Head Coach | Art Briles
2010 Record | 7-6 (4-4) Big 12 Record
Coaching Changes | Phil Bennett joins the Bears as their new defensive coordinator after several seasons with Pitt. Bennett brings with him two positional coaches; linebackers coach Jim Gush and secondary coach Carlton Buckels.
Returning Starters | Baylor returns 13 starters total. 8 from the offensive side of the ball and 5 from the defensive side of the ball where the Bears lost quite a bit.
Key Losses | Jay Finley-RB, Brad Taylor-TE, Danny Watkins-OT Phil Taylor-NG, Chris Francis-MLB, Antonio Johnson-FLB, Mikail Baker-CB, Clifton Odom-CB, Byron Landor-S, Tim Atchison-FS, Derek Epperson-P
Key Additions | Baylor went the junior college route in a lot of instances to help fill voids that might have been left by the departures a season ago. David Whitmore, Joe Williams and Josh Wilson are all junior college defensive backs that will be looked to in order to provide some stability to a group that lost four starters. On the offensive side of the ball a former Kansas commit in Nick Johnson could end up at a number of positions and provide some help on the offensive front. One player to look for in the future for Baylor will be a late defensive tackle addition, Suleiman Masumbuko.
Impact Offensive Player | Robert Griffin - It's a no brainer. Robert Griffin changed the fortunes of Baylor football at least for the time being. He's a multi-talented quarterback that can run and throw but doesn't rely on his feet like some dual threat quarterbacks do. He's now entering his junior year (yes he'll be around one more) and with the weapons around him it could be another bowl trip in the making.
Impact Defensive Player | Nicolas Jean-Baptiste - Remember those two giants in the middle for Baylor? Good news and bad news. The good news is that one of them is gone. The bad news is that the other is back and he's a senior. The defense lost 6 of 11 starters and doesn't have a ton of experience or known depth. Baptiste will be one of the known commodities and he can tie up a few blockers and help make any defense better.
Baylor broke a good majority of the major offensive school records a year ago running Art Briles offense. It didn't hurt that Robert Griffin jumped right back in without skipping a beat after missing the previous year due to injury. Now Baylor returns almost all of that same offensive corp including four of five starting offensive lineman and of course Griffin.
The biggest loss is that off Jay Finley who set the Baylor single season rushing record a year ago, but Baylor has several options and any time you have an experienced line it can help ease the transition. And of course there are those receivers. Yes the ones that made the Kansas defense look as though they had cement blocks for shoes. All of them are back and they are led by a Biletnikoff Award candidate Kendall Wright. The scary thing about the group is that they are so balanced and it's hard to focus in on one man. Baylor will be a solid offensive team in 2011.
Defensively it's a bit of a bigger question mark due to some fairly significant turnover. Of course it wasn't as if Baylor had a strong defense a year ago anyway. Either way Phil Taylor and Antonio Johnson were key players and their loss will be felt. The defensive backfield is starting anew but that might have been one of the major weakpoints on a defense that allowed over 30 points per contest.
In all the top five tacklers from a year ago are gone. Baylor has added some junior college talent and made a change at defensive coordinator bringing in Phil Bennett. Bennett will be making a move to a 4-2-5 scheme, one that didn't turn out so well for Kansas but one that will put the burden on a young and inexperienced defensive backfield in Waco.