Baylor Bears

Top Three Questions For Baylor Heading Into Big 12 Media Days

Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner, which means the 2023 college football season is less than two months away.

The burning questions for every team are starting to build some momentum and at media days we will finally get the answers to some of those questions.

As each fanbase prepares itself for another season of Big 12 football, we’re here to help with the three biggest questions that each team is facing before heading to Arlington for Media Days on July 12-13.

With that being said, here are the three biggest questions that the Baylor Bears are facing heading into 2023 Big 12 Football Media Days.

 

Will The Staff Changes Pay Off For Dave Aranda?

Last season, Baylor gave up 26.8 points per game, ranking fourth in the Big 12, after conceding just 18.3 points per game in 2021. While the Bears’ defense was still near the top of the conference statistically, Dave Aranda decided to make some changes to his staff. On December 1, Baylor fired defensive coordinator Ron Roberts and special teams coordinator Ronnie Wheat. Then, the Bears brought in Matt Powledge, the Co-DC at Oregon, to be the defensive coordinator after spending 2021 with the Bears as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach. Aranda also hired Tyler Hancock as the Special Teams coordinator, who comes from Charlotte under the same position. Baylor is expected to shift its defensive scheme back to something much more similar to what Aranda ran at Wisconsin and LSU, so the hope is that that side of the ball will elevate to an elite level once again. Can that happen in one year’s time?

How Far Will the Offensive Line Fall Off?

Baylor’s offensive line is depleted after losing four starters from last year’s group, as well as important a couple of important depth pieces. Connor Galvin, Jacob Gall, Grant Miller, Micah Mazzccua, Khalil Keith, and Mose Jeffery are all gone, while Grant Byers returns at right tackle. Baylor did add Clark and Campbell Barrington from BYU, which will help alleviate some of the lost experience, but it won’t offset it. Baylor’s offensive line is due for a step back in 2023, the question is, how big of a step is it? Offensive Coordinator Jeff Grimes has built his system around zone running concepts, which are quite simple as far as offensive line play is concerned, but how long will it take the unit to gel? With Texas, UCF, and Texas Tech being their first three games in conference play, and Utah coming to town in Week 2, it could be tough sledding for the group early on. However, if they can find a groove by the time Texas comes to Waco in Week 4, it would go a long way in helping them compete for a conference title.

 

Do the Transfer Portal Additions Make the Difference?

Baylor added 13 players from the transfer portal this offseason after losing 12 players to the same fate this past cycle. A few of the new additions are expected to make major impacts right away, and how much of an impact they make will determine the direction of the Bears’ season in 2023. We’ve already discussed the Barrington brothers coming in from BYU, but there are some other big names on the offensive side of the ball. Former Oklahoma State running back Dominic Richardson will certainly play a role in Baylor’s backfield alongside Richard Reese, giving BU a solid tandem at running back. Jake Roberts was a sought-after tight end out of North Texas and will fill the void left by Dillon Doyle at that position. At wide receiver, Baylor added former Arkansas wideout Ketron Jackson, who brings experience and skill to a group that underperformed a season ago. Defensively, LB Mike Smith, EDGE Byron Vaughnsm, and CB Isaiah Dunson are expected to be starters for the Bears, with a few more new names expected to play a role as well.

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