I’ll have to admit that I’m pleasantly (for the most part) surprised that yesterday evening’s post about depth charts for this weekend’s game garnered as many comments as it did, but we’re going to try to keep that momentum going today.
Coach Rhule spoke twice today about team goings on—during the Big 12 teleconference this morning and at a luncheon today. He gave additional information regarding the depth charts, injuries, suspensions, etc. I’ll try to put it all together here beginning with the thing everyone is talking about:
Baylor HC Matt Rhule said MLB Clay Johnston (knee) and OL Jake Fruhmorgen (knee) will practice Monday. The hope is either or both can be ready for ACU.— SicEmSports (@SicEmSports) August 27, 2018
Clay Johnston AND Jake Fruhmorgen in the same update? And potentially practicing on the same day? Wunderbar!
He along with Fruhmorgen, Johnston and perhaps a couple others are day by day and they'll see how they practice this week.— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) August 27, 2018
Same with Harrison Hand, apparently. The elder Smoak confirmed the same thing:
A couple of notes from my conversation with #Baylor HC Matt Rhule, Harrison Hand and Clay Johnston shod be good to go this week, just dealing with some bumps and bruises. Depth at CB also creates someone’s name being left out of two-deep.— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) August 27, 2018
Now for some bad news involving DE-turned-TE Jamie Jacobs. This rumor had been swirling for about a week on some of the paid boards and has sadly turned out to be true.
That’s why you see Christoph Henle and Tyler Henderson listed as the starter and back-up, respectively. TE could be a spot to watch early in the season.
In case you can’t see the nested tweet in there, the following players have been suspended for various things: DE B.J. Thompson, S Ashton Logan, and DE Greg Roberts (which answers a question about where he was on the depth chart). Rhule is apparently worried a bit about DE as a result of these suspensions.
"DE is a real worry for me. We're down some bodies at that position." - Matt Rhule. Suspensions didn't help already thin roster spot. #Baylor— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) August 27, 2018
But is excited about what some of our freshmen can bring:
OL Connor Galvin, WR/CB Kalon Barnes, OL Casey Phillips, WR Tyquan Thornton, RB Sqwirl Williams some of the freshmen Matt Rhule feels are "ready to play". #Baylor— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) August 27, 2018
I feel like a broken record on this, but since the rules changed to allow players to play in four games and still redshirt, I bet we see just about every freshman on the roster at some point. My guess is that these are the guys they feel are ready to potentially play more than four games. More about Kalon Barnes:
Rhule on Kalon Barnes : He's looked fantastic. It kind of pains me because I want him to play offense, Fran [Brown] wants him to play CB so he'll do both.— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) August 27, 2018
So that’s all I’ve seen so far today, which is mostly good news aside from (obviously) Jacobs. Getting Fruhmorgen back into practice this week and potentially playing on Saturday would be huge for the OL, as would having Johnston back at MLB if he’s ready to go. Solidify those two groups, and I’d say we’re ready to go. I understand why Rhule is concerned about DE from a numbers standpoint, but you still have James Lynch and Xavier Jones to carry the load at one spot with James Lockhart and Deonte Williams at the other. You can also probably slide Tyrone Hunt out there to help, if need be. There’s just not a lot behind that right now.
Ok, now that all that is out of the way, let’s get to the thing people are really talking about right now:
Baylor coach Matt Rhule won't name a starter. The battle remains open between Jalan McClendon and Charlie Brewer #SicEm— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) August 27, 2018
In case you crawled out of a rock this morning and haven’t seen the depth charts posted last night, there’s a lot of consternation in Baylor Nation right now about the fact that Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon are listed disjunctively on the depth chart. Some are apparently very upset about this because they think it’s disrespectful to Brewer considering what he did last season, some see it as a repeat of what they feel was a mistake with Anu Solomon and Zach Smith a year ago, and some just don’t like it because they think it’s not really true and Rhule is just playing games. I’m sure there are those that think all of those things at once.
I’m not concerned about it or upset, if that wasn’t clear from my comments in the other thread. I don’t see a problem with having a QB competition go into game week (and apparently neither does Alabama, which has listed Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts as co-starters), and I don’t think it’s reflective of a lack of trust or respect for Brewer that he hasn’t been named the starter outright. I don’t believe that players should more-or-less default into positions no matter how many dues they’ve paid, and without having been there to see what the coaches see, I can’t say for sure which one should be starting. What I do know is that competition is generally a good thing. I also strongly believe that the decision made to start Solomon last season was probably the right move at the time given the change in offenses and the fact that our offensive line was more a theoretical impediment than a protective force.
That being said, it seems extremely likely to me that Brewer will eventually start for the Bears on Saturday, making all of this brouhaha essentially moot. It also seems likely that McClendon will play in certain packages or situations since he has a particular set of skills—namely, size—that Brewer doesn’t have. We’ll just have to see.
But until then, we can argue about it.