Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

West Virginia Game 6 - Baylor

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

West Virginia Game 6 - Baylor

Article excerpt

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 11th in a series of previews on West Virginia and Marshall football opponents. * Date with WVU: Saturday, Oct. 17, time TBA

* Site: McLane Stadium (45,000, Matrix Turf), Waco, Texas

* Series: WVU leads 2-1

* Last meeting: West Virginia defeated Baylor, 41-27, on Oct. 18, 2014 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown

* Coach: Art Briles (8th year, 55-34; 13th year overall, 89-62)

Checking them out

One of these years Baylor will face a rebuilding task with its high-powered offense, right?

Right?

It has to happen sometime that the Bears just happen to field a team full of seniors or early-NFLers in Art Briles' arcade-game attack, but it wasn't last year. Sure, quarterback Bryce Petty and his 3,855 yards and 29-7 TD-interception ratio is gone, but that's pretty much it. And when Seth Russell steps in after two years as the backup, he actually brings more versatility to the table.

So here it is, a team that averaged 581 yards of total offense, 48.2 points and had 43 touchdown drives that lasted three plays or fewer has 1,252-yard rusher Shock Linwood and two 1,000-yard receivers (Corey Coleman, K.D. Cannon) back at the skill positions.

Also returning are five starting offensive linemen, including consensus All-America left tackle Spencer Drango. The top six linemen, in fact, all have starting experience and they average 6- foot-6 and almost 320 pounds. And that doesn't count tight end LaQuan McGowan, who stands - get this - 6-7 and 410 pounds. He's not likely to be the starter - Tre'Von Armstead is a preseason all- league pick - but it just illustrates how many options the Bears have.

Yes, be it quick strikes in the passing game or a bullish running attack when needed, Baylor pretty much has it all.

The issue facing the Bears again, however, is defense. It's not that Baylor was bad on that side of the ball - no one in the Big 12 puts up great defensive numbers - but remember what Kevin White did last year, catching all those TDs and drawing all those interference flags in BU's only regular-season loss? That's what has to stop.

If experience matters, things should be better with virtually every defensive back returning. And most of the key players on the back end were sophomores and freshmen last year, so growing pains were to be expected. …

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