What We Know
Returning Starters : Defense - 7, Offense - 6
Lache Seastrunk Will Anchor This Team
After a slow start to the 2012 season, the transfer from the Oregon Ducks began to put things together. Much of the success is due to this running back coming along while taking much of the pressure off Nick Florence. This is a kid that finished with 138.5 years over the final six game of the season but isn't the only option in the backfield. Undoubtedly, Seastrunk will be the focal point of the 2013 teams while the rushing attack attempts to hold their ground as tops in the league in the statistical category.
Defensive Strength Comes From Linebackers
With last season's defense ranking 119th nationally, there is only one way to go...up. The defense will be looking for a group to build around and they my very well have that in the linebackers. Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey are both returning to help sure up this Baylor defense. They will provide a solid base as BU continues to move a few other pieces around.
Bryce Petty is the Guy
A strong Spring show all but locked up the starting job for Bryce Petty at quarterback. With a great display of accuracy and arm strength complimented by his ability to tuck the ball and run, it is easy to see why Petty was the front-runner heading into spring practices.
The difference between Petty and his predecessors is that he runs with power at 6-3 235lbs. When on the move, this is a kid who will likely lower his shoulder in an attempt to run over a few defenders.
Can the Bears Keep Up the Numbers?
For the third time in three years, the Baylor Bears will be replacing their starting quarterback. It all started with Robert Griffin III who put Baylor on the map not only with his athleticism, but also with his accuracy and arm. His successor, Nick Florence continued right where RGIII left off as the bear offense put huge numbers for the second consecutive year. Now it would appear that fourth year junior, Bryce Petty is looking to fill the shoes.
It is no secret that Art Briles runs a hurry-up spread offense in Waco, TX that utilizes the passing game to it's potential. However, it has been the rushing attack that has carried this team up the ranks. In each of the past two seasons, the Bears ranked second in 2011 and became the league leader in 2012 by a large margin on the ground thanks in large part to Lache Seastrunk. One of the nation's most explosive offenses will have to work out some kinks but it would appear that all of the pieces are in place to be as successful as they have been in the past.
Will the Defense Rise to the Occasion?
Coming out of the Spring Game, one thing was noticeable that had not been so in the past...the Baylor defense was able to cause some trouble for this potent offense. The problem that exists here is most teams remain very vanilla when it comes to the Spring Game. So the fan base is left unsure of if what is being displayed on the field will actually yield the same results during the regular season.
For the Bears another issue may have revealed itself in the fact that the defense is returning seven starters while the offense is being forced to replace more key pieces. This in turn could have played into why the defense was more successful than they have been in the past during the Spring Game.
Where is the Help for Tevin Reese?
Baylor loses a star in Terrance Williams while Lanear Sampson has played out his eligibility. That leaves Tevin Reese as the new No. 1 receiver which shouldn't be a problem after averaging 18.1 yards per catch last season. The bigger question remains, who will play alongside him? Jay Lee and Antawn Goodley provide solid options as well as potential of freshmen Robbie Rhodes and Corey Coleman. Regardless, it will be important to take some of the focus off of Reese while the ball is in the air to spring him open and let him make plays in space.
There is no other option outside of Lache Seastrunk. As mentioned above, he averaged 138.5 yards on the ground in the final six games after a dismal start. Now, All-American guard Cyril Richardson and honorable mention All-Big 12 tackle Troy Baker are retuning to lead the offensive line which will be a huge help to Seastrunk as he goes for title of the league's top rusher with guys like Damien Williams.