After COVID-19 break, football focuses on silver linings

Baylor Bears tight end Ben Sims (86) scores a touchdown and celebrates with teammates during the first overtime against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va., on Oct. 3. Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports Courtesy of West Virginia Athletics

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

COVID-19 has certainly made its presence felt within the Baylor football program, most recently causing the postponement of Baylor’s homecoming showdown with No. 6 Oklahoma State.

As a result, the Bears put all football activities on hold for a week in order to make sure the program cleared the spike in cases it saw after the team’s trip to West Virginia.

On Sunday, Baylor was back on the field for their first practice since beginning their 10 day hiatus.

“We’re super excited to be back, definitely a longer break than we’d wanted, but that’s just kinda how this season’s going,” senior quarterback Charlie Brewer said.

As Brewer alluded to, these breaks have not been uncommon for Baylor, as they had to postpone their non-conference contests with Louisiana Tech and Houston, neither of which have been rescheduled. The OSU game has been moved to Dec. 12, now the final spot on Baylor’s schedule.

Sophomore tight end Ben Sims, who scored a key touchdown in the outing against West Virginia, thinks the team is more appreciative of the opportunity to play.

“We’re more excited to play this week,” Sims said. “The postponement against Oklahoma State was obviously a little disheartening, but under COVID circumstances, we kind of knew what the season would look like, so I think if anything we’re motivated, we’re excited to play.”

Three total Big 12 games have been postponed this season, two of them coming from Baylor. TCU missed out on its first game of the season, a DFW showdown with SMU. As per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said the team was “disappointed we’re not going to play this week, but excited about moving forward.”

Like their in-state rivals, Baylor has been able to focus on the silver lining of their situation.

“It gave us a chance to bring some COVID guys back and get even stronger,” Sims said.

Despite having the vast majority of the team available, junior Safety/Linebacker Jalen Pitre said he doesn’t expect playing at a high level to be any easier than before.

“It is very challenging with COVID, not knowing who’s gonna be out there,” Pitre said. “But our coaches do a wonderful job at getting everyone prepared throughout the week, so that if anyone needs to step up, we’re comfortable with whoever it is.”

Additionally, the break has given Baylor some time to see what teams around the country are doing.

“This off week has definitely gave us a lot of time to watch Texas, and study their tape, and notice some tendencies that they have,” Pitre said. “So I think that the off week that we had will definitely help us come Saturday.”

The Bears will head to Austin to face off with Texas at 2:30 p.m. The game will be airing on ESPN and ESPN+.