#37 Baylor Football 2012 Preview

Baylor Bears

Overall Rank: #37
#8 Big 12 Conference
Baylor College Football 2012 Team Preview
Baylor Team Page


The 2012 season will be all about life without Robert Griffin III.  Already a legend in Waco, Griffin set or tied over 40 records for the Baylor program on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.  He was truly a superstar that brought an overlooked program to the forefront of the Big 12 and the nation.  Baylor still has a shot to be good in 2012 as long as Art Briles pushes the right buttons and puts the right players in the right place.  Certainly, they will not be as successful as they were last year with all of the talent that has moved on from the program.  But the reshuffling of conferences and a recalibrating of lineups allows for Baylor to continue in their successful ways.  No matter what, it will be hard to live up to 2011.

2011 Record: (10-3)
2011 Bowl: Alamo Bowl vs Washington (W 67-56)
Coach: Art Briles (25-25 at Baylor, 59-53 Overall)  
Offensive Coordinator: Philip Montgomery
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Bennett

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jarred Salubi, RB, 331 yards
Passing: Nick Florence, QB, 151 yards
Receiving: Terrance Williams, WR, 957 yards
Tackles: Sam Holl, S, 113
Sacks: Gary Mason Jr, DL, 2.5; Terrance Lloyd, DL, 2.5
Interceptions: K.J. Morton, DB, 4

Other Key Returnees: S Mike Hicks, WR Lanear Sampson, WR Tevin Reese, TE Jordan Najvar

Key Losses: QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright, RB Terrance Ganaway, LB Elliott Coffey, NT Nicholas Jean-Baptiste

Offensively, this team could not be stopped.  They were 10th in the nation in rushing at over 230 yards per game.  Griffin and Terrance Ganaway created a two-headed monster in the backfield that teams had a really hard time slowing down.  The Bears were top five nationally in passing, scoring, and total yardage.  At 587 yards per game, they only trailed Houston in gaining yards over the course of the season.  Scoring over 45 points a game was vital for this team last year.  Outscoring opponents covered up many defensive deficiencies.  Keeping these stats up is near impossible for Baylor in 2012.  Quarterback Nick Florence, who played in Griffin’s stead when he was injured, will have to pick up the pieces and lead the way.  He will not be Griffin, but he has been on the team for three years playing behind the Heisman winner.  He grasps what it takes to win.  He just has to execute with the players around him.

As dominant as the offense was last season, the defense was downright miserable.  The Bears ranked in the bottom quarter of nearly every statistical defensive category.  They gave up 488 yards on the ground and 37 points per game.  Had it not been for Griffin and his unit, Baylor would have most likely been in the cellar of the Big 12.  They were seventh in the league in terms of sacks at less than 1.5 per game.  They had the third worst pass defense in the country.  Other teams gained nearly 300 yards through the air per game.  Without their stellar offense from a year ago, Coach Briles has to hope his defense is a year older and a year better.  A defense like they had in 2011 can only take you so far when you do not have a Heisman quarterback under center anymore.

The Bottom Line:
Baylor had a dream season in 2011 that ended with a shootout win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl.  Everything broke their way and they had a whole lot of talent on offense.  Most of that talent is gone, and their Heisman winning quarterback is now making big money in the NFL.  It is unrealistic to ask the Bears to repeat such a great performance.  Hopefully, the framework is in place to continue a winning tradition despite having lost so many key starters.  New quarterback Florence now has his chance to shine after sitting behind Griffin for three years.  Oklahoma State is probably not as strong as it was last year.  Oklahoma and Texas are always power players.  Baylor can be right in the mix with those teams if it executes its game plan.  Still they will most likely not reach any more than eight wins in 2012.

Projected Bowl: Pinstripe Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 235.62 (10th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense:  351.46 (4, 2)
Total Offense: 587.08 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 45.31 (4, 2)
Rushing Defense: 197.38 (102, 8)
Pass Defense: 291.08 (118, 10)
Total Defense: 488.46 (116, 9)
Scoring Defense: 37.23 (113, 8)
Turnover Margin: .38 (30, 3)
Sacks: 1.46 (93, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (78, 8)

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#64 Javonte Magee
#161 Corey Coleman


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