WACO, Texas - Running a controlled scrimmage with a lot of starts and stops, the Baylor offense lacked the rhythm and dynamic quality on Saturday that it showed in previous scrimmages.
But the defending Big 12 champions closed out their spring drills by "keeping everybody healthy" in a 51-play scrimmage that attracted an estimated crowd of 3,750 at the Highers Complex practice fields.
"I'm just tickled to death with the crowd," said seventh-year head coach Art Briles, "because we didn't really promote it. And all of a sudden, you look up, there are people everywhere. It's certainly evidence of how they respect what our players have done and how they feel about the direction of Baylor football. That's what we talk about all the time with our players is we have a responsibility to keep the level where it's at, and keep finding ways to get better. And that's what we're doing."
Senior quarterback Bryce Petty had a solid finish to his second spring as the starter, completing 10-of-15 passes for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He hooked up with Jay Lee on a short sideline route that turned into a 40-yard TD and then hit Robbie Rhodes in stride for a 38-yard scoring strike.
Corey Coleman led all receivers with five catches for 47 yards, while Lee hauled in two passes for 46 yards and the touchdown.
"Yeah, he's going to be a target," Briles said of Coleman, "but so is Robbie, so is Jay Lee and some of these other guys, because we've got to do a good job of making sure we open up Antwan (Goodley). That was our goal this spring was to develop guys around Antwan. We know what he can do, so we've got to make sure people can't just key on him."
With Shock Linwood held out of the scrimmage, and Devin Chafin limited to just one rushing attempt, freshman running backs Johnny Jefferson and Terence Williams stepped up to rush for a combined 43 yards on 10 carries.
"Those guys are good, and they're going to have to be good," Briles said of Jefferson and Williams, "because we've got four running backs. That's not a situation we're proud of; it's just the reality of where we're at. And one of them is a true freshman (Williams). It's a concern right now, without question. But they can play. That's a good thing. Every one of them can play and help us win."
Junior end Shawn Oakman stood out on the defensive side, racking up two of the team's five sacks.
"Same thing I've thought all spring," said Briles, when asked about Oakman's play on Saturday. "We can't block him, and I don't think anyone else will, either. I've been saying all along, I think our d-line is as good as anybody in America. He's just one of about six or seven in there that are going to be dominant, dynamic players for us in the fall, no doubt."
Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said "going against our offense is a humbling thing for a young redshirt freshman or junior college guy, because the tempo is so dramatically faster."
"After the first practice, (junior college transfer Grant Campbell) looked at me, and I said, ‘That's an Eddie Lackey look,''' Bennett said. "Eddie gave me that same look. It's like, ‘Am I going to make it here?' And it gets better. I tell our guys, I think we're the best offense in the country. And if you can get to where you can defend our offense reasonably well, then you're going to do some great things."
After closing out the 15-date spring drills, the Bears will return for fall camp in August and begin preparation for the Aug. 31 season opener against SMU in the new state-of-the-art McLane Stadium on the Brazos River.
"From everything – good weather, good crowd, good day to be around Baylor," Briles said, "it was a great day."
Seat selection process for the new stadium begins Thursday, April 12.
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Bryce Petty - 10-15, 135 yards, 2 TD; Seth Russell - 4-9, 63 yards; Chris Johnson - 3-6, 21 yards
Johnny Jefferson - 5-30; Terence Williams - 5-13; Devin Chafin - 1-4; Chris Johnson - 5-(-8); Bryce Petty - 4-0; Seth Russell - 1-(-5)
Corey Coleman - 5-47; Jay Lee - 2-46, TD; Carl Spangler - 2-45; Andy Ritter - 2-19; Brandon Brown - 2-10; Robbie Rhodes -1-38, TD; Quan Jones - 1-10; Antwan Goodley 1-3; Levi Norwood - 1-1.
Collin Brence- 3; Grant Campbell-3; Austin Jupe-3; K.J Smith-3; Terrell Brooks-2; Brian Nance-2; Sean Oakman-2; Taion Sells-2; Travon Blanchard-1; Trevor Clemons-Valdez-1; Raaquan Davis-1; Kiante' Griffin-1; Xavien Howard-1; Patrick Levels-1; Javonte Magee-1; Xavier Phillips-1; Alfred Pullom-1; Ryan Reid- 1; K.J. Smith-1; Terrence Singleton-1; Taylor Young-1
Sean Oakman-2 (-12), Terrell Brooks-1 (-5); Brian Nance-1 (-3); K.J. Smith-1 (-5)
Xavien Howard-1; Terrance Singleton-1; Tyler Stephenson-1
Lee 40 yard pass from Petty (No PAT attempted)
Callahan 42 FG
Rhodes 38 yard pass from Petty (No PAT attempted)
Callahan FG 37