ARLINGTON, Texas — Heading into the 2023 season, Baylor Head Coach Dave Aranda is taking a “person over player” approach after a disappointing season last year.
“To start the year, we really started with person over player,” Aranda said. “We’ve really focused in on that and talked a lot about that with our team.
“We’re talking about the whole thing, you know, your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul and to get that into alignment. You can be yourself. You can express yourself. And when it comes time to you can check yourself. You know, I think to see that that that our young people today aren’t just a cog in a machine, right? [They’re not just here] to get wins and take home revenue, but are human beings fully formed by God.”
Aranda hopes that his new approach, plus a focus on being present and attacking each day is what will lead to a turnaround in 2023.
“You know, those are the things are going to carry over to the season. When there’s adversity. When the game didn’t start the way you wanted, when the halftime score is and what we want. I think those things don’t come on a wish a prayer in those moments. I think those things are developed and those things are grown and I’m proud of our group for working on those things. And so I think for us to continue to try to win the day will will help us when those storms come.”
The Baylor Bears are coming off a 6-7 season in 2022 after starting the year as the favorite to win the conference in Dave Aranda’s third season at the helm. The Bears ended their 2022 season with a 30-15 loss to Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Baylor returns seven offensive returners from 2022, with QB Blake Shapen leading the way. Plus, BU’s top rusher Richard Reese and pass-catcher Monaray Baldwin also return this season, giving the Bears’ some great skill experience.
DE Gabe Hall and LB Garmon Randolph, who co-led the Bears with 4.5 sacks last season, lead the defensive returnees, while Baylor’s third-leading tackler, LB Matt Jones, returns at linebacker.
Dave Aranda and staff picked up big contributors on both sides of the ball through the transfer portal, with RB Dominic Richardson (Oklahoma State) and LB Mike Smith (Liberty) both expected to play major roles for the Bears in 2023.
Baylor will open up their 2023 season against Texas State on September 2 in Waco, while their Big 12 slate will get started against Texas at home on September 23.