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Big 12 Preview Series: High Turnover Leaves Baylor with Plenty of Question Marks

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(photo via baylorbears.com)

WVSN’s Big 12 Preview Series will give a snapshot of all nine of WVU football’s Big 12 opponents throughout this week. The schedule for this week is:

Monday: Baylor and Iowa State
Tuesday: Kansas and Kansas State
Wednesday: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
Thursday: TCU and  Texas
Friday: Texas Tech

Baylor might have lost more talent than any other Big 12 team following last season.

Of the Bears’ 16 All-Conference selections from 2019, only four return for 2020. That includes Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year James Lynch and Big 12 Coach of the Year Matt Rhule. Rhule left Baylor for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL after three seasons as head coach.

The Bears had a fantastic 2019, going 11-3 (8-1 Big 12) and making an appearance in the Big 12 Championship, losing to Oklahoma.

To replace Rhule at head coach, Baylor hired Dave Aranda, most recently the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at LSU for four seasons. For coordinators, Aranda brought in Larry Fedora on offense and Ron Roberts on defense. Fedora was an analyst at Texas in 2019 and Roberts was the defensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette.

One of the most important players will have back is four-year starting quarterback Charlie Brewer. During Big 12 Football Media Day on Big 12 Now, Brewer said that despite the changes, he thinks Baylor can maintain its success.

“I think that we’ve got a lot of guys coming back with a lot of experience,” Brewer said. “We’ve got guys on defense like Terrel (Bernard), who’s such a great leader and will get those guys ready. The coaching staff that came in…they’re awesome. They’ve had a lot of success elsewhere so I don’t think it’ll change coming here.”

Returning alongside Brewer this season is his number two receiver from 2019, Tyquan Thorton, and his leading rusher, John Lovett. Baylor also returns four of its five starting offensive linemen, including All-Big 12 honorable mention Xavier Newman-Johnson.

On defense, the Bears return their top tackler from 2019 in linebacker Terrel Bernard, but otherwise need to replace nine defensive starters. They have added Arkansas State transfer William Bradley-King who has three years of playing. experience

Baylor was scheduled to start its season this past Saturday against Louisiana Tech, but that game was canceled due to COVID-19 and will not be rescheduled. Instead, the Bears will open the season on Sept. 19 in a game against the Houston Cougars that was announced just a few days ago.

Five Key Departures:

HC Matt Rhule
– Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2019
– 7-year, $65 mil contract with Carolina Panthers
– 3 years as Baylor HC, 19-20 record, 11-3 (8-1) in 2019

WR Denzel Mims
– Drafted Round 2, New York Jets
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 66 rec., 1,020 yards, 12 TD

DT James Lynch
– Drafted Round 4, Minnesota Vikings
– Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2019
– Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2019
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 41 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 13.5 sacks

DT Bravvion Roy
– Drafted Round 6, Carolina Panthers
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 61 tackles, 13 TFL, 5.5 sacks

HB JaMycal Hasty
– All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 627 rushing yards, 7 TD

Top Five Returners:

QB Charlie Brewer
– All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 3,161 passing yards, 64.5% completion, 21 TD, 7 INT

LB Terrel Bernard
– Preseason All-Big 12 in 2020
– 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 112 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBU

WR Tyquan Thornton
– All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 45 rec., 782 yards, 5 TD

OG Xavier Newman-Johnson
– All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019

HB John Lovett
– 673 rushing yards, 5 TD

Additions:

HC Dave Aranda
– LSU DC 2016-2019

OC Larry Fedora
– Texas analyst 2019

DC Ron Roberts
– Louisiana-Lafayette DC 2018-2019

OLB William Bradley-King
– Transfer from Arkansas State
– 1st Team All-Sun Belt in 2019
– 49 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks

Schedule:

  • Sept. 12 vs Louisiana Tech (Canceled)
  • Sept. 19 vs Houston
  • Sept. 26 vs Kansas
  • Oct. 3 at WVU
  • Oct. 17 vs Oklahoma State
  • Oct. 24 at Texas
  • Oct. 31 vs TCU
  • Nov. 7 at Iowa State
  • Nov. 14 at Texas Tech
  • Nov. 28 vs Kansas
  • Dec. 5 at Oklahoma
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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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