EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 11th in a series of previews on West Virginia and Marshall football opponents.
Checking them out
At some point, Baylor probably needs to start playing a little bit of defense. That might be this season, too, because the Bears lost a lot on offense.
Then again, Art Briles has done all right so far relying on simply outscoring teams. Yes, Baylor managed to score 63 points in a game against West Virginia and 50 against Texas last year and still lose, but has been to three straight bowls so the Bears are doing something right.
The offense this year, though, might have to be just a hair different. Gone is much of the passing power of the last two years provided by Robert Griffin III and then Nick Florence and the receiving of Terrance Williams, but running back Lache Seastrunk is openly and not shyly talking about the Heisman Trophy, and after gaining 1,012 yards and averaging 7.7 yards per carry, why not? Between he and 220-pound Glasco Martin, who ran for almost 900 yards a year ago, the Bears might have the best 1-2 punch in the league.
Bryce Petty takes over at quarterback and he's formidable at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. He'll get his passing yards in an offense designed to spread the field like few others, and wide receiver Tevin Reese has 104 catches the last two years despite being the third option. The line has some holes, but not on the left side where Cyril Richardson and Spencer Drango are both NFL talents.
And maybe the defense is better. Baylor has experience, even if it is experience in being torched for 500 yards per game. Linebackers Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey are as good a pair as there is in the league and there's athleticism and speed everywhere. But until Baylor proves it can stop someone, that will remain the Bears' biggest question mark.
This is the final season for Baylor at Floyd Casey Stadium, which was built in 1950. Next season brings the opening of one of the most anticipated stadiums in the country. The new $250 million venue will seat just 45,000, but is being built on the banks of the Brazos River adjacent to campus. ... The game with West Virginia will be the fourth straight at home to open the season for the Bears, who also play six of their first eight in Waco. Combined with two open dates, the first road game isn't until Oct. 12. And in the three weekends prior to hosting WVU, Baylor plays only Louisiana-Monroe. ... Baylor is also the third Big 12 team that opens league play against WVU. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State also play the Mountaineers as their first Big 12 game.
Date Opponent 2012
Aug. 31 Wofford DNP
Sept. 7 Buffalo DNP
Sept. 14 Open