Baylor’s offense hasn’t skipped a beat since averaging over 48 points a game a season ago. An estimated crowd of 5,610 showed up to McLane Stadium in less than ideal weather to watch the reigning back-to-back Big 12 Champions in their annual “Friday Night Lights” spring scrimmage.
“Just unbelievable crowd support for a rainy night in the middle of March. It’s really inspiring to see this many people show up to support our guys.” Art Briles said. “That’s very humbling to us. . . . I looked around, and I was kind of in awe.”
The Bears offence racked up 600 yards and five touchdowns in the 90 minute intra-squad game.
One of the biggest question marks for the Baylor squad this season is who’s going to fill Bryce Petty’s shoes? Seth Russell is the heavy favorite for the job, and his performance was “just okay”. The junior QB hit 18 of 27 passes for 345 yards, threw four touchdowns to three different receivers, and had one pass picked after the ball deflected off the intended receiver.
“He would probably tell you the same thing, but I thought Seth was just okay,” Briles said. “And that’s good. It’s good that he’s not where he’s going to be. We expect a whole lot, he expects a whole lot. But you still have to go through a whole lot to get where you want to get to, and he hasn’t been through a whole lot yet. I think he did an admirable job. It wouldn’t classify it as great, but it was productive with a lot of room for improvement.”
It’s a little bit scary that Briles only considers a 345-yard, four touchdown performance as just okay.
If that’s scary though, then LaQuan McGowan is down right terrifying! The offensive lineman moved to tight end went full fat guy touchdown mode when he caught an 18-yard TD pass against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl last season. He’s now up to 410 pounds, and Baylor’s made no secret of making more use of his athleticism.
“He’s just a big kid that’s got some talent,” Briles said. “We’ve got to make sure he keeps burning hot and keeps figuring out ways to help our football team.”
One of the highlights of the night came when McGowan caught a pass over the middle, and turned up field. Holding the ball out with his left hand, he reeled off a 21-yard gain before being brought down by safety Mallory Franklin.
“Was it a ball?” Briles said about the lack of form. “I thought it was a lemon drop or something in his hands. I wasn’t sure what it was. If he tucked (the ball), it might deflate.”
It’s a good start for the Bears, but the next time Baylor kicks off on a Friday night it will be for real. They open the season Friday, September 4th at SMU.
“All in all, a pretty good scrimmage,” Briles said. “We’re not where we need to be or where we’re going to be, but we’re getting a better feel for how we need to get there. We’re learning, particularly from an offensive standpoint, what some of these guys’ strengths are. We’ve got to make sure we get our right people in the right place to give us the right results.”
– Cover Photo Credit: YouTube | BaylorAthletics