Bears emphasizing healthy competition in spring practice

Baylor football players receive instruction at a spring practice on March 21 at the Allison Indoor Practice Facility. The Bears compete in the annual Green & Gold game on Saturday at McLane Stadium. Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Editor

By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer

A way to create a competitive atmosphere is to have everyone fight for their position, to have everyone put everything out on the field and to be nothing except their full potential — this is Baylor head coach Matt Rhule’s football philosophy.

“I think the biggest thing is, they now know a lot of these guys have been to a bowl game now, they have seen what it takes to play a SEC team. To beat an Oklahoma State, to lose to a Texas. All those things,” Rhule said. “They’ve been through all these moments, and they’ve seen just kind of how it’s not that far off. It’s all sort of within this space […] Every year you’re reborn. That sounds like coaching talk, but what it says is just because you were on the team, doesn’t mean you did those things. That’s why we have a process in place where you practice hard and put them under a lot of pressure.”

Junior quarterback Charlie Brewer is no stranger to fighting for a spot on the field. In the 2018 season, he competed and rotated with quarterback Jalan McClendon for a starting position. Although Brewer became the consistent quarterback, he says he practices like he’s still fighting for a spot.

“I think the worst thing you can do is be satisfied,” Brewer said. “So you know, I’m still out there competing. But, I think with me being a junior now, you know, some of the younger guys look up to you. You need to set a good example of showing everyone you know what you’re doing and set the tone for everything.”

With the team veterans competing hard, freshmen and young prospects have to keep up. As Baylor football continues to prepare for Green & Gold weekend, this week of practice also marks the beginning of the road of preparing young players for their future football careers.

A preseason game week practice sets newer players up for what to expect from the season and what it looks like to be a Baylor Bear. The week consists of three days of practice — one early morning, one light day, and two hard run-throughs, with a day for meetings. Brewer said this a good opportunity for new faces to adapt to the system.

“It’ll show the guys who haven’t gone through game week what that’s like and get some experience with that so it won’t be so brand new during the season,” Brewer said. “You can tell that everyone is a lot more comfortable just the verbiage of the offense … [We’re] not even close to where we want to be, but the good thing is, it’s only the spring. We got the rest of the spring, summer and fall camp to get it corrected.”

Noting that the scrimmage is important for the teams’ development, Rhule also described how the offensive and defensive teams learn from one another and challenge each other to get better.

“The offense certainly got the best of defense today. Which is a turnaround from last week, which is usually how it goes,” Rhule said. “And it was good. It was good to see a lot of the young guys get reps. We’re trying to put them in pressure situations and see how they respond, see what they do under pressure and if they’re not quite doing what they’re capable of, keep making them more and more comfortable under fire.”

Although it’s only spring, and after the Green & Gold game football practice will take a hiatus until fall, the motivation to be better than the year before is still in place.

“I think everyone’s excited. I think its just, you know, same as last year. You know, every team is excited for a new year,” Brewer said. “For us to finish that way last year was good, we definitely left a few games out there as well. So, I think that’s what excites us, not how many games we won, but how many I think we can win.”