Since the regular season ended about a day ago, and in many cases even before, I've gotten about a million questions regarding the potential return of Jarrett Stidham, Baylor's uberfreshman QB. People are understandably concerned about whether he'll be able to lead Baylor into the bowl game, particularly since Chris Johnson is now also banged up and the offense has looked less than stellar the last few games (for a lot of reasons not related specifically to Johnson).
Today, in the Russell Athletic Bowl press conference, Briles gave us something of an answer, or at least a timeline for an answer:
Briles on whether @Jarrett_Stidham, "we'll wait & see, he has a bone graph coming up week from Monday and that will give us a better idea."— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) December 6, 2015
As it turns out, Briles actually said "scan" here, not graph or "graft." Next Monday, Stidham will have a CT scan on the bone to determined level of healing. Currently, he is in a walking boot and on crutches, and they're waiting for that scan in 8 days to find out how far along things are. That means that if you read nothing else, take away from this that we should know something a week from tomorrow. The elder Smoak continued:
Briles on Stidham, "if he can get clearance next Monday that's about the time we would start up with our bowl preparations."— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) December 6, 2015
As I mentioned, next Monday is the day we should know definitively whether Stidham can't play. We might have to wait a little longer to know whether he can based on his progression in practice coming off the injury. Also from Briles.
Briles on Stidham, "but, it's not easy to walk around on crutches for three weeks and just pick up where you left off."— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) December 6, 2015
I'm sure Briles is attempting to temper expectations somewhat considering Stidham will have missed about 4 weeks of practice, at least.
Briles, "and, he (Stidham) if cleared, will need to get himself back in game condition, and that's not easy to do."— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) December 6, 2015
Something tells me he'll be up to the task, though.
The other piece of important news came from Andrew Billings, Baylor's junior DT, whose return could mean the difference between a stout defense in 2016 and once missing the entire DL from the year before. For that, we return to Smoak the Younger:
Andrew Billings is waiting to see draft grade before making any decisions on future. Will likely return if it's not first round.— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) December 6, 2015
Not a lot of new info here; I think this is what most people expected.
Billings clarifies that it would have to be "first round, first pick" or in that range for him to leave early for NFL.— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) December 6, 2015
But this is interesting. Will it take a first-round grade for Billings to leave, or will it have to be in the top half or better? That's the important question. And unfortunately, it's a question we don't really have an answer to right now. But at least we know that in the unlikely event Billings doesn't get that first-round grade, he'll be back in the middle next year.