Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at 5 keys to the game against the Northwestern St. Demons

We take a look at 5 keys to the game against the Northwestern St. Demons

As Baylor heads in to this new season, they will open with the Northwestern St. Demons. The Demons, who play in the FCS, shouldn't pose much of a threat to Baylor, but this will be an important game nonetheless. The Bears will be breaking in new coach Jim Grobe and will be looking for answers on both sides of the ball, after attrition bit the Bears this summer. 

As we continue our game preview series, we take a look at 5 key to the game versus the FCS Northwestern St. Demons.

  1. Stay Healthy. This is clearly the most important key to the game. With limited depth on both sides of the ball, it will be important to the rest of the season that players stay healthy. QB Seth Russell will be seeing his first action since a broken bone ended his season, last year, against Iowa State. And with an offensive line that is still a work in progress, it will be important that Russell stays clean in this game. On the defensive side of the ball, it will be important for the young guys on the defensive line to get reps but also stay fresh and healthy. This team is not void of talent, but a couple of injuries at key positions and this season could go south in a hurry. 

  2. Play Baylor Football. This may seem like a simple task, but it may be a little harder, early, than it seems. The defense seems poised to have a great year, with several key returners, but its the offense that could be a work in progress early. Returning offensive lineman, Kyle Fuller, will be looked upon to anchor an offensive line that will have 4 new starters and combined 1 start between them. Coach Jim Grobe has preached the importance of not having too many penalties, but I think it will be surprising to see the offense stay penalty free this game. 

  3. Dont Underestimate the Opponent. This should go without saying right? It's an FCS opponent, what could go wrong? A lot of things can go wrong, honestly. This team will be juiced up to play, if not for the coaches at Baylor, for Coach Art Briles. He was their leader. This will be their first game without him. Yes, he is the only one gone, but I'm sure it will still be tough for these kids to go out and give it their all for someone who came on board 2 months ago. Still, I don't think the Bears will take this team lightly, but it is always a worry in any game. A few bounces go their way and all of a sudden you have the doubt start creeping in about this team and I'm sure the silence at the stadium would be deafening. Stick to your game plan and the Bears should be 1-0 with a blowout win under their belt at the end of the night. 

  4. Don't Get Comfortable. Another thing that should go without saying right? I dont see this game as much of a struggle for the Bears, but its a little unnerving to think about how these players will play in their first game since everything happened. This isn't Alabama they are playing, so it will be easy for the team to get comfortable if they jump out to a big lead. I dont see that happening, but it's important that the Bears take advantage of this game and work on the things that will help them to a successful season, and Coach Grobe may be exactly the type of coach to keep them on that path. 

  5. Win the Line of Scrimmage. This is a very important key to the game, in my opinion. With both lines very raw, it will be important for the lines to get comfortable and dominant early. The offensive line, while talented, will have several new players rotating in and out. If Baylor can run the ball effectively and gain some confidence, it will go a long way towards solidifying this offense. As the offensive line goes, the offense goes. And yes, that's even with Seth Russell taking the snaps. On the defensive side of the ball, it will be important for Baylor to rely more on the line to get a pass rush than the LBs. Baylor has some talented linebackers on defense, but if they are leaned on to bring a majority of the pressure, it may be a long season for the defense. 

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