WACO, TX — "I have a lot of respect for that junior class, now our senior class because you know, they didn't choose the things that I do. They didn't sit there and say you know what I wanna go play for Matt Rhule. I want to play for Phil Snow. I sat there in everyone else's homes and said hey this is what it's gonna be like, please come, and they chose it. This year's senior class had it thrust upon them. I'm their third coach," Baylor football head coach Matt Rhule said.
Rhule came to Waco three years ago to rebuild the Baylor football program.
From day one, he's been preaching "trust the process," and as the Bears embark on another season under Rhule, there's no excuses. They'll look to win with discipline on and off the field.
The Bears defense has been a focus this offseason. Even looking back to the Texas Bowl, Baylor played great 90 percent of the time. But, the 10 percent of the time when they let up their opponents completed big, explosive plays that hurt the Bears.
It's that 10 percent that has led the Baylor coaching staff to switch to a three down front, replacing a big man with a quicker secondary athlete, in hopes of stifling those explosive plays this year.
"We take a big off and just put another skill player on, you know have more speed on the field just to kinda help eliminate some of those big plays, those big runs and stuff like that... have another linebacker, see some things that you know the other three might not see so I think it's a good look for us," James Lockhart, a senior defensive end for the Bears, said.
"People have been stopping the run game with that. It just comes down to good players. You know, if you have good players, if Lynch and Lockhart can make plays, get in the two gap and make plays, you can play defense all day., and we feel like they can. So, we just felt like it was the best way to put our guys in position, and they know it so it's not like they're learning something new. Some subtle nuisances we've added, but feel good about where we're headed and I think it'll hopefully be a good thing for us. And we always know we can always kinda roll back into four down in a second's notice and our kids know that, so I think we're in a good spot," Coach Rhule added.
On the other side of the ball, Rhule said there are seven or eight offensive lineman that could play for the Bears this year.
The lineup is up in the air and this fall will be their chance to battle it out.
Rhule added it could be a couple games into the season until the depth chart is truly set, but that doesn't bother quarterback Charlie Brewer.
"We've got a lot of guys capable of playing in big time games, so it's good that there is a lot of competition, that means you got a lot of good players up front. So, I look at it as a positive," Charlie Brewer, the Bears junior quarterback, said.
Baylor will kick off the 2019 season with a home game against Stephen F. Austin on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.