The Baylor football team has gone through a lot of turnover since the end of the 2019 season, but the team’s culture and attitude have remained the same, according to West Virginia head coach Neal Brown.
WVU (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) and Baylor (1-0, 1-0) will meet this Saturday in the second week of Big 12 conference play this season. The Mountaineers are coming off of a 27-13 loss at the hands of Oklahoma State, while the Bears handily defeated Kansas in their first game of the season following three consecutive games being postponed.
Baylor features an all-new coaching staff this season, with head coach Dave Aranda taking over for former head coach Matt Rhule who made the jump to the NFL for this season. Aranda is a first-year head coach who served as the defensive coordinator at LSU for the past four years.
On Tuesday, Brown said he has a lot of respect for Aranda, and from just one game of film, can tell that Aranda has continued the winning culture that Rhule instilled.
“Baylor was impressive in week one versus Kansas, really dominated that game,” Brown said. “When you turn on Baylor’s tape, they’re a tough, physical team that runs very well and you can tell that they have a really good culture there that Matt Rhule built and coach Aranda and his staff continue to maintain.”
Baylor defeated the Jayhawks 47-14 and ran for 203 yards as a team. Senior quarterback Charlie Brewer completed 15-23 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. Brewer is entering his fourth season as Baylor’s starter.
“The kid wins, I don’t know what else you can say better than that,” Brown said of Brewer. “He comes from a winning family. Grandad was a winner, dad’s a winner, brother was a winner. It’s bred into him, that’s as high a compliment as I can give for Charlie.”
Defensively, Brown said linebacker Terrel Bernard and safety Jalen Pitre are the players to watch out for.
“They’re aggressive, played a lot of guys up front and caused some problems for Kansas,” Brown said. “Their linebacker, the Bernard kid, he made just about every play against us last year, he really runs well. What they call their star position, number eight [Pitre], I thought he played really well in the opener too.”
On Baylor’s side, Aranda said he is wary of WVU’s speed at the skill positions and is focusing on WVU running back Leddie Brown.
“What strikes me is just their skills, their speed at running back and their speed at receiver,” Aranda said. “I think their running back is a tough runner, he’s got great vision. If we lose a gap or we lose an edge then he can eat up some yards pretty quick.”
Aranda described WVU’s defense as very disruptive and unlike other defenses they have been preparing for.
They’re very different from some of the previous teams that we’ve been preparing for,” Aranda said. “They’re creative in how they get four and five man rushes, a lot of twists and stunts and linebacker pressures in that. I like the things they do on defense.”
Baylor and West Virginia will kick off at noon on Saturday from Morgantown. The game will be broadcast on ABC.