WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 02: Zach Smith #4 celebrates a touchdown with Chris Callahan #40 of the Baylor Bears against the Northwestern State Demons at McLane Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


Q&A with a Baylor beat writer: ‘We’ll get a glimpse of how good the Bears actually are’

Posted October 28th, 2016


Each week, the American-Statesman will interview the beat writer of Texas’ opponent. This week, the Dallas Morning News’ Ben Baby offers insight on Baylor. You can find Ben on Twitter at @Ben_Baby.

At No. 8 in the Associated Press’ poll, is Baylor over-, under- or properly-ranked?

Baylor has won by at least 10 points in all but one game this season. That, coupled with the Bears’ previous success, seems to be why Baylor is ranked so high. But starting this weekend, we’ll get a glimpse of how good the Bears actually are. The Waco school really needs a better non-conference schedule.


Who is the most dangerous player on this Baylor offense?

The Bears have speed all across the field, but the fastest one might be Mount Pleasant native KD Cannon. He missed an Oct. 1 win against Iowa State with a groin injury, but returned with three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kansas. When he’s healthy, he’s one of the top threats in the conference.

Is it more likely that Baylor ends this season as a top-20 offense or a top-20 defense?

Given the way the game is played in the Big 12, the offense has a better chance of being one of the most productive ones in the country by the end of the season. Baylor is averaging 549.2 yards per game, which is fourth in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Senior quarterback Seth Russell gets more settled each week after suffering a season-ending neck injury last season.

What kind of impact has Jim Grobe had on this Baylor team?

Baylor still has the same coordinators from the Art Briles regime and they haven’t changed the things that worked prior to the sexual assault scandal that got Briles fired. It doesn’t appear that Grobe is tinkering much with the on-field product. His primary job is to steady the players and be the face of the football team before a full-time coach is named.

Name one Baylor player that Texas fans aren’t talking about — but should be.

Baylor senior defensive back Pat Levels has been huge for the Bears’ defense. He’s tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (7.5), has forced three fumbles and has three fumble recoveries. The Dallas Roosevelt standout is a playmaker and someone Texas will have to account for on Saturday.