Baylor has reeled off 119 points in the first two games, the defense is faster than ever, and special teams are contributing in a big way.
With lopsided wins over SFA and UTSA, the Bears are playing the complete, all around football that coach Matt Rhule wants. He hopes to keep the momentum rolling, but now Baylor has a bye week before returning to action against Rice at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 in Houston.
“I always like having a bye week early in the season,” Rhule said. “Guys get a chance to catch their breath and really get locked in. I think it’s a great time for us to look at ourselves and also try to let our guys physically heal up a little bit before we head into the next part of the season.”
Spending the week immersed in an ice tub might be the best advice for the Bears after playing in scorching 100-plus degree heat at McLane Stadium in Saturday’s 63-14 blowout of UTSA.
Photos from Baylor football vs. UTSA: Sept. 7, 2019
Photos by Jerry Larson and Rod Aydelotte
Quarterback Charlie Brewer didn’t return in the second half due to burning sensations in his feet. But the Bears were already leading 35-0 at halftime after Brewer hit three touchdown passes to Denzel Mims.
After the game, Brewer said his feet were fine. But it took a lot of help from Baylor’s training and support staff to get the players through the scorching afternoon.
“It was pretty toasty out there,” said Baylor linebacker Clay Johnston. “But a lot of guys were battling through it, and we have such a good support team. They just continue to hydrate us, Coach (Andrew) Althoff, the nutritionist, they do a great job taking care of us.”
Though the Bears will play much better competition down the road as they begin Big 12 play Sept. 28 against Iowa State at McLane Stadium, blowouts in the first two games have given a lot of players opportunities to see action.
Developing depth is paramount and Baylor has shown it has quality players backing up the starters. Rhule wants all his players to approach games like they’re starters.
“We understand we’re family and there’s one standard,” said Baylor safety Grayland Arnold. “Coach Rhule said before the game, 2’s play like 1’s, 3’s play like 1’s. That’s what we expect.”
Nobody is getting more valuable experience off the bench than redshirt freshman quarterback Gerry Bohanon. During the first two games, he’s played most of the second halves as he’s completed nine of 13 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 13 times for 177 yards and a touchdown.
Carrying a 6-3, 221-pound frame, Bohanon is tough to bring down and is also extremely mobile for a big guy.
“You know, I’m fired up for him,” Rhule said. “He’s just such a likeable guy, and I think you see some of the dynamic nature of some of the runs he was making. When he comes in, he gives us a run game element that’s going to be hard for people. We’re not really playing him in the package right now, he’s waiting his turn. But when he does go in there, you can see some good things in him.”
Baylor’s pass protection continues to be solid as the offensive line has allowed just one sack in the first two games. Baylor amassed 368 yards rushing on 9.4 yards per carry against UTSA, the most since rushing for 398 yards against Texas in 2016. Freshman running back Qualan Jones had his first big moment when he blew up the middle for a 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Bears have been able to shuffle a lot of linemen into the games, which will pay off as the wear and tear of the season continues.
“I liked their effort and demeanor, and those are things that really matter to me on game day,” Rhule said. “Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but if you have a great attitude and you keep coming back play after play, usually good things happen.”