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Matt Rhule’s Press Conference: What We Learned

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The first press conference of the spring

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For nearly 40 minutes, Matt Rhule discussed the team and met with the media. Here’s what we learned.

Suspensions:

This topic dominated the press conference. Rhule revealed that four players are suspended for spring football. Those four are: John Arthur, Justin Harris, Tre’von Lewis and Eric Orgor. The first three are red-shirt freshmen. Ogor is a sophomore.

ESPN’s Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach are reporting that three Baylor football players are suspended “because of allegations of sexual assault involving football players and female members of the university’s equestrian team.”

Rhule said, “I have not met with the equestrian coaches. I have met with people..campus people and police as well.”

David Smoak of ESPN 1660 asked how quickly Rhule responded, once he found out about the allegations. Rhule said the response was immediate and that a, “Process (is) in place—committee meets..it’s not coach Rhule, it’s a committee.” He went on to say, “We’re going to separate people from out team until we know what happens.”

When asked how he knows things are being handled correctly, if he’s not the person involved, Rhule said, “I handle the football.” “They’re separated from the team.” “I don’t know much about the case—I think that’s a good thing.” He also said, “When something happens, it’s our job to deal with it justly..people are going to say things. That doesn’t mean there’s a bad culture...nobody is hiding anything here.”

Rhule remained upbeat about the men currently involved in team activities. He said, “We have wonderful young men here...we have guys that are doing things right.”

Mark had this response to a few folks that immediately jumped on Baylor:

Injuries:

Dru Dixon and Clay Johnston are currently sitting out with injuries.

The following guys are out for the spring: Drew Galitz, Gavin Holmes and Chris Platt. All tore their ACL’s within the past year.

Josh Malin, Casey Phillips, Rob Saulin, Pooh Stricklin and Deonte Williams are out for now. It’s unclear when they’ll return.

Charlie Brewer is on a “limited pitch count.” Rhule said he’s dealing with shoulder problems that were aggravated in the TCU game.

Despite so many injuries, Rhule said he expects to have everyone back by the start of the season. Though there’s a chance Holmes or some of the guys coming back from torn ACLs may not be ready for the start of the campaign.

George DeLeone is not coaching right now. He’s dealing with a hip injury, and Rhule said that he’d have trouble leading drills. Shawn Bell is currently coaching the offensive line.

Position groups:

Blake Lynch is now a safety. Rhule said, “We think he can be a great, great, great safety.”

He said the focus of their defense remains, “Can we tackle?”

On the offensive line, Rhule said, “Sam Tecklenburg is one of the great stories on our team. I think he’s going to be a great offensive lineman for us as our starting center.”

The Bears could also add a graduate transfer at quarterback. But he said, “I feel really good about Charlie. I have just been blow away by Gerry Bohanon’s work ethic, maturity...we have three guys we feel good about.”

Rhule said near the end of his press conference that, “I think we’re significantly better (than last year).”