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Daily Bears Report 12/26

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Jim Grobe interview. More on Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. Soccer’s Jackie Crowther.

NCAA Football: Cactus Bowl-West Virginia vs Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Next Event

  • Football, vs. Boise State, The Cactus Bowl is tomorrow, 12/27 @ 9:15 p.m. CT, ESPN

Football

The longtime Baylor assistant coach has accepted a post as the offensive coordinator under Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic, according to multiple media reports. Sports Illustrated was the first to report the move. Baylor acting coach Jim Grobe expects that Briles would still coach in Tuesday’s Cactus Bowl game against Boise State, a Baylor official told the Tribune-Herald on Friday night.

NCAA Football: Cactus Bowl-West Virginia vs Arizona State
Chase Field, WVU vs. ASU, 2015 Season Cactus Bowl
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
  • With a history of winning big bowl games in Arizona, Boise State has a lot of reasons to be excited about playing Baylor in Tuesday’s Cactus Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix. This story by WacoTrib’s John Werner.

The Broncos are traditionally one of the best teams outside the Power 5 conferences, and some of their most significant wins were carved out in the Fiesta Bowl.

Imaginative play calling, outside the box coaching, and sheer guts have defined the Broncos’ football program over the years. Especially on big stages at bowl games.

“They’re the most physical team we’ve played this year, I think,” Grobe said. “They’re probably one of the more dangerous teams running the football, although I think their quarterback is very athletic and throws the ball really, really well. They’re a little bit more of a power team with lots of tight ends, H-backs, shifts and motions. They’re unique, they’re a little different.”

“They present some of the same problems to us that Kansas State did, but in a different way, using different personnel groups to try to get you out of position and make a lot of different people defend the run and the throw,” Grobe said. “The one thing that I do know is they play a physical brand of football, a really tough, hard-nosed brand of football.”

But he also wasn’t hired to just win football games.

“Probably one of the most unique situations in college football that you’ll ever see,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “I think (Grobe) did a heck of a job, and I think not many people would step up and be in the role he decided to be in. As far as a coach goes, you admire it and what he’s done there.”

When Baylor needed a head coach to help keep the program from falling off the tracks, it relied on the school’s all-time winningest coach, Grant Teaff, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. Grobe, who went 110-115-1 from 1995-2013 at Ohio and Wake Forest, had previously run the AFCA’s ethics committee.

“It felt like a calling, to come and help after Grant called me,” Grobe said. “Coaches don’t want distractions, and it has affected us on the field for sure. But it’s been an honor. I’ve got 100 new sons.”

“It just shows what kind of a guy coach Grobe is,” Baylor senior wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne said. “Not many people want to come in and have to help fix something they had nothing to do with. What he did was hold us accountable, be that figure that a lot of guys were looking for. He’s an incredible person. I love him to death. We’re able to function as a football team, which is why he came.”

“He didn’t have much to do, so I’m sure he liked the challenge,” senior linebacker Avaion Edwards said of Grobe. “He held things together. He knew what happened weren’t involving the guys on this team now. I think he helped show we have good people here.”

While it's no surprise, Temple defensive coordinator said on Saturday that he will be joining former Owls coach Matt Rhule at Baylor and serve as defensive coordinator.

"It's not official because I haven't signed a contract but I am going there," Snow said before the Owls practiced at St. John's College High School. "I will start on Jan. 2."

Previously, Temple defensive backs coach Francis Brown and linebackers coach Mike Siravo agreed to go to to Baylor.

Baylor football could have its own alumni association meeting during the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl week. Story by Baylor Bear Foundation’s Jerry Hill.

When the Bears (6-6) play Boise State (10-2) in Tuesday's 9:15 p.m. CDT matchup at the Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field, they will have nine graduates playing in the game and another two on the sidelines, along with four former players who have walked the stage.

"Oh man, it was a huge deal," said fourth-year junior linebacker Taylor Young, who graduated last Saturday along with seven other teammates. "Just having this goal and accomplishing it, that was a great deal for me, a great deal for my family. I know everybody's proud of me."

Young is one of six defensive starters who have already earned their degrees, joining fellow linebackers Aiavion Edwards, defensive end K.J. Smith, cornerback Ryan Reid and safety Orion Stewart.

Like Edwards, Young said his mom stayed on him to keep in the books and "make sure you take advantage of your free education." Along with Smith and junior linebacker Raaquan Davis, Young took just 3 ½ years to get his degree in health, kinesiology and leisure studies.

"I'm real big in football, but my mom always preaches grades, grades, grades," Young said. "If I fall off for maybe a semester, I always pick it back up, because she always nags me, `Grades, grades, grades.' . . . Just having that diploma is a huge blessing."

Davis actually dreamed of being a doctor, "but playing a sport and doing pre-med and all that was hard." So, he took more of the administration route and got his degree in medical humanities.

"It's pretty much one of the biggest things I've accomplished in my life so far," Davis said of the degree. "My family was there in full force (for last Saturday's graduation ceremony), and they loved seeing me walk across the stage. I did a little dance across the stage. They loved that. And then seeing my mom and my dad afterwards, tears in their eyes, it was an emotional day."

Also graduating last week were offensive lineman Keith Orcutt, defensive lineman Byron Bonds, safety Taion Sells and former linebacker Xavier Phillips. Additionally, receiver Lynx Hawthorne is a December 2015 graduate, injured quarterback Seth Russell graduated in May and running back Shock Linwood -- who is sitting out the bowl -- graduated in August.

"It was a must," Young said. "I couldn't come home and not have a degree."

Basketball

Soccer

It was one heck of a freshman year for former Linfield Christian multisport standout, Jackie Crowther, who now as a sophomore at Baylor University has had much success as a student athlete in college. From My Valley News.

A forward for the Bears Women’s Soccer team, Crowther played in all 19 matches last season and started two games, registering 792 minutes of playtime as a true freshman. She was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team, was on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (Fall 2015, Spring 2016), Baylor dean’s list (Fall 2015, Spring 2016), scored three goals (one game-winner) with one assist for seven points in the 2015 season and just returned from performing on the world stage yet again, as a part of the U-20 Mexican National Soccer team.

Just recently Jackie and the Mexico team competed in the World Cup where they beat South Korea and Venezuela, but lost to Germany the previous world cup winners, as well as the United States.

Two late goals, including an injury-time winner, saw Team USA escape with a barely-deserved 2-1 win over Mexico to reach the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup semi-finals. Mexico, who had marginally the better of proceedings, dominating the shot and corner count throughout the game was the favorite, but will have to wait to till next year to prove their worth.