Baylor Bears 2009 NCAA Football Preview

Baylor Bears

Big 12 Conference


2008 Record: (4-8, 2-6)

2008 Bowl: none

Coach: Art Briles (4-8 at Baylor, 38-36 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Randy Clements and Philip Montgomery

Defensive Coordinator: Brian Norwood


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Jay Finley, RB, 865 yards

Passing: Robert Griffin, QB, 2,091 yards

Receiving: Kendall Wright, WR, 649 yards

Tackles: Joe Pawelek, LB, 128

Sacks: Antonio Jones, LB, 3.0; Earl Patin, LB, 3.0

Interceptions: Joe Pawelek, LB, 6


Other Key Returnees: G James Barnard, CB Antareis Bryan, DT Trey Bryant, WR David Gettis, LB Antonio Johnson, S Jordan Lake, C J.D. Walton, OT Danny Watkins, S Jeremy Williams

Key Losses: CB Dwain <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Crawford, DE Leon Freeman, OT Dan Gay, S Jake La Mar, DT Vincent Rhodes, OT Jason Smith, WR Thomas White


Baylor had a young team and had to work their way through an extremely difficult schedule during the 2008 campaign. Sure the team only won four games and their best win was against Texas A&M, but the squad still exceeded expectations and could do so again this year since they return nine starters on both sides of the ball.



The youth movement is led by sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin. As a freshman last year he threw for over 2,000 yards and rushed for 843 more. In all he accounted for 28 total touchdowns and threw a measly three interceptions. And all of that was as a freshman. But Griffin will not be the only player on the team who has the ability to run for over 1,000 yards. Jay Finley tallied 865 yards on the ground as a sophomore and averaged a solid 5.8 yards per carry. With experienced receiving threats Kendall Wright, David Gettis and Ernest Smith to go along with youngsters like Lanear Sampson and Terrance Williams, the Bears offense could be a force to be reckoned with by the end of the 2009 campaign.



It was Leon Freeman who led the team with nine tackles-for-loss and 4.0 sacks. The frontline also loses tackle Vincent Rhodes and without those two it is difficult to tell where the pressure will come from. This is a team that ranked ninth in the conference in sacks per contest last year and in the pass happy Big 12, they have to do better than that or their secondary will get picked apart. However, the secondary is the strongest part of the defense, but if the Bears fail to get pressure on the opposing quarterback even the experience of corners Tim Atchison and Antareis Bryan and safeties Jordan Lake and Jeremy Williams will not be enough. The good news is that the versatile group of linebackers can help get pressure on the quarterback and occasionally even lend the secondary a hand. Joe Pawelek actually led the team with six interceptions a year ago and Antonio Jones and Earl Patin are both capable pass rushers.


The Bottom Line:

What it could all come down to is the play of the offensive line. The Bears lost Jason Smith to the NFL where he was drafted second overall in the 2009 draft. But they also lost Dan Gay who anchored the other side of the line. Senior center J.D. Walton and senior guard James Barnard are a decent group to build around, but it is highly unlikely that Danny Watkins and redshirt freshman Cameron Kaufhold can even come close to replacing Smith and Gay.


2008 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 195.75 (21st in nation, 3rd in conference)

Passing Offense: 180.67 (92, 12)

Total Offense: 376.42 (46, 10)

Scoring Offense: 28.00 (42, 9)

Rushing Defense: 137.92 (53, 7)

Pass Defense: 255.25 (103, 6)

Total Defense: 393.17 (85, 6)

Scoring Defense: 29.33 (87, 9)

Turnover Margin: 1.33 (4, 2)

Sacks: 1.58 (84, 9)

Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (94, 9)