2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Baylor Offense
The offensive line has to do a better job of letting everyone else work. The skill parts are all there with experience, talent, and explosion to keep up with any offense in the Big 12. But they all need time to do what they do.
The offensive line has good parts, and it’s been a process to build it back up, but it gave up 39 sacks and 93 tackles for loss after giving up 38 sacks and 94 tackles for loss in Matt Rhule’s first season.
The margin for error in the deep, good conference is razor-thin. Considering that five of the final eight games were decided by seven points or fewer, slowing down the plays behind the line matter, and …
Biggest Key To The Baylor Defense
Would it kill you to come up with a takeaway? Forcing turnovers was a regular part of the Baylor puzzle, but there were just 11 takeaways in 2017 and a mere ten last season.
Overall, the defense was good enough in the wild and crazy Big 12, but in a league that’s about holding serve, forcing mistakes is a big deal. Last season, the Bears came up with three against Kansas State, and that turned out to be the difference in a 37-34 fight. There were two picks against Texas Tech, and those made an impact in the 35-24 win. But there were just five takeaways in the other 11 games.
The offense didn’t have a big turnover problem, but with the lack of takeaways, the Bears were 0-4 when they finished with a negative turnover margin, and they only had a positive one once – the win over Kansas State.
Key Player To A Successful Season
OT Jake Fruhmorgen, Sr.
The 6-5, 305-pound senior started out his career at Clemson after signing on as a way above-average recruit. He ended up in Waco as a jack-of-all-trades blocking option who could play any of the five positions, but was expected to rise up at a tackle.
Last year he worked in the rotation on the right side, but in his final year, he needs to turn into a solid left tackle for a line that was the worst in the conference in pass protection. It would be a big deal if he showed he could be a set piece of the puzzle in fall camp.
Key Game To The Baylor Season
Iowa State, Sept. 28
It’s the Big 12 opener is against an Iowa State program that’s been an issue for Baylor over the first two years of the Matt Rhule era – the Cyclones won both games in low-scoring fights.
Win this, and with West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas all in Waco, and with a not-that-horrible conference road slate, it’ll be worth getting excited – not to mention that the Bears will almost certainly start the season 4-0 – for a possible big year.
– Baylor Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Baylor Fun Stats
– Sacks: Opponents 39 for 241 yards – Baylor 25 for 189 yards
– Fumbles: Baylor 22 (lost 6) – Opponents 10 (lost 3)
– Time of Possession: Baylor 32:41 – Opponents 27:19