There is no doubt that the 2019 Baylor football team has a different feel than last year’s squad. In 2018, I was confident in stating that Baylor would only go as far as quarterback Charlie Brewer would take us, and that is pretty much how that season panned out. However, that trend did not carry over to the 2019 season, and it’s due primarily to the seniors on this roster.
The trio of Bravvion Roy, Jordan Williams, and Clay Johnston have undoubtedly played the best football of their careers during the six games of the season. Bravvion Roy has already eclipsed his TFL (tackles for loss) numbers from 3 the previous season to 5, while Jordan Williams has already surpassed or is on his pace to surpass all of his individual statistics from last year, while also leading the team in interceptions. And what more can be said about Clay Johnston? He was having an All-Big 12 type season, where even the casual fans were beginning to notice his play. I’m not sure how big the drop off will be without him, but I expect it to be noticeable. Along with those three, posting big defensive numbers, are a couple of seniors who have played steady all year. Blake Lynch and Sam Tecklenburg may not have yet made some of highlight plays that some of the seniors have, but they have still held their own. It’s hard to quantify how well an offensive lineman plays due to the lack of stats (instead it takes hours of film), but I know who the Bears counted on to pull and make a seal block on a 4th & short against Iowa State, and Tecklenburg delivered. And Blake Lynch is seemingly always around the ball, and I expect him to make some impactful plays in the second half of the season.
Also visible is the amount of important clutch plays the seniors have made this year. There are the obvious moments such as James Lockhart providing the pressure that ended the game against Iowa State, or yet again, Denzel Mims making another unbelievable catch on the sideline against Texas Tech, but some of my favorite individual plays have been more subtle. For example, Chris Platt making a diving catch on 4th down that led to the Bears first touchdown, JaMycal Hasty leading the way blocking for John Lovett on a touchdown run against Kansas State that sealed the game, or Chris Miller coming downhill and making a hard tackle against a Texas Tech running back in double overtime, ensuring that Tech would have to settle for a field goal.
A lot of Baylor’s success has to do with individual talent, but it is also a testament to the coaching staff for getting every last ounce of effort from this senior group. This is a group that could have very easily have phoned it in when the circumstances got tough, but instead decided to dig their heels in deeper. Fans can see it in their body language; these are players that are enjoying their last year at Baylor University.