Archive for Wednesday, July 29, 1998

BAYLOR

July 29, 1998

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1997 record: 2-9 (1-7 Big 12, 6th in South division).

Offensive starters returning: 6.

Defensive starters returning: 8.

Offensive formation: Multiple.

Defensive formation: ``50.''

Bowl appearances: 16.

Bowl record: 8-8.

Last bowl: 1994 Alamo (Washington State 10, Baylor 3).

Head coach: Dave Roberts, second year (66-58-3 overall, 2-9 at Baylor).

All-time Big 12 record: 2-14.

Key players: QB Odell James, TB Darrell Bush, FB Derek Lagway, FS Nikia Codie.

Key questions: Will the all-sophomore backfield of James, Bush and Lagway improve on their freshman years? Will the Bears survive a brutal schedule that includes a trip to Notre Dame after back-to-back games with Texas A&M and Texas?

Key comment: ``We have better players than ever before. Eventually, we'll get to where we are more competitive in the Big 12. Will it be this year? I don't know, but I hope so. We are starting to evolve to where we want to be. We feel like we've made a great deal of improvement, but we definitely have a long way to go.'' -- Roberts.

Oklahoma

1997 record: 4-8 (2-6 Big 12, tied for 4th in South).

Offensive starters returning: 8.

Defensive starters returning: 9.

Offensive formation: Multiple option.

Defensive formation: ``46.''

Bowl appearances: 33.

Bowl record: 21-11-1.

Last bowl: 1995 Copper (Brigham Young 31, Oklahoma 6).

Head coach: John Blake, third year (7-16 overall, 7-16 at Oklahoma).

All-time Big 12 record: 5-11.

Key players: RB DeMond Parker, FB Jermaine Fazande, QB Brandon Daniels, DT Kelly Gregg.

Key questions: Will OU's old-is-new option offense help the Sooners reclaim some of their glorious football past? With Oklahoma's new-look 4-6 defense run by new coordinator Rex Ryan shore up a sometimes-leaky defense? Will Blake be looking for work by season's end?

Key comment: ``I'm looking forward to this season. We have a situation now where we can turn this corner. The things we want to do are in position. We've got people in positions where we can do some things.'' -- Blake.

Oklahoma State

1997 record: 8-4 (5-3 Big 12, tied for second in South).

Offensive starters returning: 8.

Defensive starters returning: 9.

Offensive formation: Multiple.

Defensive formation: 4-3.

Bowl appearances: 13.

Bowl record: 9-4.

Last bowl: 1997 Alamo (Purdue 33, Oklahoma State 20).

Head coach: Bob Simmons, fourth year (17-18 overall, 17-18 at Oklahoma State).

All-time Big 12 record: 7-9.

Key players: QB Troy Lindsay, TB Jamaal Fobbs, TB Nathan Simmons, LB Kenyatta Wright.

Key questions: Was 1997 a fluke, or is Oklahoma State really on the rise? Where will OSU find replacements for its departed All-Big 12 cornerbacks?

Key comment: ``Our next step is to continue to work toward winning championships. We were very, very close last year to winning the Big 12 South. It didn't happen. We would like to continue on that road to winning the Big 12 championship and, ultimately, like any other program, winning the national championship.'' -- Simmons.

Texas

1997 record: 4-7, 2-6 Big 12 (tied for 4th in South).

Offensive starters returning: 8.

Defensive starters returning: 9.

Offensive formation: Multiple.

Defensive formation: 4-3.

Bowl appearances: 37.

Bowl record: 17-18-2.

Last bowl: 1997 Fiesta (Penn State 38, Texas 15).

Head coach: Mack Brown, first year (86-74-1 overall).

All-time Big 12 record: 8-8.

Key players: HB Ricky Williams, OT Jay Humphrey, MLB Dusty Renfro.

Key questions: Can Williams repeat as the Doak Walker Award winner and can he add the Heisman to his trophy shelf? How will the team adjust to new coach Mack Brown? Who will step up at quarterback?

Key comment: ``We're not talking about rebuilding. We want to win every game. I don't think the Texases or the Colorados or the Oklahomas are ever very far away from being good. I'm going to be 47. I'm too old to be sitting around with a bad team. And the players don't want a bad team.'' -- Brown.

Texas A&M

1997 record: 9-4 (6-2 Big 12, 1st in South).

Offensive starters returning: 8.

Defensive starters returning: 6.

Offensive formation: Multiple.

Defensive formation: 3-4.

Bowl appearances: 23.

Bowl record: 12-11.

Last bowl: 1998 Cotton (UCLA 29, Texas A&M 23).

Head coach: R.C. Slocum, 10th year (83-25-2 overall, 83-25-2 at Texas A&M).

All-time Big 12 record: 10-8.

Key players: QB Branndon Stewart, RB Sirr Parker, RB Dante Hall, LB Dat Nguyen.

Key questions: Can A&M, 3-11 against bowl-qualifying teams since 1995 and winless against top-10 opponents since 1989, finally win the big games? Will the Aggies survive a season opener against Florida State in the Kickoff Classic? Will Stewart ever live up to his hype?

Key comment: ``I certainly don't see us way out in front of anybody else in the South.'' -- Slocum.

Texas Tech

1997 record: 6-5 (5-3 Big 12, tied for 2nd in South).

Offensive starters returning: 6.

Defensive starters returning: 6.

Offensive formation: Offset-I.

Defensive formation: 4-4.

Bowl appearances: 22.

Bowl record: 5-16-1.

Last bowl: 1996 Alamo (Iowa 27, Texas Tech 0).

Head coach: Spike Dykes, 13th year (69-57-1 overall, 69-57-1 at Texas Tech.

All-time Big 12 record: 10-6.

Key players: WR Donnie Hart, QB Rob Peters, RB Ricky Williams, DE Montae Reagor.

Key questions: Will Peters be able to make anybody forget Zebbie Lethridge? Will Hart stay healthy? Will Williams make anybody forget the other Ricky Williams?

Key comment: ``The good thing about this team is that we've got good chemistry. We all drink out of the same dipper. There's no prima donnas. There's no hotshots. There's no famous people. Everybody does it the way you want it done, and I'm not sure you can put a value on that in team sports.'' -- Dykes.

-- Andrew Hartsock

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