In a lot of ways, the 2019 Baylor Bears overachieved on the football field. The Bears were a couple of plays away from winning the Big 12 Championship and making an appearance in the college football playoff. I think it’s fair to say that several players outperformed expectations throughout the season. However, as well as the 2019 season played out, there were some glaring issues that need to be addressed once spring ball rolls around.
1.) Punt Returns – I lost count on the amount of times a Baylor player fumbled or muffed a punt this season. Fortunately, even though some of those occurred at inopportune times, the Bears were able to recover some of the loose footballs, and when that didn’t happen, the defense found ways to mitigate the damage. Not to be too dramatic, but I’m hoping this is not becoming a trend. Baylor struggled in the punt return game last year as well. Early on there was the Jalen Hurd experiment which did not go well, an awful turnover on a punt against Oklahoma after the defense had made a stop, and the Bears shuffled through other returners without ever finding much consistency.
After sharing time in 2019 with R.J Sneed, I think there is a case to be made for Grayland Arnold to take over full time next season. Although he made some mistakes this past season, he showed some flashes in the return game and finished with a solid performance against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
2.) Finding a Play-maker at the Tight End Position – This has been the one position group that has yet to really come into their own the past 3 seasons. The good news? This position has been extremely young the past two years, and there is help on the way with Temple transfer, Kenny Yeboah. I can’t help but believe that there are big plans for this position next year. With the amount of tight-end recruiting that this Baylor staff has done, this group is bound to have a play-maker among them.
3.) Offensive Line – The top priority and the most obvious answer. I don’t think the coaching staff has to necessarily have a starting unit coming out of spring ball, but it is imperative to know which players are capable of competing for a starting spot once fall camp starts. The most glaring question will be at center, as the Bears will be replacing senior Sam Tecklenburg.