Baylor Bears

Coaches rally against recent rule change regarding downfield linemen

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Paranoia. Paranoia. Everyone is out to get the spread teams.

Last year, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema were advocates of slowing down the game by changing the defensive substitution rules.

The NCAA Rules Committee shelved the discussion after numerous coaches came out publicly denouncing the potential rule change.

However, the NCAA did pass a rule last week that shortens the distance an offensive linemen is allowed to be downfield when a pass is in the air. The new rule states an offensive lineman cannot be more than a yard beyond the line of scrimmage during a passing play.

At least four prominent coaches that utilize spread offenses came out publicly and stated the change is merely an overreaction by the rules committee.

“I just want ’em to enforce the rule they have,” Arizona State head coach Todd Graham told USA TODAY‘s George Schroeder. “You’re not supposed to be more than 3 yards downfield. They need to enforce that.”

It’s not uncommon to see an offensive lineman five yards or more downfield due to the prevalence of packaged plays at the collegiate level. Quarterbacks are often given the option to hand the ball off, run or pass the football in a single play. Some signal-callers are adept at waiting until the last second before they uncork a pass. When that happens, there is usually an offensive lineman too far downfield, yet it’s rarely called.

Over the next two weeks, detractors of the rule change can provide comments to the rules committee. The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel will then consider to move forward or not with the rule change on March 5.

“This is the second year in a row I’ll be involved in (pushing back against a proposal),” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze told Schroeder. “I’m certainly not looking for things. If my understanding is correct, the reason they are proposing the rule change is based on a small sample size of plays that the (rules) committee viewed. In those plays, flags should have been thrown. … I think it’s a bad precedent to start changing rules of our game because things that were fouls weren’t called. I want to be clear: I don’t think we should be allowed to have linemen running free downfield (on pass plays). But the rule is a good rule.”

Graham and Freeze are joined by Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Baylor’s Art Briles in asking the rule be withdrawn from consideration.

Baylor adds alumni locker room to facilities

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Every program is looking to gain an edge.

Facility improvements have become the newest arms race in college football. Programs are willing to invest millions of dollars in order to entice the nation’s top recruits.

What better way to get players to come to your program than to grant them access to those players that already made it to the NFL?

Nearly every top prospect dreams of playing in the NFL. The lure of being around professional athletes can certainly sway impressionable young men. And programs are taking advantage of that edge.

Baylor is the merely the latest to build an alumni locker room in its new Simpson Athletic and Academic Center.

“The purpose is to bring some of our pro players back to campus when they have an opportunity during the offseason and train at Baylor, which we know they like they to do,” Baylor deputy athletic director Todd Patulski said in an interview with the school’s official athletic site. “They consider this their home, and the coaching staff is their family. This provides a great opportunity for them to put their duffel bag in and get workouts in. … All these guys really find opportunity to come back.

“They know the coaches, they know our strength coaches, and they believe in them. When you’re in the offseason and have an opportunity to come back and feel comfortable and work out with the rest of the guys, that’s just a great thing. It’s comforting. We’ve put a lot of kids in the NFL, and it’s becoming more and more of a demand. This is a great opportunity to create a space for them.”

While Patulski framed his answer by saying it’s a great opportunity for the professional athletes, it’s really beneficiary for the program, its players and even potential players.

(Photo courtesy of Baylor athletic department)

Baylor Bears unveil newest helmet design

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A new helmet or uniform unveiling has become routine in college football.

The equipment race to sway recruits is alive and well even during the offseason.

The Baylor Bears have been on the forefront of uniform exploration in recent years. Their helmets have ranged from traditional gold to matte forest green to golden chrome and everything in-between.

With National Signing Day looming, Baylor’s Director of Equipment Services Jeff Barlow unveiled the Bears’ latest addition to the their wardrobe:

Tulsa names Baylor OC Philip Montgomery its new head coach

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Over the past 11 years, multiple coaches for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have been known as offensive innovators.

Steve Kragthorpe, Todd Graham, Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris all served head coaches or offensive coordinators within that time frame. Those names are among the most brilliant offensive minds in college football.

Tulsa is prepared to add another one as its next head coach.

The university announced Thursday that Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery will replace Bill Blankenship, who was fired on Dec. 1, and take over the Golden Hurricane program.

“We are extremely pleased to have Philip Montgomery as our head football coach,” Tulsa athletic director Derrick Gragg said in statement. “Coach Montgomery has outstanding background as a collegiate coach and recruiter. He is one of the bright offensive minds in college football and has coordinated explosive offenses at both Houston and Baylor.”

Montgomery spent the last seven seasons in Waco, Texas, as Baylor’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach calling plays for the nation’s most explosive offense. The Bears led college football in total offense each of the last two seasons. In 2013, Montgomery was named a finalist for the Broyles Awards as the nation’s top assistant coach.

Montgomery’s relationship with Baylor head coach Art Briles extended to Stephenville High School (Texas) where they combined to win two state championships. Montgomery spent 16 seasons as an assistant to Briles.

“I am truly honored to be the next head coach at the University of Tulsa,” Montgomery said. “I want to thank President Upham, Derrick Gragg and the Board of Trustees for this special opportunity. I was fortunate to be in a great position working with Coach Briles and the wonderful people at Baylor. I’ve always wanted to be a head coach, but my family and I knew that it would take the right opportunity to get me to leave Waco. Tulsa is that special opportunity. There is a lot of work to get done and trust me, I’m already on it. Get ready for some fun, fast and physical football.”

(Picture courtesy of Baylor’s athletic department)

Report: Baylor QB Bryce Petty practices, still not cleared to play

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The Baylor Bears’ entire season rides on Saturday’s game against the Kansas State Wildcats.

As the sixth-ranked team in the country, Baylor needs a big win against the No. 9 Wildcats to potentially leapfrog the fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and possibly clear the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs, who Baylor already defeated earlier in the season.

The Bears’ hopes hinge on the health of quarterback Bryce Petty. The senior signal-caller suffered a concussion in the third quarter of Saturday’s 48-46 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Bears had to hold on to secure the victory without Petty in the lineup. There was a noticeable difference in the offense without its leader on the field.

However, Petty practiced Thursday, according to FOX Sports’ Stewart Mandel, but he hasn’t been fully cleared to participate in Saturday’s contest.

After the contest, Petty remained positive and stated he would play against Kansas State.

“I feel good. … On the field, it was a little muddy there,” Petty told the Associated Press last weekend. “It’s a new day and age now, where I guess they get upset about a few dingers and blurred vision. Just a little dinger, I’ll be all right.”

Petty has thrown for 2,893 yards, 25 touchdowns and only five interceptions this season. Sophomore Seth Russell played well when Petty was injured earlier in the season, but the Baylor will surely prefer to have its senior leader on the field when it faces the Big 12 Conference’s best defense.