Aranda Sees ‘Fire’ in Baylor Football Team

Baylor football helmet
Baylor football helmet | Image by Baylor Football/Facebook

The Baylor Bears football team wrapped up its spring practice over the weekend as it looks to make up for back-to-back disappointing seasons.

While the Bears’ spring game was ultimately canceled due to weather, head coach Dave Aranda said his team has had a productive spring.

“The energy and the battle part of the spring was very strong,” he told the media on Saturday. “… From the very beginning, ball, brotherhood, and battle were the points of emphasis, and it was cool to see that at the end. [I’m] appreciative of our players and the chip on the shoulder that they’re willing to show and to fight for and everything.”

The willingness to fight should be a pleasant sight for Baylor fans after the team stumbled to a 3-9 record last season, giving the program back-to-back losing seasons after a 12-2 campaign in 2021. That has led to questions about the program’s future, but Aranda is focusing on getting back on track, and it starts with a tough attitude that has manifested throughout the spring.

“There’s been times where we’ve had to tone it down,” Aranda said. “… There’s a lot of fire out there in those practices. It’s good to see. I think you’d rather deal with that than the other [way around].”

The fire is a positive sign, but more ground needs to be made up on the field, starting at quarterback. Baylor started multiple quarterbacks last season. Sawyer Robertson is the only one returning to the team in 2024 and is in competition with Toledo transfer DeQuan Finn for the starting job.

“We’ll look at it and do a whole review of the good, the bad, and the ugly and be honest about where everything is,” Aranda explained. “… I think the honest part is reviewing the film and reviewing the wins and losses of the day, or the throw, or the play. The film don’t lie, so I think going about it that way is the best option.”

Whoever wins the job will have plenty of weapons at their disposal, as running back Richard Reese and wide receivers Monaray Baldwin and Ketron Jackson Jr. are among those returning.

Defensively, Aranda pointed at the linebackers as the strongest position group behind sixth-year senior Matt Jones and redshirt sophomore Keaton Thomas.

“I think we have the potential to be one of the best — if not the best — defenses in the Big 12 this season,” Thomas told the media. “Across the spring, everyone’s shown flashes, even the young bucks. I think that’s been great, and I’m just excited to see how much further we can develop this summer.”

Baylor will return for training camp later this summer and begin its season against Tarleton State on August 31.

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