Drango set to play home finale

Senier offensive tackle Spencer Drango sets a pass protection block during the Bears’ game against Northwestern State on Oct. 17 at McLane Stadium. Drango has started since his freshman year and will play his last home game Saturday. Photo credit: Sarah Pyo

Senior left tackle Spencer Drango will set foot inside McLane Stadium one last time on Saturday. It will be the final home game for the lineman, who has had an illustrious career wearing the green and gold. And the final opponent will make it that much sweeter.

According to Drango, coming to Baylor wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. In fact, there was a time growing up that the Cedar Park native was set on attending the University of Texas.

But looking back on it now, after claiming two consecutive Big 12 titles, two bowl victories and being a part of the greatest stretch in Baylor football history, Drango said he made the right decision.

“Once I separated the fan and the player in me, it was a pretty easy [decision],” Drango said. “The fan wanted me to go to UT, growing up as a fan. But stepping back and looking at it as the player, it made it clear that Baylor was the right choice.”

Despite breaking all kinds of records while at Baylor, he realizes the groundwork that was laid before him and remains appreciative of those players.“It’s unimaginable, unbelievable [what we’ve accomplished],” Drango said. “With what this group has been able to do, thanks to the group that came before us, it really is unbelievable and it’s so special to be a part of.”

He said the best part about Baylor is the camaraderie and family atmosphere of the team. It’s something that Drango will miss about playing for the Bears, he said.

We’re all one big family, a band of brothers, Drango said.

“I’ll miss this team – the guys that I’ve come to know really well and love. It is a family, and from what I’ve heard about the next level, it’s straight business. So I’m going to miss the family and people here.”

After being at a place for so long, there are many memories that have been made, but one in particular stands out in his mind.

“In the locker room after a win is always something special,” Drango said. “There’s been some videos put out by tweets seeing the excitement of it, but winning the second-consecutive Big 12 title and being able to carry it into the locker room and sit there and look at it, take pictures, was really cool.”

Drango said he’s disappointed that the team didn’t get to do that this year, but made it clear that there was no regret for the way the season played out.

“If you look back, you say would’ve, could’ve, should’ve type thing, but you can’t change it now,” Drango said. “Just enjoy the positives and learn from the negatives. No regrets though.”

Now, the Bears are focused on getting a win against the visiting Longhorns to lock up a Sugar Bowl berth. In a season where the goal was to reach the College Football Playoff, a New Year’s Six bowl would be a sweet consolation prize, Drango said.

“That’d be something really, really cool,” Drango said. “We’ve been to some big bowl games, but that would be another big one that we could potentially go to if we take care of business.”

The All-American said after a couple devastating defeats in the postseason, it would be nice to go out with a win.

“Being able to send everyone out on a good note, since we haven’t been able to do that the past couple years [would be great], but especially for the seniors, we want to finish on a positive note.”

Head coach Art Briles agreed with that statement and said he just wants to thank the seniors for all their hard work. There would be no better way to do that than win the final two games, he said.

“It’s not on [the seniors] to start the car and drive it,” Briles said. “It’s on us to get it going, get it warm, and open the door for them and say ‘come on, we appreciate what you’ve done for us; we’re going to take care of you.’ So that’s the way I look at it. If there’s a back, they’re on ours.”