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2010 Baylor Preview - Offense
Baylor OT Danny Watkins
Baylor OT Danny Watkins
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 22, 2010


CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Baylor Bear Offense



Baylor Bears

Preview 2010 - Offense

- 2010 Baylor Preview | 2010 Baylor Offense
- 2010 Baylor Defense | 2010 Baylor Depth Chart
- Baylor Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know: Robert Griffin, Robert Griffin, Robert Griffin. It could be argued that there isn’t a more valuable player to any one team than RG3 is to Baylor. The star quarterback is a playmaker and an X factor who gives offense a weapon, and after he injured his knee the team went into the tank losing seven of its last eight games. The line is big, but it needs to be better with more experience and more shuffling being done, and RB Jay Finley needs to be healthy again after struggling through an ankle injury. The receiving corps, led by WR Kendall Wright, is fast and potentially good, and the coaching staff is great, but it all comes down to Griffin’s knee. As long as he’s fine, BU will throw a scare into defenses.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Nick Florence
165-266, 1,786 yds, 6 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Jay Finley
79 carries, 370 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Kendall Wright
66 catches, 740 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Robert Griffin
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior C Philip Blake
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Ivory Wade
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Danny Watkins
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Griffin, 2) WR Kendall Wright, 3) Watkins
Strength of the offense: Robert Griffin, Speedy Skill Players
Weakness of the offense: Pass Protection, Production Without Griffin

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: The entire Baylor season rests on the injured knee of Robert Griffin, the 6-2, 210-pound sophomore who was one of the breakout stars of 2008 completing 60% of his throws for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He showed off a good, accurate arm and decision-making ability beyond his age setting the NCAA record with 209 straight passes without an interception to start his career. However, his passing ability was nothing compared to his running skills, which made Baylor a hot team to watch out for with 843 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. One of the fastest players in college football when he’s healthy, he won the Big 12 gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles with the third fastest time in school history. He was on his way to a magnificent year completing 65% of his throws for 481 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, while running for 77 yards and two scores, but he suffered an ACL tear and missed the rest of the season. While he’s not 100% healthy, he’ll be ready for the start of the season.

Projected Top Reserves: When Griffin went down, and Blake Szymanski was ineffective, sophomore Nick Florence stepped up. Expected to redshirt, he was needed early on and was solid, but made a slew of first year mistakes throwing nine picks along with 1,786 yards and six touchdowns completing 62% of his throws. With a 427-yard effort in the win over Missouri, he engineered one of the shocking upsets of the 2009 Big 12 season. He’s not all that big at just 6-1 and 195 pounds, but he has a nice arm and is mobile running for 62 yards and three scores. A top recruit last year with plenty of talent, he moves well and has a nice touch on his passes.

If Bryce Petty is playing, there are big problems. The 6-2, 200-pound true freshman was a nice recruit who decommitted from Tennessee and was brought in to add more pop to the passing game. While he’s a runner, he’s not nearly dangerous enough to be called a dual threat quarterback. With good upside and a big-time arm, he’ll almost certainly redshirt with the hope to be the main man in a few years

Watch Out For … Griffin’s knee. If he’s healthy and back to being the RG3 of old, Baylor is a player in the Big 12 South. Florence isn’t bad, but he’s not Griffin.
Strength: Young quarterbacks. All of a sudden, Baylor is loaded with talented young playmakers. Griffin was granted an extra year of eligibility and is just a sophomore, Florence showed promise in his first year, and Petty might have had a shot to start at Tennessee this year. All three are around for at least the next three seasons.
Weakness: Good defenses. Outside of the stunning outburst against Missouri, the Baylor passing game didn’t do much of anything. Of the 13 touchdown passes thrown, four came against Northwestern State, three came against Mizzou, and two came in the opener against Wake forest. That means there were four scoring passes thrown in just nine games.
Outlook: As long as Griffin is close to 100% the Bears will have a major advantage over most teams on the schedule. He’s arguably the Big 12’s biggest difference maker, and while losing him would almost certainly send the season into reverse, like last year, Florence is ready to do more with the offense if needed. The rating is assuming Griffin close to form.
Unit Rating: 8

Running Backs

Projected Starters: Back again after leading the team with 370 yards and one touchdown, senior Jay Finley is a solid veteran who’s good enough to balance out the offense and be a workhorse. At 5-11 and 210 pounds, he’s a strong runner who can pound inside and can make big things happen when he gets on the outside. However, he’s expected to do more when healthy after playing most of last year with a dinged up ankle. When he was right in 2008, he tore off 865 yards and seven touchdowns averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Not much of a receiver with just 31 career catches, he’s used to take the heat off the quarterbacks.

Projected Top Reserves: At 6-0 and 240 pounds, junior Terrance Ganaway is a big thumper of a runner who transferred after running for 550 yards and six touchdowns for Houston. A true between the tackles runner, he’s used in short yardage situations and as a change of pace running for 200 yards and five scores on just 68 carries. He’s not going to be used in the passing game and he’s not going to tear off any big runs.

Working as a receiver and an H-Back is the speedy Jarred Salubi, a 5-10, 190-pound sophomore who stayed at home in Waco despite getting several offers from bigger-name schools. The former Texas state champion sprinter only averaged 8.1 yards per catch, making 19 grabs for 153 yards, and finished second on the team with 298 yards and two touchdowns averaging six yards per carry highlighted by a 76-yard run against Northwestern State.

When Baylor uses a fullback, 6-1, 295-pound sophomore Kaeron Johnson will be a blaster for the ground game. The massive bowling ball of a blocker has a bench press of 430 pounds and good toughness as a former defensive lineman. He worked as a defensive lineman last season for most of the year before switching over.

Watch Out For … Finley. Lost in the disappointment over losing Griffin was Finley’s injury issues. When he’s right, he’s among the Big 12’s most dangerous backs and a perfect complement to Griffin’s running skills.
Strength: Speed. Not including the home run hitting skills of Griffin, Finley can move, Ganaway is a good runner for his size, and there are more than enough quick speedsters to crank out big plays both on the ground and for the passing game.
Weakness: Non-Griffin production. As soon as the star of the show went out, the rest of the offense went into the tank. The ground game only finished with 1,207 yards and averaged 3.5 yards per carry. Part of the problem was the need to bomb away to get back into games, but the other issue was the inability of the ground game to get a lead in the first place.
Outlook: This is one of the team’s best running back collections in years … if everyone is healthy. Finley’s ankle is expected to be fine, while Ganaway and Salubi can crank out yards when given the chance. Throw in JUCO transfer Isaac Williams, and the Bears have plenty of good options after finishing 108th in the nation in rushing.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Receivers

Projected Starters: Junior Kendall Wright came up with a strong true freshman season leading the Bears with 50 catches for 649 yards and five scores, and he followed it up with a team-leading 66 catches for 740 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-10, 185-pound speedster has good hands, dependable route running ability, and is athletic enough to be used as a runner carrying the ball 28 times for 132 yards and a score. A guard for the Baylor basketball team, he has a 40” vertical to go along with his tremendous wheels.

5-11, 200-pound sophomore Lanear Sampson will get the first shot to replace David Gettis on the outside. While he doesn’t have lightning speed, he moves well enough to get deep on the outside and he came up with a nice first year as a reserve making 29 catches for 297 yards and two scores. After a good offseason, he’s on the verge of being a major factor in the passing game.

Working mostly as a returner, 6-2, 190-pound sophomore Terrance Williams only made three catches for 61 yards, averaging 20.3 yards per grab. He was phenomenal as a returner averaging 24.1 yards on kickoffs and serving as the No. 2 punt returner averaging 14.4 yards per try, and now he’ll bring his speed and explosion to the outside as a deep threat. He’s a smooth, dangerous prospect who could quickly emerge as the star of the receiving corps.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Krys Buerck might not be flashy, but he has been around the program long enough to know what he’s doing. The 5-11, 185-pounder only caught two passes for eight yards in a limited role after starting out his career making 23 catches for 280 yards and two scores before moving over to the secondary where he made 24 tackles with an interception. Extremely fast, he has the potential to be a good No. 2 target on the inside.

When the Bears utilize a tight end, 6-3, 235-pound senior Brad Taylor will step in as a blocker and a mid-range receiver after catching 13 passes for 166 yards and a score. He’ll be moved around as a fullback and an H-Back to create mismatches as a fourth and fifth receiver.

True freshman Tevin Reese got to school early and will be a key part of the inside receiver rotation working behind Kendall Wright. While he’s only 160 yards on his 5-10 frame, he’s lightning fast qualifying for the Texas state championships in the 300-meter hurdles, the triple jump, and the long jump. While he still has work to do to become a football player who runs track, and not the other way around, he’s going to be dangerous whenever he has the ball in his hands.

Watch Out For … Sampson. Not the No. 1 target in the mix, or even the No. 2, he’ll see plenty of single coverage on the outside and he’s experienced enough to take advantage. He should average around 15 yards per catch and should be a big-play target.
Strength: Speedy playmakers. Wright is a proven playmaker and a No. 1 receiver who can carry the passing game at times. Sampson is fast, and he probably doesn’t make the 4x4 relay team of Bear receivers. Getting deep shouldn’t be an issue.
Weakness: Consistency. The passing game might take a bit of a backseat now that Robert Griffin is back and the Jay Finley is healthy. The ground attack should be far more effective so the receivers have to be ready when called on.
Outlook: Losing two of the three top receivers in David Gettis and Ernest Smith isn’t a plus, but the Bears have loaded up with good prospects over the last few years and should be set to work around Wright. Throw in the tight ends with Taylor a weapon and two nice sophomores in Jerod Monk and Willie Jefferson, and the Bears have a passing game to complement what’s certain to be a dangerous ground attack.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: While he wasn’t always a rock in pass protection and he struggled with his consistency, senior Danny Watkins did the near impossible and filled in for No. 2 overall draft pick Jason Smith at left tackle. The 6-4, 310-pound former JUCO transfer was far steadier and stronger this offseason as he showed the upside and the potential to be an all-star and possibly an NFL prospect. One of the team’s strongest players, he has the tools to be fantastic, and now he knows what he’s doing after having played football for three years having grown up in Canada playing hockey. Once he’s polished, look out.

The big loss on the line is in the middle where longtime center J.D. Walton is gone. Junior Philip Blake started every game last season at right tackle and now will move to the middle where he should be the leader and a possible anchor for the next two seasons. At 6-3 and 305 pounds, the Canadian has great size and moves extremely well. He’s expected to be a good one.

With Blake moving over, sophomore Ivory Wade will step in after earning Freshman All-America honors from CFN at left guard. The true sophomore is big, strong, and just agile enough to be able to handle himself on the outside without too much of a problem. Very smart, he knows what he’s doing and he won’t make a slew of mental mistakes, but he’ll have to prove he can handle the speedier pass rushers.

With Wade moving over after spending last year at left guard, sophomore Cameron Kaufhold will try to solidify the spot. He got in a little bit of work last year starting at left guard against Northwestern State and seeing time in every game. At 6-4 and 300 pounds he has the requisite size to go along with good strength and athleticism. Originally considered to be a right tackle, he’ll be better with a bigger role on the inside, but he has to prove he can pound away for the ground game.

Junior John Jones will have a fight on his hands to hold on to the right guard job, but he’ll get the first look with five games of starting experience under his belt and tremendous upside. A great recruit three years ago, he showed promise as an all-around blocker with 6-3, 310-pound size and good quickness, but he was hurt throughout last year with foot and hand issues and never made a big push for the starting job. Healthy now, he should be ready to be a key part of the combination.

Projected Top Reserves: Pushing hard for the starting right guard job is junior Robert T. Griffin , a massive 6-6, 335-pound JUCO transfer who came to school early and showed that he could instantly become a road grater for the ground game. A top recruit, “Big Rob” has the size and the skill to be a starter right away, and at the very least he’ll be a big, tough veteran backup the offense can rely on.

True freshman Troy Baker got to school early and showed he’s ready to take on a role as a top backup left tackle. The 6-6, 285-pounder will be the understudy before likely taking over next year, and he’ll be a good one considered to be among the strongest of the mid-range tackle recruits with smarts and a great motor that’s always working. From the Waco area, he’s staying home.

Working somewhere on the inside will be Cyril Richardson , a nice-looking 6-4, 305-pound redshirt freshman who was originally considered a good tackle prospect but will be stronger at guard where he’ll work in a rotation with Cameron Kaufhold. Very strong and very tough, he should be a nice run blocker who’ll fit in perfectly with a little more work.

Watch Out For … Griffin. “Big Rob” is the biggest player on a big line, and he has star potential at right guard … but so does Jones. The position could be an area of strength, and if nothing else the run blocking should be strong.
Strength: Options. The loss of Walton won’t hurt nearly as much with Blake moving to center, while there’s enough versatility to play around with the combinations depending on production and injuries.
Weakness: Blocking. A disaster in pass protection over the last two seasons, allowing 59 sacks, the run blocking wasn’t much better with the loss of Robert Griffin (the quarterback version) hurting the overall production. The line has to find one thing it can do well.
Outlook: The potential is there to be much better with good size, some nice athletes, and the recruits and prospects to fit what Art Briles and his staff want to do. This won’t be one of the Big 12’s better lines, but it has to do just enough to allow the speedsters to operate. It’ll be better than last year.
Unit Rating: 5.5

- 2010 Baylor Preview | 2010 Baylor Offense
- 2010 Baylor Defense | 2010 Baylor Depth Chart
- Baylor Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006