With football fanatics dying of thirst for any droplet of information, the Baylor Bears released a slight trickle of information this past weekend. With Spring football all wrapped up, there is not actual football with pads and helmets to speak of until Art Briles and the Bears rejoin in the fall. However, the release of the post-spring depth chart gives us something to talk about, at least for a few moments of time.
10 starters from the Bears starting lineup against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl are back. The only real changes are at wide receiver, quarterback and inside receiver. Gone are Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood, as well as quarterback Bryce Petty. The defensive side of the ball has seen some changes as well, with two linebackers gone in Bryce Hager and Collin Brence.
Key Takeaways - Offense
- Seth Russell has a strong hold on the top spot for the Bears. He has distanced himself from Chris Johnson and Jarrett Stidham. However, the battle for the backup spot has been hotly contested, with the third year sophomore Johnson trying to hold off the true freshman. More then likely, even if Stidham wins the job, Johnson will come into games for mop-up duty, as the Baylor staff might want to protect Stidham's redshirt. At least, that is the smart play. However, if extended playing time is warranted, you can fully expect the Bears to put Stidham in...if he is the best option. As an example, during Robert Griffin III's junior year with Nick Florence trying to redshirt, while Bryce Petty received most of the mop-up action until the Texas Tech game.
- The Bears backfield doesn't appear to be seeing much change. Rashodrick Linwood is the started, with Devin Chafin Johnny Jefferson, and Terence Williams battling for time behind him. That is before the fall addition of JaMycal Hasty who would add a different element to the mix. Linwood is the trusted back, the man with the most experience. Briles has always trusted the older players, and after 2 years, Linwood is now in that group. Chafin has shown bursts of excellent play, but injuries took their toll last year. Jefferson might be ready for a larger role, and Williams is coming off of a very solid redshirt season. The Bears are as deep as they have been under Briles at the tailback position.
- Baylor might have the biggest tight end position group in modern football history. With already large Trevon Armstead leading the group last year at 270 pounds, the addition of LaQuan McGowan as a co-starter is a warning shot across the Big 12. Safeties better be ready to "tackle" the 400+ pound former guard. Linebackers better be ready to take on a blocker that is close to twice their size.
- The Bears will not be giving up the "Wide Receiver U" moniker without a fight. With Antwan Goodley off to the NFL, Corey Coleman and KD Cannon step into larger roles for the Bears. Jay Lee is the 3rd receiver, a steady senior presence for a young and hungry group. The two names that really stood out in the spring though to Baylor fans were Chris Platt and Ishmael Zamora, two redshirt freshmen looking to make their mark in 2015-16. Both are listed on the 2nd team, with surprise starter Lynx Hawthorne at one inside spot. Platt is behind K.D. Cannon, while Zamora is behind Corey Coleman. If both stay there, the playing time available behind the two best receivers on the Bears might be limited, just like Davion Hall learned while backing up Antwan Goodley.
- I was surprised to see Desmine Hilliard in a backup role. The 2-year starter is listed as the backup at left guard behind Blake Muir. With Jarrell Broxton taking over the left guard position, there are just too many candidates for the 5-spots. the biggest surprise though to me was Tanner Thrift being listed as the backup left tackle. I assumed that Ishmael Wilson would get that spot, though one would assume that if Drango were to go down with an injury, the Bears would move right tackle Pat Colbert to left and then move Wilson up to the starter spot. Still, it was rather interesting to see Thrift on the 2-deep, and that is a great sign for the Sophomore tackle.