Going into Spring - QUARTERBACKS

There is no quarterback controversy at Baylor. There are scholarship quarterbacks and there are walk-ons. With no holdovers from any previous staff on this coaching staff, there are no favorites or no "cinches" for who has the job. Everything goes back to square one. Each quarterback will be given his shot to step up. If one does, then he'll have the upper hand come fall. If not, the contest will begin again in August, with possibly one additional contestant in the mix.

NOTE: This article probably should have been written first. Truth is, I wrote the first on Running Backs with the intention of holding it back until I had done this one, but published it, and then continued on. Only after looking at the complete list of articles did I realize that I had only thought about this one and how it would look, and I had not actually written and published it.

Finding the right man at quarterback for the Bears has been a problem for about the last five or six years, maybe longer. It's probably very difficult to sit down and figure out the last time most of the Baylor faithful has been satisfied with the man under center. It may be as far back as J.J. Joe in the early 90's. This coaching staff will be trying to find the same thing - a quarterback they can go to and count on each time, everytime.

At the end of the 2001 season, Aaron Karas came out big in the final two games of the season, and everyone thought the Baylor need of finding a quarterback to lead this team was at an end. During the first game in 2002 against CAL, it was learned that "that thought" was premature. Aaron Karas didn't start the CAL game, but after an ineffective start by Greg Cicero, he was put into the game. During the season we saw Cicero, Karas, Guy Tomcheck, and Josh Zachary as the man under center. Cicero, Tomcheck, and Zachary are not going to be available for spring or for the 2003 season. This is a look at who will be.

SCHOLARSHIP QUARTERBACKS

Aaron Karas, 6-2, 199, Jr-2L - Aaron played in 11 games, missing the game against Kansas State. He started every game he played in, save for the first game against California. Aaron attempted 251 passes, completed 150, and had 13 intercepted. His completion percentage was 59.8%, and the total yards gained was 1,792. Karas tossed 6 touchdown passes. His longest pass completion went for 85 yards, and he averaged 162.9 yards per game, passing the football. Karas rushed the ball 95 times for 293 yards, but with 296 yards in sack losses, he wound up with a -3 yards total. His longest carry was 34 yards. Karas led the team in fumbles with 7, losing 4.

Davon Vinson, 6-3, 224, So-1L - Davon Vinson played in the final six games of the 2001 season as a true freshman. In those six games, Vinson attempted 23 passes, completing 9 of them and 3 interceptions for 71 total yards. His completion percentage was 39.1%. He is still waiting to throw his first touchdown pass as a collegian. Davon rushed the ball 29 times for 141 yards, but 55 yards in losses only netted him 86, for an average per carry of 3.0 yards. His longest gain was for 20 yards, carrying the football.

Shawn Bell, 6-1, 206, Fr-RS - Shawn was redshirted last season. As one of only three scholarship quarterbacks participating in spring drills, he will get more than just a casual look. He is a very intelligent QB who's main pluses coming out of high school being that he was very accurate and made very few mistakes.

NON-SCHOLARSHIP ATHLETES

Chris Neilson, 6-0, 191, So-Sq - Last season, with Zachary out and Karas less than 100%, the Bears were going to Lubbock to meet Texas Tech. Rather than burn Vinson's shirt, Steele opted to take Neilson on the trip, and said he would be the "go-to" guy if needed. He wasn't, but it did show that among the walk-on quarterbacks, Chris must have had the most ability, therefore he is listed first among the walk-ons.
Ryan Frazier, 6-0, 198, So-Sq, Klein HS
James Irwin, 6-0, 210, Jr-Sq, Crawford HS
Mark Murphy, 6-3, 185, So-Sq, Kingwood HS
Mitch Pruitt, 5-10, 206, Jr-Sq, Euless Trinity Christian


Bears Illustrated Top Stories