Losing head coach Matt Rhule to the NFL hurts, but does Baylor football have enough firepower to compete in the Big 12 still?
Baylor has gone through more change in the past five years than any program in college football.
The Bears went from one of the hottest programs in the land under Art Briles to a bottom-dweller after his scandal rocked the university back to an 11-win team under Matt Rhule.
Now, Rhule is off to the NFL, handing the keys to the engine to reigning national champion defensive coordinator Dave Aranda who came over from LSU. He has a solid defense to work with which finished No. 39 in the nation and third in the Big 12 in total yards as well as first in the conference in scoring and 19th in the country, so that shouldn’t be an issue despite many departing starters.
The bigger question marks will come on the offensive side of the ball.
Charlie Brewer is back for his senior year with 30 starts under his belt and one of the best arms in the Big 12. He finished with 3,161 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior and he could very well be the league’s No. 1 passer in 2020.
Does he have enough firepower around him to help the Bears compete once again in 2020?
Any concerns for Baylor football offense?
Brewer might be one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12 and the country, but a gunslinger is only as good as his weapons. Sure, good quarterbacks make players around them better which Brewer will undoubtedly do, but he may not have enough to help Baylor compete for the Big 12 title.
Denzel Mims is gone as is JaMycal Hasty, but there are some key returners like Tyquan Thornton, RJ Sneed, Josh Fleeks and John Lovett. Behind Lovett is Trestan Ebner, giving the Bears options in the backfield. Plus, they bring in running back Taye McWilliams who was the second-highest rated commit in Baylor’s 2020 class.
Thornton may be the X-factor with Mims gone as he’s sat back on the depth chart for a couple of years and now may be his time to shine. He finished the 2019 season with 45 catches for 782 yards and five touchdowns. The junior looks poised for a 1,000-yard season.
Lovett and Ebner will split carries in the backfield, but I expect the former to start. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry and had 655 yards and five touchdowns last season while Ebner had 250 yards and three scores. Adding in some McWilliams will only help matters.
Don’t sleep on the fact that Gerry Bohanan, the backup quarterback, is one heck of an athlete and Aranda will surely have the offense draw up some packages for him.
Christoph Henle and Ben Sims should be solid at tight end with Drake Dabney coming in but we’ll have to wait and see how the new staff utilizes the position group.
Baylor has the pieces and the coaching staff to compete once again in the Big 12. We may not see an 11-win team yet again, but don’t be shocked if the Bears are in the conference title race in the final weeks of the season.
This offense will have plenty of firepower.