By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
With sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer in concussion protocol, senior quarterback Jalan McClendon will take over the starting role for the time being.
Baylor’s concussion protocol management plan involves taking the injured player through five steps, including light exercise, non-contact training and unrestricted practice. The player must clear each step without their condition worsening. They must be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to activities.
Baylor football traveled into Morgantown, W. Va., on Saturday looking to take out then-No. 13 West Virginia to gain back momentum for the rest of the season. Instead, what the Bears faced was a team whose offense is led by one of the best quarterbacks in the nation who was ready to show why they were the No. 13 team in the country. In the 58-14 loss, not only was Baylor unable to get in the way of the high-powered Mountaineer offense, but the offense could not find a way to score, with the exception of the third quarter.
Brewer started the game for the Bears and had the worst game of his Baylor career after completing only one of his eight passes while throwing three interceptions before being taken out of the game after head coach Matt Rhule noticed Brewer was not his usual self.
“He came off, and I was talking to him. He looked a little bit out of it on that pick,” Rhule said. “I said, ‘Are you OK?’ I called the trainer over, and I know that is an evaluation process. They haven’t diagnosed anything to me yet, so they just said, ‘Hey, we are evaluating him, and he is done for now.’”
McClendon took over in the second quarter for the injured Brewer, looking to bring life back into the Baylor team. McClendon hadn’t played since the 66-33 loss to Oklahoma on Sept. 29 where he only attempted three passes. In the loss to the Mountaineers, McClendon completed 16 of his 21 passes for 183 yards. While he did not pass for a touchdown, he did rush for one and drove the team down the field for another rushing touchdown from freshman wide receiver Josh Fleeks.
Earlier this season, Brewer was taken out of the UTSA game after getting shaken up in the first game of the season against ACU and was taken out for precautionary reasons. McClendon came in to throw two touchdowns. Brewer said having McClendon, a graduate transfer from NC State, has been beneficial to the whole team because of the experience and ability he has.
“I think Jalan [McClendon] has brought a lot of good stuff. He’s obviously a great player,” Brewer said. “All of us help in our own ways, but he’s definitely an older guy who has been around the game more than most of us.”
The Bears’ season began with Brewer and McClendon rotating every two possessions until the Kansas game, where Brewer took over as the go-to quarterback and eventually the starting quarterback. Now with Brewer in concussion protocol, McClendon has the chance to see more action this weekend and even has the possibility to start. Rhule said he knows how talented McClendon is and that he has stepped up when called upon, even after being taken out of the rotation. He also said there is the possibility for freshman quarterback Gerry Bohanan to get in the game this Saturday.
“I have all of the confidence in the world in Jalan [McClendon],” Rhule said. “He was invited to play in the NFL Players Association All Star game just off of people watching him play in practice … The other night when things weren’t going well, he jumped in there and led us to score on a [seven-play] and 10-play drive. It is just the way that life works out that he is not the starter … I am also excited to see Gerry [Bohanan] get the opportunity to play. He has waited his turn and he has developed. He is a special young man.”
Bohanan has yet to see the field this season, but with the new redshirt rule that allows players to play four games before burning the redshirt, he could step up and make an impact at the end of the year with Baylor only having four games left.