The Baylor Bears begin their Spring Drills Febuary 25th and conclude after 15 practices on April 5th. The highlight of the spring will be the annual "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage, held at McLane Stadium on March 18th.
With 45 returning lettermen and 11 returning starters, Baylor looks to continue their run of 10+ win seasons. Art Briles is in his 9th year in Waco, and is coming off of a 6th straight bowl appearance. In 2015, the Bears went 10-3, including a Russell Athletic Bowl victory over North Carolina. The Bears have won 50 games in the last 5 years, by far a program best.
Things To Watch
- Shuffling along the offensive line - The Bears will have four new starters around Kyle Fuller in 2016. Reserve linemen Patrick Lawrence, Tanner Thrift, Ishmael Wilson, Rami Hammad and Blake Blackmar all got extensive playing time in 2015. They will be joined by junior college transfers Mo Porter and Dom DeSouza who both redshirted in 2015. New transfer B.J. Autry will also be looked at as an option at either guard position.
- Quarterback Battle? - With Both Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham ending the season on the sidelines, could there be a battle at the QB spot? Probably not in the spring, with Russell still being held out of some activities. Stidham will be the guy these next few months, so the question should be, can he do enough to really challenge Russell in the fall?
- Divying up the Carries - The Bears deepest position in 2016 might be at running back, with all four primary ball carriers returning from last years squad, plus the addition of redshirt freshmen Jamycal Hasty and true freshmen Kameron Martin in the fall. Shock Linwood, Johnny Jefferson, Devin Chafin and Terence Williams form a powerful group. How the pecking order ends up, especially with what Jefferson did at the end of the season, will be something to watch.
- Making sense of the defensive backfield - With Xavien Howard declaring early for the NFL draft, the Bears will have to replace a key part of their secondary. Ryan Reid is returning, and will likely come back to the top CB position. Orion Stewart is also back after an injury plagued juior campaign. Chance Waz emerged as a strong starter at the cover safety position and will be the favorite over Jourdan Blake and others at that spot. The second corner spot is a mystery. Does the experience of Tion Wright hold off newcomers Verkedric Vaughns, Jameson Houston, Henry Black, Tony Nicholson, Jordan Tolbert or even the incoming freshmen in the fall?
- Defensive Line Rotation - The Bears will not return a single starter from the 2015 season, but they do have some key experience coming back. KJ Smith and Byron Bonds both started multiple games earlier in their career, and will be looked at for bigger roles in 2016. Brian Nance played extensively last year as a reserve, along with tackle Andrew Morris (who even started later in the year for Beau Blackshear). How will the large group of redshirt freshmen/sophomores Tyrone Hunt (up to 265 pounds), Greg Roberts, Xavier Jones, Ira Lewis, and Josh Malin impact the rotation, and give the Bears needed depth?
- Early enrolloees B.J. Autry, Trendavian Dickson, Jeremy Faulk, and Zach Smith have all joined the Bears program for the spring sememster, part ofa Top-20 2016 recruiting class.
- Former 5-star Davian Hall has switched from wide receiver to safety for the 2016 season
- Terrence Singleton has switched to nickel back for his final season, after spending time at safety and cornerback in the past
- QB Chris Johnson has moved back to WR/TE for the 2016 season
- WR Kaleb Moore has also moved to safety, while former corner Jourdan Blake will also be moving to safety
- Junior Tight End Jasyson Clements is new to the roster, having transferred from SFA. Clements is the son of longtim offensive line coach Randy Clements.
Dates to Remember
Start of Camp - February 25th
Friday Night Lights - March 18th
Close of Camp - April 5th