Bears continue spring workouts

Football practice is really beginning to get good! There appear to be more and more high school coaches showing up to watch. They seem serious about what they are watching, too. They feel they are seeing some "good stuff" in the drills being run and as many of them tell me, "the way the drills are being conducted." They say they are snappy, with precision and purpose. Also, it seems the players are more active and slimmer in their legs than last year. They just run better.

This coaching staff is structuring their rebuilding job. It is so definitely obvious that Baylor football is in the hands of solid, experienced, and successful coaches. I feel so rejuvenated in my own spirits, of course, but I fully realize that the team is not superior to the rest or most of the Big 12 at any position. Well, one coach (who has won two state championships at the AAAA level) told me today that he and three coaches on his staff visited spring workouts at Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor in the past two weeks. He said that Texas is being outworked by both the others. Baylor has better physical specimens at the defensive end spots than A&M for sure, and maybe even Texas. At no other position except perhaps running back (compared to the Aggies) does BU look better right now, however. When I said that last year's starting tailback is being held out of spring training for academic reasons....along with seven other starters and key reserves...he nodded and opened his eyes wider as if to say, "Well, maybe BU is going to be better." He did not say those words, however.

By the way, OG Randy Cornejo (#63) is also one of the study hall players right now. That makes eight that I know of in that situation.

I had a fairly long chat with three different members of the strength and conditioning staff. John Williams has at least four assistants now, and these guys are exceedingly involved with this football team. Their work is vital, and they LOVE IT! Each one told me that the improvements we can already see so clearly are only "the beginning." Since almost all of the players will remain in school this summer they will get the benefit of June and July availability of the workout equipment, etc. Each one of the Strenght & Conditioning staff members exudes confidence that the entire team will be getting faster and more powerful. I believe them. They are SUPER motivator types!

As I met each player entering the Stone/Jones practice field today I noticed a stronger grip in their hands as they passed. Often they slap my fingers or merely smile. They are seemingly more eager to get on with practice. I think they are enjoying the spectators being there. They may be feeling a greater sense of "showing off." I hope so. I call that the development of pride. They KNOW they are doing a good job of practicing, and they are.

Daniel Sepulveda (#37) is showing signs of being a serious punting prospect/candidate. He told me that he doesn't intend to lose any practice snaps as a linebacker over it, but that he enjoys punting. I don't think he needs to worry about the LB thing. Both he and his brother (#42, Stephen Sepulveda) are playing LBs. Lorenzo Davis (#53) double high-fived and hugged me as he entered the gate. This 6'5" 315 lb DT from Alexandria, Louisiana is clearly beginning to feel more at home and will be a major part of the '03 season. I predict that his enthusiasm is going to be contagious. I also found out from an assistant coach that the DT from Coffeyville, Kansas JC(M. T. Robinson, 6'2" 290+ lbs) is definitely a new Baylor Bear. HOORAY! Like DE Montez Murphy from that same school he'll have three years of eligibility. I don't completely understand all that, but that's what I've been led to believe.

Once again it was FULL PADS and the last 30 minutes, maybe longer, was 80% full contact. What does THAT mean? Well, it means the offense gets to go "all out" while the defense can only "stand 'em up and stop 'em" and cannot tackle them hard. In other words, they cannot cut 'em in half, or pound in there with their helmets cracking things. It is still darn rough and tumble, though. Lots rougher than 'in shorts', that's for certain.

One would have today was "Willie Andrews Day." He (#18) went high in the air to intercept Aaron Karas (#2) once. When Paul Mosley (#17) ripped through the middle for a 20 yard run, Willie couldn't stand it and zipped across the field full speed, grabbed Paul around the waist with both hands and pull/rolled him down. Willie's determination to not let any RB actually get to the goal line was obvious. I loved it!

Vince Coleman (#6) caught a nice Karas pass, but for the most part the DL dominated the OL, I thought. That's when I sought out those S&C guys....and they made me feel better about next fall with all that 'in the summer they'll really be getting ready' talk. Oh, gosh....they've just GOTTA! Today's starting OL was: LT Outland (#74), LG Dewoody (#75), C Fields (#78), RG Rettig (#71), RT Oskin (#79). The backs were QB Karas (#2), FB Evans (#45) and TB Golden (#48). There are "bunches" of different receivers, but I'd say the 'starters' are possibly Marques Roberts (#3), Coleman (#6), TE Shane Williams (#44) and J Fields (#8. Not at all certain on those, Folks.

The defense is being changed so much by Coach Goodner that it is useless to try and name 'starters' right now. Actually, it is for the 'O', as well.

Justin Crooks (#46) chased Karas out of bounds once and threw the ball about ten yards smack into the back of Karas' helmet as they returned to their huddles. I thought this might indicate some 'bad blood'...but they both smiled slightly at each other in a sign of respect, it appeared.

Maurice Lane (#21) made a fabulous move to intercept a sideline route pass, but he dropped the ball. It would've been 80 yards to a TD. Derek Cash (#33) playfully led the teasing from all the other DBs. 'Stay on down there, Mo! Don't come back here!' Everyone smiled and grinned. Lane runs a 4.3 forty, and he's part of the nickel defense, for sure.

Only two QBs got any snaps during these full-team snaps when the action was almost full bore. Karas and Davon Vinson (#7). During other drill work with receivers vs. the secondary, there were no linemen on either side of the ball. The five QBs who got snaps were those two plus Shawn Bell (#11), Ryan Frazier (#12) and Chris Neilson (#5). Coach Pease wants to work with his primary candidates as much as possible, obviously.

Robert Quiroga (#82) must be at track workouts this entire week. Don't think he's been at FB practice either Saturday, Monday or Wednesday. Won't swear to my accuracy, though.

They'll practice again on Friday, and then again on Saturday morning. Next week the schedule will be a little different as they will practice on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and the have the Spring Game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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