Baylor quarterback Seth Russell has been lighting up the scoreboards and stuffing the stat sheets, but unfortunately his season has come to an early end. It was reported on Monday that a neck injury suffered against Iowa State will require surgery.
The decision to undergo surgery was made after consulting with a specialist where it was determined that the procedure would be the best course of action for his long-term future. Unfortunately the typical recovery period for the surgery is six months, thus ending his season.
“Seth exemplifies the spirit and will of our football team,” Head coach Art Briles told the media, “and through this our team will keep that spirit alive and well for him.”
The good news for the nation’s second ranked team is that they have a bye week this weekend, and won’t play until next Thursday night at Kansas State. That gives Russell’s replacement, freshman Jarrett Stidham, some time to get comfortable with the first team in practice.
The bad news for Baylor, well other than losing a prolific quarterback, is that the Bears have yet to get into the meat of their schedule. With games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas to finish the season. With College Football Playoff hopes on the line, that’s stiff competition to throw a freshman in against.
“We certainly have tons of confidence in Jarrett,” Briles said. “He doesn’t seem like a freshman, look like a freshman or perform like a freshman. He’s instinctively and athletically ready to play. This guy’s good, and he’s ready.”
Losing your starting quarterback would derail most team’s season aspirations, but most teams aren’t Baylor. Art Briles system is about as plug-and-play as it gets, and with endless talent around him, it’s about as good of a situation as a young quarterback could ask for.
Stidham has also seen the field plenty this year. He’s played in every game so far, and albeit garbage minutes, he’s impressed with video game like numbers. He’s completing a ridiculous 85.7% of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
There’s no question, Stidham has the talent to get the job done. However, does he have decision-making that usually only comes with experience, and does he have the patience to not try to do too much when the Bears are tested? Those will be the key factors as Baylor heads down the stretch.