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Previewing TCU's 2010 Opponents: Baylor Bears

Former Governor Ann Richards' baby (never gonna let that go) has not been to a bowl game in the existence of the Big XII and unless QB Robert Griffin is healed from his ACL injury to do what he does this will be another down year for the Bears.  Griffin when healthy is a very athletic dual-threat quarterback who is capable of blowing up a defense, but Baylor may actually need some other players to help out Griffin.

Even with the optimists need to be reminded that the last time the Bears went to a bowl game was when they were in the old SWC way back in 1994 when the lost to Washington State in the Alamo Bowl.  1994 was Baylor's last conference title, but it was a five way tie for first and had Texas A&M not been on probation the Aggies would have won the league. 

The offensive line gave up a whopping 31 sacks last year and even though four returning starters are back but none will be safe.  Do not be surprised if Griffin is a little hesitant with his knee and knowing the line was not great last year.  The offensive line is the key if the Bears are to be more competitive in the Big XII.

The Bears do return a good number of players on both sides of the ball, and with this being Art Briles second season as the Bears head coach they must be getting better just by learning Briles spread attack.  However, by having only Griffin for a handful of games could mean that he may still be behind on actually run the offense live.  He should have taken his rehab time in memorizing the book, but that does not replace live reps.

The Bears return to starting WR's in Lanear Sampson and Kendall Wright are back.  Wright is the leading man for the Bears and was a top 10 wide out last year in the Big XII and could be the best receiver in the Big XII if things fall into place.

The defense is really where the Bears must improve for 2010.  They were in the bottom of the Big XII in nearly every single defensive category.  To try to move up the ladder and try to pass Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State the defense  needs to be at least average and give the offense a chance to rest.  

The key component to the defense exceeding is defensive tackle and Penn State transfer Phil Taylor who had only 29 tackles last year and was removed from the starting lineup.  Taylor must improve to make the defense not as much of a push over.  Overall, the defense returns six players so there is some experience but unless there is improvement it will be another long season for the Bears.

THE BASICS

COACH: Art Briles 
LAST SEASON: 4-8 overall, 1-7 in the Big 12. 
SPRING DATES: March 15-April 10

RETURNING STARTERS

OFFENSE (7): T Philip Blake, QB Nick Florence, G John Jones, WR Lanear Sampson, G Ivory Wade, T Danny Watkins, WR Kendall Wright. 
DEFENSE (6): CB Tim Atchison, CB Chance Casey, LB Antonio Johnson, E Tracy Robertson, E Zac Scotton, T Phil Taylor. 
SPECIAL TEAMS (1): P Derek Epperson.

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