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Baylor Football

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

June 9, 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.

The quality about Dave Aranda that has impressed me the most thus far is ___

Brian Ethridge: Dave Aranda's best quality is his thoughtfulness. He's calculated, critical in his thinking and a great listener. He likely could write a book on it and have it become a beat seller.

Grayson Grundhoefer: The way he treats other people. I hear it on the recruiting trail, from current players, parents, and other coaches. Coach Aranda is just a really good person who everyone respects and looks up to because of the way he treats others.

Ashley Hodge: The ability to elicit trust in others. I’ve heard from others inside the program that his transparency and steadiness of character is going to go a long ways toward continuing to build a great culture at Baylor. Tony Dungy is the comparison that comes to mind.  He has a calm, quiet confidence and the ability to inspire others with the way he lives and leads—but also someone who will be respected and feared for his football knowledge.

Jason King: I’ve yet to spend time around Aranda in a one-on-one setting, but I’ve listened to most all of his radio interviews and have taken part in various press conferences and Zoom calls. I always notice how he lights up when talking about his family. The calculated, measured answers disappear and Aranda lets his guard down a bit. It’s easy to sense that his children bring him so much joy and that he’s so proud of them. It’s almost my favorite portion of any Aranda Q-and-A.

Craig Smoak: His thoughtfulness. It's very clear he puts careful thought into what he does and what he says. There is no hyperbole and nothing fake or rah-rah about him. He just loves the game of football and seems to be someone who will let his actions speak louder than his words. I can appreciate that in an industry filled with snake oil salesmen. 

David Smoak: Actually, I’ve only been around him one time after his introductory press conference and was very impressed. I had a one-on-one interview with him and I didn’t know what to expect, so I did my homework and learned a little more about him. He was genuine, focused, cerebral and very poised. I was told I wouldn’t get a lot from him by some who covered LSU, but that wasn’t the case. He was strong. He was the same during his Zoom media sesssions: very measured, but not in a way where he’s being protective. If you get him on something he loves—like most anything involving football or life—he will talk your ear off.

Colt Barber: I’ll stick with football on this answer and it’s the way that he can discuss his football plan to non-football people. He describes the game in a simple way which will translate greatly to his on-field teaching of the players. Listening to him talk makes me realize that his ability to coach at a high level comes with his ability to teach. 


The most valuable assistant football coach—past or present—in recent Baylor memory is ___

Brian Ethridge: The most important could be Joey McGuire as it eases the transition from Rhule to Aranda. Players trust McGuire and him staying shows what he thought of the program and Aranda.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Phil Snow. The way he turned around the Baylor defense in three seasons was absolutely remarkable. Snow did an amazing job of revamping the defense to fit the personnel that Baylor had on the roster, and it when it all came together the defense led the Bears to an 11-win season.

Ashley Hodge: Tough question. I think Phil Snow deserves a lot of credit for what he did with that defense last year. Joey McGuire deserves a lot of credit for maintaining the continuity of Baylor football and his work on the recruiting trail.  I think Larry Fedora is going to be really important going forward.  I see a situation where Fedora has charge of the offense and the defense is more of Aranda’s creation.  Special mention to Joe Wickline. We have to get production from this  OL. 

Jason King: I’m with Ashley on this one, as I’ve always been a big Larry Fedora guy. His recruiting and coaching played a huge role in Baylor posting back-to-back winning seasons in 1994 and 1995 under Chuck Reedy. Twenty-five years later, he’s back after successful stints at school such as Florida, Air Force, Middle Tennessee State and Oklahoma State (all as an assistant) and head coaching gigs at Southern Miss and North Carolina. With Fedora running the show, I expect Baylor’s offense—especially the run game—to be significantly improved this season.

Craig Smoak: Joey McGuire. I vividly remember the day he was announced as joining the staff and the collective "WHOA" across various team sites and social media that followed. He's been very flexible moving position groups, has tremendous relationships across the state and country, provided calm during the coaching transition, is aces on the recruiting trail and

David Smoak: Joey McGuire immediately comes to mind. Phil Bennett, too—although this website would have a meltdown if I stuck with him. But the Baylor defense did improve enough to win back-to-back Big 12 titles and, yes, I know the offense was the core of it all. But they just needed to find a way to get a stop or two each half. It didn’t always work that way, but they got better despite those who will disagree. But in the end it’s Randy Clements, the offensive line coach who always found a way to grisly veterans and true alpha dogs paving the way for the most underrated part of Baylor’s offense: the run game. Clements coached those linemen so when someone graduated or was injured, they had the next man up mentality, and almost every lineman could play multiple positions. Don’t underestimate his ability to recruit East Texas, either. He was very well-respected in that area.

Colt Barber: Mike Siravo for one specific reason: production. Baylor’s defensive line played at an incredibly high level in 2019, but the production of the linebackers playing behind that defensive line to clean up some messes pushed Baylor to the Sugar Bowl. The starters of Jordan Williams, Clay Johnston, Blake Lynch and Terrel Bernard combined for a total of 327 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks. Not to mention he also had a big hand in evaluations and recruiting efforts. 


Other than Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State, the toughest game on Baylor's 2020 schedule is ___

Brian Ethridge: TCU always gets up for Baylor and you can see the fat boil in the veins of Patterson as he screams at his players for missing a tackle or assignment. It's maniacal at times to watch him explode.

Grayson Grundhoefer: November 14th against Iowa State in Ames. This one was very easy for me to pick because the Cyclones are going to be one of the three best teams Baylor plays all season and it is on the road. They return a ton of talent and playing on the road in Ames in November is always tough due to the weather. Baylor has its hands full in that one.

Ashley Hodge: Pre COVID19 I would have said Iowa State because that can be a tough place to get a win, but they lose a lot of production and experience on their lines, so I’m not sure how good they will be. But with 50% of fan capacity if that plays out, I’m not sure any road game is going to be daunting this year. I’ll say Kansas State is going to be a sneaky tough game. We beat them easily at their place last year. They will want revenge. Our DL might have trouble stopping a tough run game.  That one worries me. 

Jason King: The Sept. 26 home tilt against Louisiana Tech scares me. Baylor will still be working out some kinks early in the season, and Louisiana Tech is darn good team. Skip Holtz’s squad went 10-3 last season and has averaged 8.7 wins over the last seven seasons. With a showdown at Oklahoma looming the following week, this could be a trap game.

Craig Smoak: At Iowa State. Mid-November in Ames following a three week stretch vs. TCU, at Texas and home vs. Oklahoma State. The Cyclones are expected to be squarely in the mix of Big 12 Championship contenders and will be ravenous for some revenge following the bad blood from last year’s game. This year’s schedule is no joke. 

David Smoak: At Iowa State. I’m sure the Cyclones and their fans are still annoyed they had to take a back seat to Baylor last season after that gut wrenching loss in Waco. Iowa State was down 20-0 but fought back for a  21-20 lead before losing on a Baylor field goal as time expired.from being down 20-0 to nearly winning and then losing. And hell, let’s not forget “shade gate” on the sun screen or whatever the hell people were complaining about.

Colt Barber: Kansas State. I thought about going with Iowa State here because that’s the low hanging fruit, but the Wildcats in year two with a very good coach in Chris Klieman, a returning starting quarterback in Skylar Thompson and explosive skill players, I worry about their offense against Baylor’s inexperienced defense. The good news is the game isn’t until Nov. 28 and Baylor’s defense will have a chance to settle in.


The best role player of the Scott Drew era is ___

Brian Ethridge: Ish Wainwright was the ultimate glue guy who sacrificed his scoring for doing the dirty work. It takes a strong man to accept that role after being highly-rated.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Mark Vital. Yes he is a starter but he is also the ultimate role player because of all the things he can do on the basketball court. Guard the best player, make hustle plays, get rebounds, run a fast break, find the open man with a precision pass, play help defense and bring leadership. Vital does a little bit of everything without putting up massive numbers.

Ashley Hodge: I’m partial to AJ Walton. He was roasted by a decent segment of our fanbase because his jump shot was inconsistent to say the least and he struggled to complete an alley-oop pass at times.  But he gave ferocious effort on the defensive end and he ranks in the top five in Baylor history in so many categories like turnovers and fouls committed.  Ha, I’m throwing a bone to his haters. He’s also top five in steals, wins, games played and assists (actually No. 6).  He came up big in some crucial games- Kansas in the Big 12 tourney and at Kentucky come to mind.

Jason King: My selection comes from Scott Drew’s best Baylor team, and that’s Devonte Bandoo. All sesaon long there was so much talk about Baylor’s “three great guards” in reference to Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague. But Bandoo, who came off the bench, should’ve been included in that group. The Big 12’s Sixth Man of the Year hit huge shots down the stretch in wins at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State … and he was also the hero in a home win against Texas Tech on Senior Night. Baylor’s 23-game winning streak and No. 1 national ranking would’ve have occurred without Bandoo.

Craig Smoak: Basketball really isn’t my strong suit and I don’t have a great answer for this one. My apologies. 

David Smoak: It’s hard to think of Anthony Jones as a “role” player, because I believe he started nearly 100 games during his career at Baylor. He was also a member of the winningest senior class in program history and boasts the most Big 12 wins in a career. But he was overshadowed by more star power around him and was overlooked, but not by the coaching staff or his teammates who knew his value and loved him his personality and unselfish play.


The best menu item at Whataburger besides the actual, original Whataburger is  _____

Brian Ethridge: Double meat with cheese, jalapeno and bacon. If no burger then it’s the original apple pie.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Sausage, Potato, Egg and Cheese Taquito. Nothing better than a late night run to Whataburger to get one or two of these. Absolutely addicting especially with some spicy ketchup and picante. Matter of fact, I may go get one now.

Ashley Hodge: I make it a point to avoid fast food except Chipotle which I eat once a week. But if I am going to Whataburger, I’m going for their breakfast taquitos with bacon. On a road trip or late night stop after a Baylor sporting event, I’ve been known to partake in some taquitos. 

Jason King: It’s tough to get me to abandon my go-to order: double meat Whataburger with cheese, bacon and jalapenos, with the bun toasted on both sides. But every now and then I get the patty melt, which is absolute heaven. It’s seriously one of the best things I’ve ever ordered at a fast food restaurant. And also one of the heaviest. When drive-thru attendant hands you the bag, you’ll question whether there’s a brick inside of it. Do yourself a favor and order a patty melt, but only if you’ve got nothing to do the rest of the day.

Craig Smoak: French Fries w/ Spicy Ketchup. I’m pretty simple with my tastes if you couldn’t tell by now and while their other offerings are great, it’s amazing to me how many places don’t put effort into fries anymore (looking at you McDonald’s). It’s the perfect complement to nearly every item on the menu, any time of day or night, and a large order is always a must each visit. 

David Smoak: I’ve been ordered not to even say Whataburger by my trainer. But if I accidentally sneak through a drive-thru once a year, it’s simple: Double-Meat, Double-Cheese all the way. And then I’ll be in a fetal position within an hour or two.

Colt Barber: Whataburger has so many good options, but an under-the-radar item is the chicken fajita taco. If you’re looking for something that is relatively light to what else is on the menu, this is a great option. They will add guacamole and some other extras for an additional charge to raise the stakes, but just the base is terrific. 

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

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