If you read Hammer's last couple of Trench Warfare posts, including the one today recapping the OL performance against TCU, you know that Baylor has attempted recently to work JUCO transfer Jarell Broxton into the mix at both LG and RG as part of a three-headed guard monster with starters Blake Muir and Desmine Hilliard. That effort culminated in Broxton's first start this past weekend against the Horned Frogs and will now take on even more importance with reports from Baylor's Rivals site, SicEmSports.com, indicating that Hilliard, a junior, will miss the rest of the season.
Aside from the obvious problem of losing Hilliard, moving Broxton into that role impacts our depth, since Broxton has played on both sides in recent games and appears to be coming into his own in his first year on campus. Baylor will now rely on him to fill the Hilliard-sized void at RG and will need LaQuan McGowan, a contender to start coming into the season, to step up as Muir's backup on the left side. You may also see someone like Ishmael Wilson, the former A&M transfer, start to get time on the inside as a worst-case stopgap, but that's pure speculation on my part.
I have every confidence that Broxton will be able to come in and play well-- he has the size and temperament to dominate at guard and was pushing for time before the injury by all accounts-- but this is still clearly a loss for our offensive line. Hilliard is a powerful run blocker that Baylor has relied on to stabilize things this season while searching a bit for a new LG and has been our best pass blocker grade-wise according to Hammer's weekly statistics.
This kind of news hits right when Baylor seemed to be finally getting healthy on offense once again with the return of WRs Corey Coleman, Antwan Goodley, Levi Norwood, and Clay Fuller and is coming off arguably its best offensive performance of the season. We should note that Broxton was a big part of that performance and played extremely well, but it's still never good to lose a starter, especially on the offensive line. How Baylor responds to this loss will go a long way toward determining our success for the rest of the season.
Obviously, we wish Desmine the best in his recovery and hope to see him back at 100% for his senior year in 2015!
Confirmed by Craig Smoak of ESPN1660 in Waco:
#Baylor HC Art Briles has confirmed that RG Desmine Hilliard is out for the remainder of the regular season following wrist surgery. #SicEm— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) October 17, 2014