Baylor takes the field for the first time in the 2022 season a little over five days from now against the Great Danes of the State University of New York at Albany, and though with Blake Shapen ensconced at QB, we don’t have the same intrigue at that position as, say, Michigan, there was reason to be curious about what today’s release might look like. Here’s what Baylor put out, courtesy of our friend Travis Roeder on Twitter (and also available here for your viewing pleasure):
Baylor depth chart for Albany pic.twitter.com/MWPGm2arI6— Travis Roeder (@Travis_Roeder) August 29, 2022
A few things jump out to me from this, and I’m curious to hear thoughts from others in the comments below.
- Before you write off the single-digit tradition, Drayton Williams correctly pointed out on Twitter that the remaining single-digits were announced after this point in the first week last year. We’ll see. It’s not uncommon for things like that from a prior regime to be phased out after a couple of years, but there’s not a very good reason to do it, either. I would bet Mr. Williams is right, and we just don’t know yet.
- That’s a lot of “ORs” in the chart, which is both perfectly in line with where we are in the season—the beginning—and, given that just one is for the listed starter—between Randolph and Jackson at the JACK—probably not a bad thing at all. If you look deeper, several of the battles appear to be between underclassmen behind established upperclassmen, which makes sense.
- That’s a lot of TEs, too. I mean look at all those TEs! There’s six of them listed right there all the way down to Cody Mladenka, a name that I would absolutely mispronounce if I was ever invited on a podcast again. Ben Sims leads the way here, as he should (he is, after all, our top returning receiver from last year).
- Consistency on both lines is going to be the defining feature of the 2022 Bears. Just comparing this depth chart to the Sugar Bowl last season makes this evident. Of the five OL listed here as starters, all were listed as starters or co-starters against Ole Miss, and the only big names missing from that game are Khalil Keith (who will be back later this season) and Xavier Newman, who graduated. On the other side, we brought back all four of Maxwell, Ika, Hall, and Randolph while adding Jaxon Player to the mix. There may not be a better OL-DL combination across the country than we have here.
- I was curious to see who would step up at WR, where we lost our top three from last season, and it appears that a trio of sophomores will get first chance. After Baldwin broke out in the Sugar Bowl, his spot seemed pretty obvious, but Hal Presley and Seth Jones were less so. I assume there will be plenty of opportunities to go around with no established names among them, though.
- I can’t wait to see what Taye McWilliams is able to do backed up (for this game, at least) by Jones, Fleeks, and, though he isn’t listed here, Sqwirl Williams. Aranda confirmed today that Sqwirl is good to go but has been dealing with a knee issue.
- Buy stock in Al Walcott at the STAR position if you haven’t already. Travis has been talking him up for going on a year now, and he’s stepping into a big void left by Jalen Pitre. So, too, is Matt Jones in taking over for Terrel Bernard, but that was less of a surprise since we had seen Jones play in that spot quite a bit before.
Altogether, some of the low-hanging-fruit questions got answered like at WR, while other things we already knew were confirmed, like how solid our OL and DL should be. Can’t wait to see everyone at McLane on Saturday night!