Spring practice has arrived in Waco and things are probably not off to the smooth start that Baylor head coach Matt Rhule was hoping for after a turbulent 2017 campaign.
In addition to suspending two players amidst sexual assault allegations, the program is dealing with being a coach short on the field for the next several weeks. That’s because offensive line coach George DeLeone is recovering from a broken hip and the ensuing surgery, resulting in former Bears quarterback Shawn Bell stepping into his spot to coach the big boys up front.
“And it’s because of his character and because of his patience and never really questioning anything,” Rhule told the school’s website of the change. “Luckily, there’s no egos with anybody there. I think George kind of hand-picked Shawn, saying he’s the right guy.”
Bell is currently an offensive analyst for the program and was hired when Rhule first arrived in Waco after several years as a head coach in the high school ranks in the state of Texas.
Last month, it was reported that two members of the Baylor football team are under investigation for suspected sexual assault. Now comes the not-so-surprising word that the two are “separated” from the football program.
In an interview with KCEN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Waco, head coach Matt Rhule confirmed that two of his football players have been suspended as a result of the ongoing investigation. As was the case when the original report surfaced, the names of the players allegedly involved in the incident have not been revealed.
“I can’t get into too many of the details on this specific incident,” Rhule said. “I really don’t know too many of the details on this specific incident, but I do know things have been handled the right way.”
The allegations stemming from the incident involve two redshirt Bears football players and members of the university’s equestrian team.
The alleged sexual assault occurred at the University Parks Apartments on the night of Nov. 11, hours after Baylor lost a neutral-site football game to Texas Tech in Arlington. Video of the alleged incident has been turned over to Baylor’s Title IX investigators.
In connection to Rhule’s revelation of the twin suspensions, the university released the following statement to KCEN-TV:
Baylor University takes any allegation of sexual assault seriously. The University’s new leadership team is unwavering in our commitment to follow our well-documented Title IX policy and procedures in regards to reporting and responding to incidents of sexual assault. The responsibility of responding to alleged incidents of sexual violence does not rest solely in the hands of any specific individual or unit. It is a University response dictated by our Title IX policy. Baylor University remains committed to providing for the safety and security of our campus community.
Baylor’s latest coaching addition is a very familiar name in the state of Texas.
BU confirmed Wednesday evening that Frank Okam has been added to Matt Rhule‘s coaching staff. Okam, who was a Freshman All-American and two-time All-Big 12 defensive tackle at Texas from 2004-07, will coach the Bears’ defensive line.
“Frank is a living embodiment of everything the young men in our program should want to accomplish,” the head coach said in a statement. “He’s a college graduate, an All-American, a Big 12 champion, a national champion, a NFL draft pick and then he continued life after football earning his master’s degree from Rice and is now one of the top young football coaches in the country.
“We are excited to have Coach Okam on staff and for him to mentor our defensive line group and help take them to the next level.”
The 32-year-old Okam, who went to high school in Dallas, spent the past four seasons at Rice, the last two as the Owls’ line coach. This will mark Okam’s first coaching job at a Power Five program.
With Baylor still rebounding from the damage done from a massive sexual assault scandal within the football program, two Baylor football players have been investigated for their possible connection to a new sexual assault incident on Baylor’s campus. No names have been confirmed publicly at this time due to privacy laws.
According to a report from KWTX in Waco, Texas, two redshirt football players were part of a group of four individuals questioned by police in an active investigation. No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made at this time. The case has been passed along to Baylor’s Judicial Affairs and Title IX offices, according to the original report.
The alleged victim and the female filing the report are both members of Baylor’s equestrian team. The incident in question occurred on the night of Nov. 11, hours after Baylor lost a football game against Texas Tech in Arlington. As redshirt players, neither player reportedly questioned would have played, but it is unknown if they traveled with the team to the neutral site game. Video of the alleged incident has been turned over to Baylor’s Title IX investigators.
For now, the investigation is ongoing. If more information comes out, we will certainly update the story as needed. But for now, with no charges filed and no arrests made, the unnamed players connected to the investigation are considered fully active members of the Baylor football program until updated otherwise.
A decade after terrorizing the Big 12 at Texas, it appears Frank Okam will now be teaching his players how to terrorize the Longhorns in a new role in the conference.
Baylor team site SicEm365.com is reporting that Okam will be the Bears next defensive line coach after spending the past two seasons at Rice. He replaces Elijah Robinson, who joined the Texas A&M staff down the road in the same capacity last month.
This will be just the second full-time coaching position for Okam after becoming an on-field coach for the Owls two years ago. Despite the short coaching resume, his playing career resume is a lengthy one that includes a national title while on the 40 Acres with the Longhorns and a trio of All-Big 12 selections. The former five-star recruit played all four years in Austin and was later a fifth round pick of the Houston Texans. He retired from the NFL prior to the 2013 season after getting cut by the New York Giants and later became a graduate assistant at Rice.
The move should complete the coaching staff at Baylor for the 2018 season provided there are no more changes coming for Matt Rhule and company down in Waco.