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Pop Quiz: SicEm staff offers opinions, answers about Baylor sports

June 2, 2020

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Welcome to Pop Quiz, a weekly test on Baylor sports taken by SicEm365 insiders. There are no wrong answers here, although some responses may leave you scratching your head. We may venture off topic at times, but hey … you may end up with a good burrito recommendation because of it.

Other than RGIII and Bryce Petty, the best Baylor quarterback in the past 25 years is ___

Paul Catalina: Seth Russell. There will always be the what-ifs, but he was fun to watch.

Brian Ethridge: The best Baylor QB of the last 25 years tells me I'm old. I was going to say J.J. Joe, but that was over 25 years ago, making J.J. older than me. This likely leaves Jeff Watson, Shawn Bell or Charlie Brewer as the answer, despite Nick Florence having a great season. Give me Chuck in the end.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Seth Russell. In 2015 Baylor had the potential of having two Heisman candidates (Russell and Corey Coleman) through the first seven games. Russell had 35 touchdowns and over 2,500 total yards in seven games. Baylor was also undefeated and ready to make some noise in the College Football playoff before a gruesome injury cut Russell’s season short and the Bears lost three of their last five. He came back the next year and led Baylor to a 6-2 start following a program destructing off-season in 2016.

Ashley Hodge: Before he got hurt in 2015, Seth Russell was playing at a really high level, a national-championship-type level.  Nick Florence, JJ Joe and Cody Carlson were the three names that also came to mind. But I’ll go with Charlie Brewer for this reason. I don’t think Brewer has had the offensive line protection that these other guys had. Charlie has won 18 games as a starter (or “rescuer” in the 2018 OSU game) the last two years and, for many of those games, he was running for his life. Hopefully this season will highlight his full value.

Jason King; Forget about stats and achievements. If I could pick a non-RGIII/Bryce Petty signal caller to run my team, it would be Seth Russell. Loved his speed and elusiveness. Loved his arm strength and poise under pressure. When healthy, Russell was a true force. I just think he had a more complete skill set than other quarerbacks I considered.

David Smoak: It would be Seth Russell but so much, “what-ifs…” with the injury in 2015 that derailed what could’ve been a championship playoff team and the 2016 season going up in flames. So, it’s Charlie Brewer: 7,742-yards and 51-TD’s, and quite a bit of his career he’s been behind an offensive line that once had six scholarship players. Brewer took the baton from transfer Anu Solomon early during the 1-11 season and never looked back. He’s taken a beating during his three years, but he’s tough as nails and big-time in the clutch. He’ll always be legendary for being the starting quarterback that took Baylor out of the dumpster fire to the brink of a Big 12 Championship.

A former Baylor football player that I always enjoyed interviewing was ___ 

Paul Catalina: Bryce Petty. Great sense of humor. Always fun. Didn’t take himself too seriously.

Brian Ethridge: Lanear Sampson, just a good guy. Always open and honest while keeping true to himself.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Clay Johnston. I remember at Big 12 Media Days last year talking to him and just dying laughing at some of the things he was saying but he was also very honest, just a good guy. During media times as well he was comfortable and not always serious which is great to see.

Ashley Hodge: I interview JJ Joe every week for a feature and JJ is incredible. I’ve loved the different contributors to that feature over the years: Collin Brence, Terrance Ganaway and Brian Nance are the names that come to mind. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. But overall, JJ is a great guy to interview. His answers are always thoughtful, wise and insightful.

Jason King: Shawn Oakman. I got the big fella to open up for an in-depth feature I wrote for Bleacher Report prior to the 2015 season. It was incredible conversation that I’ll never forget I was just thankful he didn’t bring his pet snake. Anyway … his backstory is incredible. Google it.

David Smoak: This is pretty much impossible to answer. I remember my first year covering Baylor and how Nick Jean-Baptiste always lit up a room with his smile, and why not? He went from a walk-on to earning Big 12 honors his senior year in 2011. I’ll always remember how Paul Catalina and I labeled the most experienced starter on the offensive line, “The Godfather,” because we could always get insight from that player—truth-serum in some cases—starting with Danny Watkins to Cameron Kaufhold to Troy Baker to Spencer Drango. I know that’s too much but I had to bring them into the equation. Those older offensive linemen would give us notes we could use all week.

The non-revenue Baylor team I enjoy watching the most is ___

Paul Catalina: Baseball. I really enjoy Steve Rodriguez’s coaching style and the energy that program has.

Brian Ethridge: Volleyball is the most exciting non-revenue sport I see. Baseballmade money at one point, but I'm 99.99% sure volleyball has never made money. But it should. I will now duck the shoe being thrown at me by Acro, but I've never been to one of their events.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Easily Baylor Men’s tennis. I have covered the team pretty thoroughly since Coach Boland got to Baylor and they are really good plus fun to watch. Sad they didn’t get a chance to compete for the National Championship this year and that Baylor fan’s didn’t get to see arguably the most talented tennis player in Baylor history Jenson Brooksby compete. If they had gotten healthy late, they would have had a shot. 

Ashley Hodge: Volleyball.  I tried to catch most of the women’s volleyball games this past season.  The games are fast paced and exciting. Yossiana Pressley is a special athlete. If you have not watched her, you will want to make sure you catch some of her games as a senior.

Jason King: Softball. I love the fast pace. Once you accept that it’s a completely different game than baseball and appreciate it for what it is, it’s addicting. I got hooked on it back in college, when—as a student assistant in the media relations department—I traveled to a handful of tournaments with Baylor’s squad to keep stats, coordinate postgame interviews, etc. Shoutout to Stacey Allison, Lyn Hill, Michelle Sorrels, Misty Perry, Carrie Arn, Christina Price and all of the other awesome players from those squads. I’m looking forward to covering Baylor softball for SicEm365.

David Smoak: I sometimes feel like I’m in the minority among my colleagues. But I enjoy watching the Lady Bears. Some background: I attended Tyler Junior College and when I was there the Apache Ladies were dominant and played for a national championship. When I transferred to Stephen F. Austin State University, they were a Top 5 national program led by Hall of Fame coach Sue Gunter. They absolutely packed the Johnson Coliseum for their home games. And they played the second game so the men’s game wouldn’t look empty after everyone left. And the SFA men were damn good, too. I mean the Ladyjacks were elite and then I saw this little point guard at Louisiana Tech start to shred them (and everyone else). So, when I arrived 10 years ago, I knew about Kim Mulkey and I believe to this day she came to respect my knowledge of women’s basketball from what I’d ask about the past. So, there’s that. And they’re about as elite as they come, and they’ve bounced back from the difficult post-season losses after their 40-0 team to dominate once again.

The thing that impresses me the most about Scott Drew is ___

Paul Catalina: His relentless positivity. There is no one on earth that can match it. 

Brian Ethridge: Scott Drew's eternal optimism impresses me the most.

Grayson Grundhoefer: I’m impressed with how he’s been able to shift recruiting and playing-style philosophies over the years. He went from recruiting high-end talent in the late 2000’s to going after developmental players to transfers now. He also made the shift from inside-out to outside-in over the last year-and-a-half.

Ashley Hodge: One of the best qualities in a person to me is humble curiosity. I think Scott Drew epitomizes those characteristics. He’s humble, always quick to credit his players and coaches for the success of the program. He takes the high road consistently, which is a reflection of his humility—thinking less of himself and more of others. But he’s also curious, and that makes him a great coach. He’s a fierce competitor who wants to win titles and championships. But he’s always looking to improve. He’s one of the best coaches in the gam,e but as he turns 50 this year, I think he’s in his prime and we will experience a golden age of Baylor basketball over the next two decades.

Jason King: Scott has improved so much over the years. The guy who was once known as a poor x-and-o’s coach is now regarded as one of the best tacticians in the league, if not the country. I love how he continues to evolve and adapt and re-invent. It’s the mark of a coach with no ego, a coach who puts his players—and winning—above everything. What I admire the most about Scott, though, is that he’s truly a great person. A few years ago I was going through some stuff “off the court” in my personal life that was causing me to lose focus. Scott caught wind of it and called to give me a pep talk. As the conversation was ending, he said, “Hey, I know you’ve got to run. But let me say a prayer for you really quick.” And then Scott proceeded to say a prayer for me over the phone. I was moved and taken aback. It was one of the nicest gestures I’d ever experienced.

David Smoak: He’s as genuine as they come and I’ll never forget the first time I met him. I interviewed him one-on-one in the men’s basketball conference room just outside of his office. I’d heard so much about him from those who are clueless, those who were too lazy to get to know him, see him, meet him and talk with him. Not just about basketball, but about life. I sat down and interviewed him, just Scott and I and also then men’s basketball SID, Chris Yandle. I asked a couple of very difficult questions. Scott didn’t blink. When Baylor hosted College GameDay on campus before they played Texas one year, we broadcast outside the Ferrell Center in a huge RV. It was a great setup. Scott came in for a segment, and later that night after the team meal, he came back over to our RV. A couple of us had decided to spend the night in the RV at the parking lot and he brought us food. When Paul, Craig and I were let go by the radio station on March 18th, he was the first person to call me. He wanted to help and he stayed in touch and was also one of the first to send a congratulatory text when SicEm365 announced our radio show.

One thing I’d eat more of if it wasn’t so unhealthy is ___ 

Paul Catalina: Fried chicken. And all its side dishes.

Brian Ethridge: I work out to eat what I want, but since COVID, I've had to not eat as much, but if I never work out again ... give me all the tacos.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Fried Chicken. I absolutely love it from just about anywhere, but it is so unhealthy, unfortunately. The last time I had it was a memorable experience. Brian and I went to Babe’s in Dallas after The Opening Finals, it might be the best I have ever had.

Ashley Hodge: Hard to choose one! I’ll go with cherry sours because that has been one of my vices lately.  When I go buy “healthy, organic” dog food for my kids’ pug that I get the privilege of feeding, walking and cleaning up after daily… I often find myself “giving into temptation” when I see a package of cherry sours by the Vending Nut Company conveniently placed by the cash register.  Those are pretty addictive.  It becomes a race to try to get rid of them so we won’t be tempted to eat “pure sugar” until the next time I get a package.

Jason King: Fried chicken—especially from Babe’s or Gus’s or Church’s—is the easy answer for me. I crush at least four pieces every time. But I try not to eat it more than once I month. The other thing I try to avoid is donuts, preferably of the glazed or blueberry cake variety. I absolutey love donuts but, a few years ago, someone told me that eating one glazed donut is the equivalent to eating a loaf of bread. I have no idea if that’s true, but it definitey made me scale back.

David Smoak: Ice cream. I love ice cream and I used to eat 1-2 pints of Blue Bell chocolate ice cream every week, maybe 2-3 times each week. I’d sit that container on the counter, let it melt a little bit on the top and take off the top, lick the ice cream stuck to the top and just devour the pint of Blue Bell chocolate ice cream. But when I started working out in March, 2013, I went four years without any ice cream. It’s my kryptonite. I love it. I’ve had a few scoops since the “self-mandated drought,” but I don’t trust myself with any of it near me. It’s delicious, but deadly.

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Pop Quiz: SicEm staff offers opinions, answers about Baylor sports

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