For help scouting Baylor, here is BearsIllustrated.com recruiting guru Kevin Barrera.
All the talk swirls around the Baylor passing game, but how potent is the rushing attack? And how vital is it to the Bears' success this weekend?
The rushing attack will be very important this weekend. There is a misconception about Baylor’s offense, and that is that they are an "air raid" offense that runs the ball to change pace. Well that’s far from the truth. Baylor's offense very much relies on the rushing attack to open up the passing game. Baylor currently leads the Big 12 in rushing, and I think most of that is because they tend to wear down defenses at the ends of games (see TCU). They will need to be successful early in order to have success against OU.
Also, against OU, Baylor will have all three of its RBs at full speed. This will be the first time this season that this is the case. Chafin had a monster game against Kansas and showed his homerun ability. If Chafin and Linwood are gaining 4-5 yds consistently, then that will put the passing game at a great advantage against a potent OU defense.
Bryce Petty quietly has 20 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Is he fully recovered from his back issue and how has he evolved his game because of that injury?
Everyone I've talked to says that Petty is 100 percent. I'm not so sure that is the case, but I would say he's close. With the injury he had, it made it difficult to plant his back foot and put power behind the pass. He also was having trouble with accuracy, which was another issue from his back injury. I think he has adjusted well, but it's still one of those things that worries you as a coach. It's his back and is a very vulnerable body part. After his performance against Kansas, I would think that he will be the most healthy he has been all season against OU.
One guy poised to have a breakout game for Baylor this week is_______?
Corey Coleman. The Bears have desperately been looking for a solid No. 2 option to go with Antwan Goodley, and Coleman has been emerging as that person. Coleman is so strong and so athletic, that he is just a nightmare to cover. With Sanchez likely covering Goodley, I would look for Coleman to cause mismatch problems for the OU defensive backfield.
Baylor is always going to grab attention for its offense, but where has the defense made the most strides this season compared to years past?
When you look at the Baylor defense this year, your attention immediately goes to the DL. It is a young unit, but absolutely the most athletically gifted and talented line that Phil Bennett has had at Baylor. Shawn Oakman and Andrew Billings are nightmares in 1-on-1 situations, and the ability for the line to get penetration on its own has allowed Taylor Young, Aiavion Edwards, and Bryce Hager to do other things. They don't have to rely on the LBs to create pressure. This has helped with run defense, which I think will be a big key for the Bears on Saturday.
Baylor has never won in Norman but has won two of the last three overall. Is OU just another game or are the Sooners still viewed as something special in Waco?
I think Oklahoma will always be viewed as a big game for Baylor. The series has just been so lopsided that the fact that Baylor has had some success in recent years allows Baylor to feel like they are a part of something. They are no longer "scared" of OU and feel that they can compete with them every time they step on the field. It also helps that OU tends to be favored despite recent success, and Baylor loves the underdog card. There is certainly a very high respect factor for Oklahoma and their program, but Baylor feels they are on the verge of something special, so they will go out for blood on Saturday. It's a do or die game for both programs.