hunt for top prospects like Carlos Thompson and Byran Jones.

Secondary: Starters Jordan Lake and Jeremy Williams have graduated and four juniors in the two-deep roster will start their senior seasons. Coach Art Briles has already lured surprising strength in the defensive backfield with Ahmad Dixon, Tyler Stephenson and Prince Kent. That trio makes it one of the finest positional groupings for Baylor in recent history.

Robert Griffin’s redshirt season has lessened the immediate need at quarterback: With Griffin now having three years of eligibility remaining, recruits now see only a two-season window to play. But another Robert Griffin should help the Bears as well. Baylor coaches see the other Griffin, a junior college transfer from Coriscana Junior College, being able to contend for the starting position at right tackle from his first day in the program.

Oklahoma

Running back: With Chris Brown graduating and DeMarco Murray entering his senior season, the Sooners need some producers at the position. Bob Stoops has never hesitated to playing top freshman players in the past if they can help. Don’t be surprised if top recruits like Brennan Clay and Roy Finch get an early chance in 2010 with the Sooners.

Receiver: Ryan Broyles is entrenched in the slot, but the Sooners are looking all over for pass catchers who can challenge existing players. Recruits Kenny Stills, Joe Powell, Julian Wilson and Sheldon McClain all should challenge this summer to battle their way into the rotation.

Defensive tackle: Injuries and NFL declarations have riddled the Sooners’ depth at the postion. Gerald McCoy will leave early for the NFL draft with JaMarkus McFarland ready to take over. Adrian Taylor was set at the other position, but his nasty ankle injury sustained in the Sun Bowl has depleted the Sooners’ depth. Redshirt sophomore Casey Walker and four incoming freshmen are all that is in place as far as depth at the critical position.

Oklahoma State

Offensive line: The Cowboys lose four senior starting offensive linemen from the Cotton Bowl team, including the left side of their offensive line in tackle Russell Okung, guard Noah Franklin and center Andrew Lewis, as well as right tackle Brady Bond. Mike Gundy needs some immediate help at the position, both from existing players and incoming ones.

Defensive tackle: Starters Swanson Miller and Derek Burton both will graduate and top backups Shane Jarka and Chris Donaldson both will be senior this season. Defensive coordinator Bill Young needs to find some defensive linemen who can challenge for playing next season.

Linebackers: Young also will have to rebuild this group after the underrated group of Andre Sexton, Donald Booker and Patrick Lavine helped sparked the Cowboys’ surprising defensive growth last season. All will be gone this season, putting pressure to add some more contributors to add to the returning mix of players including James Thomas, Tolu Moala and Justin Gent.

Texas

Defensive end: With Sergio Kindle graduating and Sam Acho and Eddie Jones both entering their senior season, the Longhorns need a talent boost here. It also just happens to be the position where top target Jackson Jeffcoat would immediately fill the rather sizable hole.

The left side of the offensive line: Tackle Adam Ulatoski, guard Charlie Tanner and center Chris Hall combined for 114 starts during their careers.The Longhorns has some strong arriving talent, but they’ll still miss the leadership and savvy that this trio provided over the years.

Quarterback: Even with Garrett Gilbert seemingly entrenched as the Longhorns’ quarterback of the future, the Longhorns added depth with the commitments of Connor Wood and Colt’s little brother Case McCoy. It will make for some interesting competition this spring and fall as the rotation sorts itself out.

Texas A&M

Defensive end: The Aggies received a huge boost when Von Miller announced he would return for his senior season, but A&M needs to prepare for his departure -- particularly after losing starting defensive end Matt Moss and Miller’s backup Matt Featherston as departing seniors from 2009.

Tight end: Starter Jamie McCoy graduated and top replacements Kenny Brown and Craig Raschke both will be seniors next season. Adding at least one player would be beneficial as the Aggie coaches hope they can find a combination blocker/receiving threat at the position like McCoy was.

Offensive tackle: The Aggies lose bookend senior starters Michael Shumard and Lee Grimes. They do have Stephen Barrera and Danny Baker in the depth chart but would like more depth to help the line develop.

Texas Tech

Defensive line: The Red Raiders’ biggest need is at defensive end where all three players in the two-deep roster -- Brandon Sharpe, Ra’Jon Henley and Daniel Howard were seniors. At defensive tackle, Richard Jones departs as a senior and Colby Whitlock will be a senior next season. New coordinator James Willis needs to find some productive players in the trenches quickly.

Linebackers: Starters Bront Bird and Brian Duncan will be back as seniors next season, but Tech loses departing starter Marlon Williams on the other side. They need some depth to help build for the future at the position.

Quarterback: Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield will wage one of the closest-watched battles for playing time in the nation during the spring and summer. But both will be seniors, meaning the Red Raiders need to prepare for their departure by grooming some young talent like Scotty Young, a recent commitment at the position.

Bradford withstands another late hit

October, 10, 2009
10/10/09
4:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


NORMAN, Okla. -- It looks like just the presence of Sam Bradford has helped juice production in the Sooners' offense.

Chris Brown added a 4-yard touchdown with 3:48 left in the second quarter to boost Oklahoma's lead to 14-0.

The Sooners had struggled in losses against BYU and Miami, scoring three touchdowns in those two games.

Bradford's 49-yard pass to Brandon Caleb was the key play in that 80-yard scoring drive.

Also of note was a roughing-the-passer penalty by Joe Pawelek on Bradford that gave the Sooners a first down on the play before the touchdown.

Bradford appears to be playing pain free. His right knee, which was tweaked early in the game, appears to no longer be anything but a nuisance.

The Sooners even tried their no-huddle offense several times and appeared proficient in that favored rhythm. If they can get that formation working, it will be something that Big 12 foes will have to be concerned about.

And Bradford even withstood a sack by Trey Bryant early on the drive. Baylor previously had not notched any sacks against Oklahoma in the last three games.

Bradford has passed for 177 yards so far. And of his seven incompletions, four have been dropped by his receivers.

Sooners take 7-0 lead over Baylor

October, 10, 2009
10/10/09
4:36
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma took the lead on Chris Brown's 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down midway through the second half as Sam Bradford did a little of everything on the 12-play scoring drive.

Bradford completed 4 of 6 passes for 63 yards and withstood a late hit from Baylor nose tackle Trey Bryant, who hit his left shoulder rather than his injured right one.

The most impressive pass from Bradford might have been one of his incompletions. He whistled a pass into tight coverage, but it was dropped by Cameron Kenney.

He's 7 for 13 for 99 yards after three possessions, with four of his passes dropped. It appears that his footwork has been strong and he hasn't been hesitant to make throws into tight coverage.

Bears use trick plays to beat Wake Forest

September, 7, 2009
9/07/09
8:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Baylor coach Art Briles dug deep into his playbook for several key plays that flummoxed Wake Forest in the Bears' season-opening victory.

Wide receiver Ernest Smith, a former high school quarterback, threw an option pass to redshirt freshman Lanear Sampson for a 33-yard touchdown that provided the Bears' clinching touchdown in a 24-21 conquest of the Demon Deacons.

Defensive tackles Phil Taylor and Trey Bryant lined up as lead blockers in the offensive backfield in two short-yardage situations to give the Bears key first downs on both plays.

And multi-talented quarterback Robert Griffin hit a 59-yard punt from a quick-kick formation to pin Wake Forest at its 5 in the second quarter.

“We’ve got a lot of tricks left -- we only used three or four,” Griffin told the Waco Tribune-Herald after the game. “Coach Briles is an offensive genius.”

Briles said Monday that those gadget plays are part of his basic offensive philosophy.

"Honestly, we don't look at those as tricks at all," Briles said. "We don't even those words, it's just what we do. Those aren't tricks. We're just trying to do what we can to move the football and be productive.

"All of that is situational and part of our offensive scheme. It's not something we line up and hoot and holler about and said this will be a different thing or a trick. It's stuff we do day-in and day-out."

The victory was Baylor's first road triumph under Briles. It should provide the Bears with momentum as they hope to make their first bowl appearance since 1994.

But Briles is not concerned his team will make too much of it.

"The one great thing about where we are at is that we don't have to worry about getting overconfident or the big head," Briles said. "We've had our lips punched enough times that you've never thought you've arrived or where you need to be. One game doesn't indicate that. And after yesterday, we've flipped our goals past that game."

Baylor recruiting needs

January, 20, 2009
1/20/09
11:51
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Having a scintillating player like Robert Griffin should clearly benefit Baylor's recruiting for the next several seasons -- even though the Bears likely won't getting too many quarterback prospects.

Coach Art Briles won't mind that much. As he works to lure a recruiting class that will help send his team bowling for the first time since 1994, Briles likely will lean on the same philosophy he employed to turn around Houston in his first college head-coaching job. It will likely include a heavy concentration of players from smaller Texas high schools rather than those from the Dallas and Houston areas.

Briles has clicked on that strategy over the years and appears set to do that with his second recruiting class with the Bears.

The Bears need an upgrade in the trenches after losing starting tackles Jason Smith and Don Gay and they will start seniors at both guard positions and at center in 2009. Smith and Gay combined for 73 career starts. The depth at the position is aggravated because only redshirt freshman Joe Korbel was in the late-season depth chart.

Most of the skill position talent is young -- Griffin and leading receiver Kendall Wright are coming off their freshman seasons and leading rusher Jay Finley was a sophomore. But an upgrade of talent still could be used at all positions.

Most of the defensive talent is back as the Bears lose only two starters. But the Bears could use some additional young personnel at linebacker where both potential All-American Joe Pawelek and Antonio Jones will be seniors next season. And replacements will need to be cultivated for seniors-to-be like nose guard Trey Bryant, defensive end Jason Lamb and safeties Jordan Lake and Jeremy Williams.

Briles knows his way around Texas high school recruiting after a legendary career as a four-time state championship coach at Stephenville High School after earlier stops at Hamlin and Georgetown. Don't be surprised to see him lean on some of that familiarity as he beats the bushes to help fill in the roster around Griffin.

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