Well the Spring game is here, as all 15 practices this spring are in the rear view mirror. Keep coming back to BearsIllustrated.com for up to the minute coverage, and don't forget to follow us on twitter @BaylorFoxSports.
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So, what has happened in these 15 practices? Well we had a few questions answered and a few more rise up as priorities for the fall. First off, Bryce Petty was presumed to be the starter going into the spring, but it was still up to him to take that roll head on and win it. He surely did that on the field and off, as he displayed a much more mature approach to both segments of being QB #1.
We also had questions about replacing 2 of the most experienced and accomplished outside receivers in Baylor history; Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson. Jay Lee has stepped up in a big way to take a commanding lead in the race to be the starter, while Clay Fuller, the elder statesman of the group has had a great spring as well. Them, along with Antwan Goodley have given the Bears a solid group of outside wide receiver candidates even before some very talented freshman join them in the fall.
The last, but probably biggest question was about the defense. In Phil Bennett's third year as defensive coordinator, could they take that big step forward and continue to play like they did at the end of the year. So, far the answer is a resounding yes. The defense showed a much better pass rush in practice, and the defensive secondary started playing a much more aggressive man defense. They looked much improved over last spring, and seem to have improved depth and much better top end talent all over the field.
A big question arose though, in an area that over the past few years has been a big strength for the Bears. What will the offensive line look, especially with the major knee injury that has sidelined starting right tackle Troy Baker for at least most of the fall? The last few years, the offensive line has carried the Bears offense, the foundation of any great offense. There were already questions at the right guard and center spot, and those seemed to be settling in quite a bit with Kelvin Palmer leading the center race. Well, with Baker out, Palmer has had to shift outside to right tackle, opening the door for Stefan Huber to shift over to center from right guard. The new right guard is Desmine Hilliard, an untested sophomore.
How will the shuffling of the offensive line hurt the Bears strength on offense, their running backs? We will begin to get a clearer picture today at the spring game, but it will still be very hazy with an entire summer and then fall practice to sort everything out. Plus, what additions to the roster will make an impact on the depth chart.
It should be an excited day in Waco, as the Bears kickoff later this afternoon. Football is back for a day, but then another long break, so enjoy it now Baylor fans. Enjoy it and get ready for another Baylor Bears season.