Big 12 Preview: Baylor Bears

The 2004 edition of the Baylor Bears will be looking forward to more wins this fall. Baylor's not going to be picked by anyone to win it all, but they'd like to be able to say they had a say in who did. Head football coach Guy Morriss, in his second season at Baylor looks to returning experience as well as some new additions in a few spots to improve on last year's 3-9, 1-7 record.

Offense: When the Bears have the football they will look to sophomore Shawn Bell, senior Aaron Karas, or newcomer JC transfer Dane King to lead the "pro-set" offense. At running back, Jonathan Golden returns from a redshirt season to join Anthony Kreig, Anthony Evans, Paul Mosley and Brandon Whitaker in the backfield. Baylor also has several receivers from which to choose.

Everyone, save Cedric Fields returns along an offensive line that paved the way for Baylor's first 1,000 yard rusher (Rashad Armstrong) in years.

Baylor will be successful on offense if they can improve on cutting out the mistakes that demoralized last year's offense at times.

Defense:One change of note in Morriss' staff was the addition of former Texas Longhorns and Philadelphia Eagles assistant Bill Bradley. Coach Bradley inherits the defense left by John Goodner, who retired.

The Bears run a 4-2-5 defensive scheme, and should be improved on a defense that at times put as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks as anyone in the league. Khari Long and Montez Murphy at the defensive end spots will be key players.

There were no graduation losses in the interior line where Michael Gary, Luke Groth, Julian Hill, Quincy Jenkins and M.T. Robinson return. Justin Crooks leads those that return after a couple of graduation losses at linebacker. The secondary, led by Willie Andrews, Anthony Arline, Maurice Linguist and James Todd will be strong and deep as several more players return after redshirt seasons.

In order to be successful on defense, Baylor is going to have to continue to pressure the quarterback, not miss tackles, and keep from getting beat deep on the big plays. Hopefully, some added quality depth this year can help make that wish a reality.

Key Games The first key game for Baylor will be the opener against UAB. Last year the Bears missed the opportunity to gain their first win of the season when UAB hit on a 50-yard play with only 40 seconds left in the game and won 24-19. After that, Texas A&M in Waco has been marked on the calendar, as well as North Texas, Texas, and Texas Tech. The Bears are also interested in going to Lincoln for the first time to play a Nebraska team that appears at least at this point to be down. All games are key for the Bears – they need to win some of them.

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