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Baylor Bears 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 85
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 94

2009 was supposed to be the year that the Baylor Bears finally broke their 15 year bowl game drought. Hopes were high that outstanding quarterback Robert Griffin would build on his tremendous freshman year and lead the team to glory. Unfortunately though, an early season ACL tear destroyed the season for both Griffin and the Bears.

Griffin’s impact to his team can’t be overstated. In 2008, he combined to pass and rush for almost 3,000 yards and scored 28 times, while throwing only three interceptions. His blazing speed and accurate arm make him one of the most dangerous players in college football. The Bears are hoping he will return in time to start the season and will be able to pick up where he left off. Last year’s leading receiver Kendall Wright returns after hauling in 66 catches for 740 yards. There is a lack of depth at the position though, with only one other receiver returning that had a decent amount of production in 2009. Senior running back Jay Finley is back after rushing for only 370 yards in an injury plagued season. Finley rushed for over 1,000 yards when Griffin was healthy in 2008, so the two should feed off of each other once again. The offensive line lost two three year starters, and may be a cause for concern. Griffin’s speed and playmaking ability may mask some of those issues though.

Baylor Bears College Football Cheerleaders

Four of the top five tacklers are gone from last year’s team, with only senior outside linebacker Antonio Johnson returning. The linebacking corps should be the strength of the defense, with seniors Earl Patin and Chris Francis. The defensive line will get a boost from Penn State transfer Phil Taylor. He will try to clog the middle and help one of the worst run defenses in the conference. The defense recorded only 18 sacks last year, so they must do a better job of getting to the quarterback. On a related note, the team must force more turnovers after grabbing only 10 interceptions last season. The cornerbacks have experience, with Antareis Bryan and Clifton Odom both seniors. The safety spots are more uncertain and could prove a liability for this team.

Watching Griffin’s highlights may be one of the pleasures of this college football season. If the defense can find a way to significantly improve, the offense has enough talent to have the Bears thinking this could be the year.

Baylor’s odds to win the Big 12: + 6000

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