New Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is absolutely loving being in charge of a football program that has its own stadium to call home. The look on Rhule’s face as he walked on to Baylor’s football turf and soaked it all in after years as the head coach of Temple and having to share space in an NFL venue said it all. It did not take long for Rhule and his staff in Waco to find a way to show off the stadium and the atmosphere either, as Baylor has been lighting the stadium Baylor green for recruiting visits since Rhule’s arrival.
It has become apparent that “Baylor Lit” is Rhule’s go-to catchphrase any time he receives positive recruiting news for the program, like a player committing to the university. Coaches are not allowed to directly and publicly comment on recruits before they are enrolled, so many coaches have taken to Twitter with a brief catchphrase to let their followers know something good just happened. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, for example, would say “Yessir!” on his Twitter account.
Because ideas are stolen all the time around college football, Houston appears to have been inspired by Baylor and is lighting their stadium red for similar purposes.
And because College Football Twitter will never let such a thing slide, the jokes have been running wild between fans of the schools.
There are some other schools I’d be curious to see duplicate this light show exhibition. Maybe Middle Tennessee could light the sky blue? Notre Dame could provide a golden shine to the sky. Syracuse plays in a dome, unfortunately, but an orange-lit sky would be cool to see. And of course, Hawaii could go with a full spectrum of the colors of the rainbow.
What I am trying to say is, lighting the sky in your team’s colors is cool and more schools should give it a try.
Helmet sticker to Reddit.
Oh, if you thought Matt Rhule was doing a good enough job of keeping his inherited roster together since making the move from Temple to Baylor, it gets better. He may be getting set to welcome a pretty significant graduate transfer quarterback; Anu Solomon from Arizona.
According to a report from 247 Sports, Solomon is expected to transfer to Baylor for the 2017 season. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately this fall, and would likely be given a good chance to compete for the starting job in Waco.
It was previously suspected UNLV could be a potential landing spot for Solomon, who has seen his college career riddled with injury concerns during his otherwise entertaining run at Arizona, but that appears to have passed. What impact the hiring of Rhule had at Baylor is unknown and based entirely on speculation at this stage, but if Solomon can stay healthy then he should fit in well with Baylor’s offensive identity even under Rhule.
Solomon played in just five games in 2016 for Arizona due to an injury suffered in practice early in the season. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Solomon passed for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He followed that up with 2,655-yards and 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions in three fewer games the following season.
Solomon announced his intention to transfer to another program in 2017 last month.
Barring any more changes in the days to come, Matt Rhule has managed to succeed in one of his first jobs at Baylor. That task is keeping the roster together. Consider that one mission accomplished following the announcement by one player confirming he will not be transferring to a new program in 2017.
Cornerback Jordan Tolbert, who had previously thought to be considering a transfer out of Waco, announced via Twitter he will in fact be staying put right where he is. The return of Tolbert will help keep the Baylor secondary with some solid depth in the new season even if he does not make a push for a starting job.
With Tolbert planning to stay put, it would appear Rhule will keep his inherited roster in place with one notable exception. Wide receiver KD Cannon previously announced his declaration to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, leaving Baylor a year early. He is the only player from Baylor set to leave the program early as Rhule gets settled in with his new staff. Now, the more challenging job becomes scratching together a recruiting class with just weeks to go until National Signing Day. According to Rivals, Baylor’s Class of 2017 currently holds eight commitments, highlighted by four-star New Jersey defensive back Harrison Hand (the other seven commitments all come from Texas). Baylor’s recruiting class was decimated as the school was being rocked by a scandal that led to the dismissal of former head coach Art Briles.
Helmet sticker to Reddit.
Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is filling out his coaching staff in Waco, and a few names have been officially added. Among the new official hires are offensive coordinator Matt Lubick and defensive coordinator Phil Snow.
Lubick will be leaving Ole Miss for the job shortly after taking the job in Oxford. Lubick had his departure from Ole Miss confirmed by Hugh Freeze earlier this week. Lubick was Oregon’s offensive cooridnator in 2016 under Mark Helfrich. It was unknown for sure whether or not he would be retained at Oregon under new head coach Willie Taggart before accepting the job at Ole Miss, and now at Baylor.
Snow was expected to make the move from Temple to Baylor with Rhule. Snow was Rhule’s defensive coordinator with the Owls and he coached one of the top defensive units in the American Athletic Conference.
Other names officially joining the staff at Baylor are Elijah Robinson, Jeff Nixon and George DeLeone. Robinson was on Rhule’s Temple staff as a defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator. Nixon previously coached with Rhule as a part of the 2006 Temple coaching staff (when Rhule was an assistant under Al Golden) and returns to the college game after a few years jumping around the NFL, most recently with the San Francisco 49ers. DeLeone was also on Rhule’s staff at Temple.
Baylor introduced new head coach Matt Rhule in a press conference setting today, and it would seem Rhule has already gotten some opportunities to speak to his new players in Waco. One player in particular delivered a promise to the new Bears head coach. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon reportedly made a bowl game guarantee to Rhule.
Baylor started the season with a 6-0 record but dropped their last six games to enter the bowl season at just 6-6. The Broncos of Boise State finished the season with a 10-2 record and second in the Mountain Division behind Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State has won six bowl game sin the last seven seasons between head coaches Chris Petersen (now at Washington) and Bryan Harsin.
Personally, I’m still trying to figure out how many people thought pairing Boise State and Baylor in a bowl game would be a good idea, considering the unfortunate story surrounding former Boise State and Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu. We can focus plenty on the non-controversial stuff leading up to the Cactus Bowl, but that is one story that cannot be totally overlooked either, especially given the current state of the Baylor football program.
Baylor and Boise State have never faced each other in football. The two will play in the Cactus Bowl in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 27.