My wife travels frequently for her job. So much so that she has only been able to take in one half of a Baylor football game this year and that was in an airport. Baylor was wearing grey jerseys, was scoring points faster than we could text back and forth about what was going on and then the next thing she knew she was on the plane home.
Maybe you, or someone you know, is a bit behind on Baylor football this year. Maybe you have a new boyfriend who is trying to become a fan to appease you, or your Grandson is in the class of Baylor 2019 and you're interested in talking with him about it and think the football team is a good way to start a conversation. Whatever your situation, I'm here to help. This will be fairly high-level so if you're already capable of listing off the entire 85 man scholarship roster in alphabetical order then maybe pass this off to one of your friends who is debating whether to watch the Baylor game on Saturday, or whether to go to brunch.
Who is the coach, and why should I care?
The Great Coach Art Briles (TGCAB) leads your Baylor Bears. Why did I use such a long phrase to reference our coach? Robert Griffin III won the Heisman trophy (best player in college football) in 2011 under Briles' tutelage and in his legendary acceptance speech, he called Coach Briles that and ever since that moment, it has stuck. He is known for developing what is now widely considered one of the most prolific offenses in college football history and for turning around once dead programs dating back to his years coaching High School Football in the state of Texas. He's great.
Who is the Quarterback?
Often (and rightly) considered the most important position on the field, the Baylor quarterback this season is new. Seth Russell, who wears the number 17, is the quarterback this year. He is really fast, has a really strong arm, but sometimes has a tendency to take too many risks. Russell has played well so far this year, so well in fact that people in vegas who let you bet on the Heisman trophy (yes this is a thing for whatever reason) are giving him the second highest odds to win it.
Random fact: He's a pilot. Like an actual airplane pilot. You will probably hear about this during a game if you pay attention to the announcers.
What do I need to know about the offense?
Baylor plays offense at a faster rate than any school in the country. Baylor's offense is so fast, in fact, that during game broadcasts you will often find the network come up with creative ways to keep pace. They put up a stopwatch-like timer to see how many seconds occur from the time one play ends, until the next begins. During Baylor's game against Texas Tech, they even began to show replays in a split screen mode so you can watch what just happened again without missing any current game action. It's actually a bit insane...ly awesome.
Baylor's offense runs the ball more than they throw it, but hardly anyone knows this because they have amazing wide receivers.
Here are three you should know or remember:
Corey Coleman - has 11 touchdown catches in 4 games. That's more than 106 teams have total (there are 127 teams in all). He also has a sense of humor:
Baylor WR Corey Coleman went for a high-five that clearly wasn't gonna land. https://t.co/y4iMTa4SqV— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 3, 2015
KD Cannon - This is the guy that the cameras cannot keep up with because he is so fast. Like, he-also-runs-track-for-Baylor-fast.
Jay Lee - The senior who just won't stop making plays. He has a hilarious knack for being tackled just short of the end zone but it is okay because ....
Baylor also has an amazing group of running backs, but to keep from overwhelming you I'll just stick with one for now:
Shock Linwood. Yes, his name is Shock, and yes, he is really really good. He is averaging 9 yards per carry. That's almost a first down every time we hand the ball off to him.
All of these guys score. A lot. Prompting this from ESPN last weekend:
"Okay, I get that the skill position guys get all the credit but I like to know about the offensive linemen."
Spencer Drango is your guy, as he is expected to be a first round NFL draft pick. He's a great guy too, watch below for more on that.
Who are the defensive players to know?
It begins with a guy who is 6' 9" tall named Shawn Oakman. He plays defensive end, and let's check in real quick on how well that goes for quarterbacks ...
Next up you have Taylor Young. He is the smallest guy on the field almost 100% of the time. However, if you see someone on defense wearing the number "1" blow up an opponent at what looks like 100 mph, you will have spotted Taylor "Rocket" Young.
Now, I'm saving the best for last here, really. Andrew Billings. Billings is the best player on Baylor's roster (with Corey Coleman being the only possible exception). He has set powerlifting records, and is actually so strong that our strength and conditioning coaches actually prevent him from lifting more weight. Yes, you read that correctly. He also is a defensive linemen and HE CHASED DOWN A RUNNING BACK IN A GAME LAST YEAR:
Anything else I should know?
Yes, there are plenty of things, but rather than overwhelm you, I would just encourage you to start here and take the games in one at a time. I can assure you that if you're just looking to get into it at all, this is a good place to start. If you've really gotten excited about Baylor football and decide to join SB Nation and Our Daily Bears, feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I can guarantee you either myself or someone else will be ready to answer!
Sic 'Em Bears!