Baylor Bears Football Details
For much of its history, the Baylor Bears football program has been one of the worst in college football. Before the Art Briles Era (2008-2015), the Bears had not had a winning season, played in a bowl game, or finished a season ranked in the top 25 since joining the Big 12 Conference in 1996.
It took Briles a couple of seasons, but he eventually turned the Bears into one of the most feared offenses in college football. Under his leadership, the Bears won the Big 12 twice, went to six consecutive bowl games (school record) and won three, and produced the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history, quarterback Robert Griffin III (2011).
After RG3 moved on to the NFL, the Bears continued to find success with Nick Florence, Bryce Petty, and Seth Russell behind center. But following the 2015 season, Briles was let go and Jim Grobe was brought in as the interim head coach for the 2016 season.
A change in leadership can have a significant impact on a team. But with a core of talented players returning (i.e. quarterback Seth Russell, running backs Shock Linwood and Terrance Williams, and wide receivers KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora) there was still hope the Bears could compete in 2016.
At first, it appeared as if the Bears would not miss a beat without Briles. After a strong 6-0 start, they looked ready to run the table, but instead, they imploded and dropped their next six games. They received an invite to the Cactus Bowl and beat Boise State 30-12 to finish the season 7-6.
This coming season will be an interesting one for the Bears as a lot of new faces will try to make people forget about the program’s recent dark past. Matt Rhule was hired away from Temple to be the new head coach. It is unclear who the starting quarterback will be, but whoever it is will not have the stable of receivers to throw to the team was infamous for in the Briles Era.
Fans may not recognize much about the team when it takes the field at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, this fall. Rhule isn’t much for scoring quickly. He prefers to control the tempo and the ball as much as possible. Last season his Temple team was tenth in the nation in time of possession.
So, there is no telling what the team is going to look like this year. But if a quarterback can step up and Rhule can live up to expectations, Bears fans could end up being pleasantly surprised this season.