In the most difficult Baylor football season to predict in years, Seth Russell is cast with leading a team well short of the scholarship limit- with a coach installed in the last days of May- to what may be the last chance it has to contend for years.
Russell is less than one year removed from a neck surgery some thought would end his career. But on Friday, he’ll take the field and display how a Q.B. who committed to Kansas before anyone ever cursed Charlie Weiss in Lawrence, may remind people it’s too soon to crown Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma as the best in the Big 12.
Russell doesn’t seem to be the sentimental type. He has one of the fastest releases in college football:
The college QBs who got the ball out of their hand fastest in 2015:— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) August 28, 2016
Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Brandon Silvers, Troy
Seth Russell, Baylor
And the tape doesn’t lie:
In the next clip, Corey Coleman shows why he won the Biletnikoff, but Russell also hits him at the perfect moment. You can always reload with Seth Russell:
Many are rightfully worried about losing Corey Coleman and Jay Lee. But Russell had some excellent moments with Cannon, particularly here:
Russell also thrives with the vertical passing game. The Bears had a league leading 8.95 yards per attempt, which happens when you can make a throw like this:
The man can also run. The Bears have four new starters on the offensive line, and while literally everyone believes in Kyle Fuller, the Bears have hope if the line doesn’t dominate like past Baylor teams, because Russell doesn’t need a lot with his 4.49 40 time and 6’3 220 pound frame:
Baylor can also integrate run pass options more effectively than they did at the end of last season without Russell as they finished 1-3. There were a lot of other circumstances that went into that slide- better opponents, a monsoon in Fort Worth, injuries to the backup QB- but you always have hope when your options are Russell pass, Linwood/Jefferson/Williams/Hasty run, or Russell run:
In seven games, Russell ran for 402 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per carry. Russell picked his spots and finished with six touchdowns, including this one against the Jayhawks:
Baylor will go as Seth Russell does this season. Zach Smith’s future is incredibly bright, and a reason to doubt those who believe Baylor cannot win at least 7 games next season, but he’s not ready to lead this offense.
Russell is ready to lead this offense. He’s been on campus for five years. Before the team ever won a Big 12 championship, or knocked off the number one team in the country on a cold November night, he was there. He’s still here. He’s still one of the best in the country. And the Bears still have a shot.