The Baylor Bears went into the 2009 season with a great deal of optimism. Sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin was coming off a 2008 season, where he won the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award. The True Freshman spent the 2008 season developing his passing skills throwing 15 touchdowns while running for 13 more. Many scouts view Griffin as the fastest quarterback in the nation. In high school, Griffin lead Copperas Cove to back-to-back Class 4A state title appearances his junior and senior year, rushing for over 2,100 yards and passing for 3,357 yards and 41 touchdowns. Once he stepped foot on the Baylor campus, the entire program took a step forward in becoming a threat in the Big 12 South.
The 2009 season begin with a glimpse of what the Bears could do with Robert Griffin under center. They opened their season with a big win on the road against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The sophomore quarterback completed his first eight passes and looked like the quarterback that the Bears hoped for when they recruited him. Baylor looked to be a confident team behind the legs and arm of Griffin for weeks, starting 2-1. Unfortunately, Griffin would tear his ACL against Northwestern State in the third game of the season. Griffin was hurt on the opening drive of the game; however, Griffin finished the half throwing three touchdowns resulting in a 68-13 thrashing of the Demons. He was lost for the season but showed the Baylor fans how tough and talented he could be.
The Bears season was over loosing there remaining seven out of eight games. The defense proved to be their Achilles heel giving up over 405 yards per game. The unit was dominated on the ground surrendering 178.8 yards per game which was dead last in the Big 12. The team had high hopes for Nose Guard Phil Taylor who struggled after transferring to Baylor from Penn State.
This year the Bears will be without All-American linebacker Joe Pawelek and All-Big 12 safety Jordan Lake, but the Bears have had two straight impressive recruiting classes. The 2010 class features some of the best defensive backs entering the Big 12. Freshman Tyler Stephenson brings speed to the secondary, running a 4.43 in the 40 yard dash. The Bears will replace Lake with Senior Tim Atchison who is making the transition from corner. The big freshmen Prince Kent 6’3” 200 lbs, is guy that can come in and make an immediate impact at strong safety.
Third year coach Art Briles wants to run the ball more effectively in 2010. Baylor lost its top back senior Jay Finley for a good portion of 2009 due to injury. The return of Finley and experienced LT Danny Watkins, RT Ivory Wade and C Philip Blake should help boost the rushing attack.
The first 5 games of 2010 schedule for the Bears are favorable. The first three out of four games are against teams they should beat: home versus Sam Houston State, Buffalo, and at Rice. Baylor should also be able to compete with Kansas and Kansas State. If the defense can improve and the offense is better; we may be able to see the Baylor Bears pull off a few upsets and reach 6 wins on the season.
Art Briles is coming off his second straight 4-8 season as head coach and hopes to improve with a healthy Griffin at quarterback. His team showed improvement in 2008 up until Griffin was lost for the season. Miles wants to use Griffin like the Longhorns used Vince Young in their championship season as a dual threat quarterback. The team’s success will hinge on Griffin and a defense that has to get better in order to compete in the Big 12. This year NG Phil Taylor and a talented linebacking corps must live up to their potential if Baylor wants to play in its first bowl game in 16 years.
Big 12 : 2-6
Sept. 4 Sam Houston State
Sept. 11 Buffalo
Sept. 18 @ TCU
Sept 25 @ Rice
Oct. 2 Kansas
Oct 9 Texas Tech
Oct 16 @ Colorado
Oct. 23 Kansas State
Oct. 30 @ Texas
Nov. 6 @ Oklahoma State
Nov. 13 Texas A&M
Nov. 20 Oklahoma
Head Coach: Art Briles
Back to the Big 12 season preview.
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