Baylor Bears Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Baylor season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Baylor Bears Preview
Head Coach: Dave Aranda, 3rd year, 14-9
2021 Preview: Overall: 12-2, Conference: 7-2
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Baylor Top 10 Players | Schedule & Analysis
Baylor Bears Preview 2022
It wasn’t always pretty, it was never easy, and it turned into – arguably – the greatest season in Baylor football history.
After a tough 2020 in Dave Aranda’s first time as a head coach – it was supposed to be a rebuilding year anyway – there were a few changes made, the experienced parts came together, and it all for a team that learned how to hold up in tight games.
There might have been two close misfires – the loss to a mediocre TCU hurt – but the program’s first ever 12-win season, a Big 12 Championship, and a Sugar Bowl victory was everything the fan base could’ve dreamed of after going 2-7 the year before.
Maybe a College Football Playoff appearance would’ve been nice, but it was a un run anyway.
The turnaround showed just how good Aranda is, and it proved just how strong Baylor football can be with the second amazing season in three years. Now it’s up to Aranda and the good base of returning parts to keep it all going.
There might be some key personnel losses, and there are a whole lot of dangerous Big 12 road games to deal with, but the bar is set reasonably high at this point.
Underestimate Baylor at your own risk. With Oklahoma in a bit of a reboot, Texas still trying to get it all together, and with no one else in the Big 12 looking like a world-beater, don’t be shocked if the Bears make another big run if everything comes together over the first few weeks.
Baylor Bears Preview 2022: Offense
The offense was the middle of the Big 12 pack – the Bears finished fifth in total O – and the passing game didn’t crank up too much down the field compared to the rest of the league, but the offensive line was great, the running game was fantastic, and everything fit into the overall plan.
Balance, ball control, limited mistakes, repeat.
Top passer Gerry Bohanon left for USF after being beaten out for the starting quarterback gig this offseason, and top targets Tyquan Thornton (New England), RJ Sneed (Colorado Buffaloes), and Drew Estrada (Houston Texans) are gone.
There’s a tie among the leading returning 2021 receivers with just one catch, but Gavin Holmes – the team’s third leading receiver in 2020 – is back after missing last year, but he needs a break from the injuries.
QB Blake Shapen isn’t all that big, but he can run a bit and he’s deadly accurate when he gets into a groove. Now the offense is his.
Trestan Ebner is a Chicago Bear, and leading rusher Abram Smith is trying to make a splash at New Orleans after running for over 1,600 yards and 12 scores. Fortunately, Craig Williams is back after a knee problem to add a whole lot of flash to the backfield.
The offensive front will be fine. It was great in pass protection and it returns as the most experienced area of the offense around all-star tackle Connor Galvin and center Jacob Gall.
Baylor Bears Preview 2022: Defense
Dave Aranda knows how to get a defense to produce, and this one should be more than fine. It finished fourth in the Big 12 in total D and tenth in the nation in scoring defense, but the it was really, really good at was taking the ball away. The pass rush will be good, the run D will be great, and …
The back seven needs some reworking. The Bears lose a ton of star talent with safeties Jalen Pitre and JT Woods, LB Terrel Bernard, and CB Raleigh Texada just part of the talent that’s done.
Even with the losses, there’s depth and plenty of options to fill in the parts. Fortunately, the heavy lifting will be done by …
The defensive front will be a rock. The massive Siaki Ika in the middle of the line is a good guy to start with. Throw in second-leading tackler Dillon Doyle in the linebacking corps and good pass rusher Gabe Hall on the end, and this should be among the Big 12’s best fronts.