Story by Bailey Brammer | Broadcast Managing Editor, Video by Noah Torr | Executive Producer
Baylor relocated the annual Green & Gold spring football game from McLane Stadium on Saturday due to safety concerns for the athletes and fans in the thunderstorms. Instead, the Bears finished their spring practices with one final scrimmage in the Allison Indoor Practice Facility.
Head coach Matt Rhule said his team wanted to play in the rain up until the lightning began, but that he was happy with what he saw indoors and wanted to make sure the players had a chance to show how much they have improved.
“We don’t cancel things, we don’t move things,” Rhule said. “If we’re playing at 12, we’re playing at 12. That was the guys’ mentality, and I like the way they approached it.”
Rhule also recognized seven players with awards for improvement or commitment to the team and the school.
Senior offensive lineman Jake Fruhmorgen received Most Improved Offensive Player; senior defensive end James Lockhart received Most Improved Defensive Player; junior safety Jarion McVea received Most Outstanding Walk-On; redshirt freshman defensive end Jackson Shupp received the Community Service Award; senior offensive lineman Sam Tecklenburg received the Academic Award; senior linebacker Clay Johnston received the FCA award; senior safety Henry Black received the Spirit Award.
Lockhart said having his improvement recognized by his coach and his team meant a lot to him, and that this final scrimmage was a good end to spring practice.
“This offseason especially, I’ve shifted my mindset,” Lockhart said. “Everyday in practice, I try to work on one thing … This team has come a long way. Some of the older guys are leading the way on defense … and trying to set the example on and off the field.”
While Rhule has already made it clear that junior quarterback Charlie Brewer will be his starter next season, but said spring practice gave his other quarterbacks –– redshirt freshman Gerry Bohanon, freshman Jacob Zeno and redshirt freshman Preston Weeks –– an opportunity to make plays and take hits in a controlled setting.
“They all have talent,” Rhule said, “but the hardest part is learning how to function within the offense. I think you saw some toughness from Gerry, he got hit a bunch of times, but he made plays and he moved the ball down the field. I feel really good about the mindset where that position is laying out. I feel like they’re more game-ready after this spring and the opportunities to go live.”
Rhule said Bohanon has has become more of a passer than he was this time last year and that the improvement is “night and day.”
A new aspect to this spring’s practices was treating the week leading up to the Green & Gold game as they would a real game. Rhule said he’d never done that before, but that he wants his team to see practice as a chance to get better, not as a punishment.
“A standard is a standard, and to me, I’m trying to up the standard every year,” Rhule said. “I think going from one win to a bowl win has shown them, like ‘Hey, is the standard from last year going to be good enough?’ No, it can’t be good enough. You always have to improve what you’re doing.”
The Bears kick off their 2019 season against Stephen F. Austin University on August 31 in McLane Stadium.