Art Briles has built a reputation as the head coach of the Baylor Bears for being able to build one of the best offenses in college football. As quarterbacks and playmakers have come and gone through Waco, Baylor continues to reload and light up the scoreboard every fall. Their downfall has typically come on the defensive side of the ball where the roster is much less talented and the results less than stellar. Briles looks to fix that, however, with a strong 2014 recruiting class that has been heavy on defensive playmakers.
Just in the last 10 days, the Bears have secured commitments from eight players, six of which are on the defensive side of the ball. Their recent signing have been highlighted by top recruits like James David, the No. 10 rated inside linebacker in the class, and T’Kevian Rockwell, the No. 16 rated safety. In all, three of Baylor’s top five verbal commitments so far have been defensive players, a sign that the team is consciously targeting their weakest link in recruiting.
And that will pay major dividends. Baylor ranked No. 113 in scoring defense in 2012, giving up 37.2 points per game. That forced the offense to outscore opponents each and every week. While the Bears were good, sometimes they just weren’t that good. Even when the offense was great, sometimes it wasn’t enough. When Baylor took on the West Virginia Mountaineers in 2012, the offense put up 63 points…but the defense gave up 70. In all, Baylor’s defense allowed 20 or fewer points just once the entire season.
Having a halfway decent defense could turn Baylor from perennial Big 12 dark horse into a conference favorite. They have the offensive system in place to put up points. Are they about to get some defensive playmakers to keep the other team from doing the same?