I had the chance to take in the Baylor spring scrimmage today, so here are a few thoughts and observations. I preface it by saying the 1st team offense went against the 2nd team defense, and the 2nd team offense went against the 1st team defense, so it's hard to gain a lot of perspective, but I will give it a shot.
1st team offense looked strong. Bryce Petty looked great, going 13-15 for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 2 incompletions were both overthrown deep balls with the wind at his back on at least 1 of them. Clay Fuller and Jay Lee made big touchdown catches and both look to be major contributors in the passing game this season. Levi Norwood was solid as always, and as has been reported from spring practices, is definitely Bryce's go-to guy when the WR's are covered. Tevin Reese didn't dress today, but was constantly on the field coaching up the receivers. The running game with Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk looks to pick up right where it left off last season, with a combined 204 yards and 4 touchdowns, both breaking long TD runs. Shock Linwood, while not putting up huge numbers, also looks to be a guy who can contribute from the RB position. The move of Stefan Huber to starting center after Troy Baker's ACL injury appears to be seamless, as all of his snaps looked great, something that even Ivory Wade struggled with at the end of last season.
There are quite a few changes in the defense this season, but the 1st unit looked very good during the scrimmage. Terrance Lloyd and Chris McCallister are back at the DE positions, but you have 2 new starting DT's in Beau Blackshear and sophomore Javonte Magee, who has moved inside from the DE position. This is a very quick and active group, and appear to be built to deal with Big 12 offenses. As a side note, Penn State transfer Shawn Oakman ran with the 2nd team defense, and was very effective against the 1st team offensive line. He beat Spencer Drango for a "sack," and it is obvious that his height and quickness are going to be a problem for opposing offensive linemen. Hager and Lackey looked good at linebacker, and Sam Holl looks like he might be able to handle the "Bearbacker" position this season. More changes in the secondary, as Ahmad Dixon takes over Sam Holl's safety position and sophomore Terrell Burt takes over for Mike Hicks. Orion Stewart also saw a fair amount of time with the 1st team defense at the safety position. KJ Morton and and Joe Williams started at the CB spots, and Williams made two great plays to intercept Seth Russell. Demetri Goodson, returning from the broken arm suffered in the West Virginia game last season, also saw time at KJ Morton's CB spot.
Aaron Jones hit all of his XP's as well as a 38 yard field goal with a strong wind at this back. Spencer Roth punted several times, one of which got caught in the strong wind. There isn't usually much to be taken from special teams performance in a scrimmage, and today was no different. Hopefully, we'll be in good shape with August 31st rolls around.
Overall, I thought it was a very good performance by the Bears. There are a lot of new guys in a lot of new spots, so it will be interesting to see what the team looks like in the fall as compared to now. But now having attended the last 3 spring scrimmages, this team is significantly ahead of it's 2 predecessors, and my expectations for the fall are very high. Sic'em Bears!