By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor’s offensive line had a tough season last year, including constant injuries and players having to miss games that were detrimental to their success as a unit. This has unfortunately been a trend for the Bears over recent years, typically ranking in the lower half of the conference. However, with new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, new offensive line coach Eric Mateos, returning senior offensive lineman Connor Galvin as well as transfers, the offensive line is looking to have their best season in recent years.
“After last year, 2-7, we’ve all addressed it, we’ve all learned from it,” Galvin said. “So now it’s just about playing as one and playing hard for each other as a team.”
“Going through all of that is a great history lesson of the do’s and don’ts,” head coach Dave Aranda said.
After a disappointing 2020 season, the team knows it is important to start strong and play as a team. There wasn’t a practice last season where every single offensive linemen was able to participate. The constant ins and outs caused them to never quite get comfortable with the scheme. Galvin said they have “improved each day” and have gotten more and more comfortable with the lineups and the new scheme in place. There is confidence surrounding the new look of the offensive line from everyone on the team.
“I’m confident in them,” sophomore quarterback Jacob Zeno said. “They’re really getting better and improving every day.”
A big reason for their improvements has been new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and new offensive line coach Eric Mateos. Grimes comes to Baylor from Brigham Young University after winning the 2020 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. Mateos also comes from BYU where he coached the very successful offensive line that was the backbone of their elite offense in 2019-2020. Players and coaches have had nothing but praise for the two new coaches and really believe in them.
“Coach [Grimes] has got a great hold on those guys,” Aranda said. “They believe in him and listen to him.”
“I can feel the energy and charisma that Coach Mateos injects into these guys’ veins every single day,” senior offensive lineman Grant Miller said.
“I’m a big fan of the offensive scheme,” senior offensive lineman Jacob Gall said. “It’s one of the reasons why I came here.”
New personnel for the offensive line have been bright spots for the unit. Transfers Miller and Gall have been working hard and each has said their transitions have been going well and they have enjoyed their time so far. Miller also said it has been his desire for a long time to play for Baylor, since multiple family members have attended and played for the Bears.
“I’m really ready to play whatever it is,” Miller said. “I’m just really excited to put on the green and gold for the first game.”
Galvin has been a leader for the team and has helped new transfers transition this offseason. Galvin has been a consistent starter at left tackle in his time at Baylor and was selected to the 2020 preseason All-Big 12 second team. Galvin said the offensive line is “all here as one” and believes in the unit and the improvements they have made day in and day out, which will determine the offense’s success this season.
”Our package is completely built upon the offensive line,” Aranda said. “I think to be the team we need to be, we have to be big-men driven.”