Big 12 Conference Preview- Baylor Bears
Baylor looks to win more in 2004
By Mike George
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. One change of note in Morriss' staff was the addition of former Texas Longhorn and Philadelphia Eagles' Bill Bradley. Coach Bradley inherits the defense left by John Goodner who retired.
When the Bears have the football they will look to sophomore Shawn Bell, senior Aaron Karas, or newcomer JC transfer Dane King from Blinn 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 those oft happening mistakes that demoralized last year's offense at times.
The Bears run a 4-2-5 defensive scheme. The Bears 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. Baylor, in order to be successful on defense 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.
The first key game for Baylor will be the opener against UAB. Last year the Bears saw their first win of the season go down the field on a 50-yard play with only 40 seconds left in the game to win 24-19. After that, key games will point to those games where the Bears felt like they were embarrassed by scores. 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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