Top Five Reasons Why Baylor Bears Will Compete in 2010 Big 12 Football
Granted, there are many more than just five reasons to be excited about the 2010 football season for the Baylor Bears—including the return of sophomore sensation Robert Griffin at quarterback and a born leader in Art Briles at the helm of the program.
But let’s begin today’s April slideshow with a brief glimpse of what’s to come this season for the green and gold gridiron team.
People tend to have short-term memories when it comes to sports, so we’ll start off with Griffin’s return as the Bears play-caller and try to quickly remind the college world just how good this Baylor QB was, is, and will become as the season looms…
1. Robert Griffin’s Return
Baylor fans and sportswriters alike don’t refer to sophomore play-caller Robert Griffin as Superman just for the hell of it; in fact, the Bears standout quarterback has more than lived up to the title during his first year-plus taking snaps.
And with a healthy and rejuvenated Griffin returning to guide the Bears in 2010, look for the medical-red shirt sophomore to make some major noise on the NCAA gridiron this season.
Want a reminder of just how good Griffin was prior to his season-ending knee injury last year?
Through 12 games (starting 11), Baylor’s true freshman QB threw for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns (along with just three interceptions) in 2008; and through three games in 2009 (two and a half games to be precise), Griffin threw for 481 yards along with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
2. Head Coach Art Briles
Another reason to be pumped about the upcoming season: Art Briles returning as the head coach of the Baylor Bears football program.
While at Baylor, Briles has compiled back-to-back 4-8 seasons (going 2-6 in conference play in 2008 and 1-7 in 2009)—giving him an overall record with the Bears of 8-16 (3-13 in the Big 12).
However, there have been improvements in overall team performance every year since Briles has taken over the helm at BU; it’s also thanks to him that Robert Griffin is at Baylor and he’s also why many recruits chose to come to Waco, Texas.
And when looking back at the former University of Houston coaches record with the Cougars, Briles went 4-4, 3-5, and 4-4 in his first three years before compiling consecutive winning conference seasons of 7-1 and 6-2 before leaving UH for the Bears prior to the start of the 2008 football season.
3. Remarkable Signing Class
Baylor head coach Art Briles and the Bears had an exciting signing day in 2010, welcoming 23 new commitments to the team for the upcoming season.
Although only one of the 23 newcomers is ranked in the ESPNU 150, many come highly acclaimed: including Navarro College transfer Robert Griffin (though this Griffin is an offensive lineman) and two other junior college transfers.
“Our philosophy with junior college athletes is we don’t recruit them to stand,” Briles told reporters in late December 2009 when asked about his new signing class. “We expect them to come in and play and to deliver. And we feel Robert Griffin and [new wide receiver recruit] Isaac Williams can do that for the Baylor football program.”
For a compete list of who the newest players to be donning green and gold in 2010, see my slideshow on Baylor’s latest signing class: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/339151-national-signing-day-2010-introducing-baylors-newest-bears-slideshow
[Photo Courtesy of Google Image Search]
4. Special Team Play
Dino Babers will be back as Baylor’s special team coordinator after a good run with that group in 2009.
A large part of the Bears success last season had to do with the special team play: from punt and kick returns to field goal blocking.
And if head coach Art Briles, the Griffin duo (no, they are not related) and the green and gold Bears want to make 2010 a magical season, they’ll need Babers to play a vital role in Baylor’s success.
From proper positioning during punts and kickoffs to timing a perfect extra-point block, look for Babers and the Bears to make a statement in their special team play this coming season.
5. Big and Smart Linemen
When talking about big linemen that includes another Robert Griffin, only this Griffin weighs 335 pounds (according to the official team roster) and will be helping to protect BU’s quarterback.
A 6’6” junior transfer out of Navarro College, Griffin will be play a major role in the team’s offensive line as the Bears aim to hit the ground running in 2010.
With a majority of Baylor’s 2010 linemen weighing around 300 pounds, this may be the season for both Robert Griffin the quarterback and Griffin the lineman to propel the Bears to a postseason run.
If the team can remain healthy and injury-free this coming season, Art Briles’ never-give-up Bears have a damn good chance of making some major noise in the Big 12 Conference and beyond in 2010...
[Photo Courtesy of Google Image Search]
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org