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

June 16, 2020

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 football player who is going to surprise everyone this season is ____

Colt Barber: Mark Milton. I don’t expect him to go out and start this year at corner, but I do believe he will emerge as a serious No. 3 option as the season progresses. 

Brian Ethridge: Johncarlo Valentin. He sort of disappeared in the redshirt year and the move to guard is new in some ways, but he's got the talent and the time is clicking.

Grayson Grundhoefer: JT Woods. Every time I look on the board it seems like Woods is viewed as a total question mark on the defense. While I think there is plenty for him to prove, I think he is just scratching the surface of what he could be. I think the rangey safety takes a big step forward during his junior year and the turnovers he forces everyday in practice will finally translate to the game.

Ashley Hodge: I’ll cop out and pick one on offense and one on defense. Offensively, I think Yusuf Terry is going to have a big impact.  I know Grayson will pick him also! Defensively, I am going with Matt Jones. I’ve consistently heard he’s the real deal and there is opportunity at linebacker. Jalen Pitre is another forgotten guy since he redshirted to keep an eye on.

Jason King: Qualan Jones. I mean, everyone knows Jones is good. But I think he’s special. I won’t be surprised if the 5-foot-11, 230-pounder leads the Bears in rushing as a redshirt freshman.

Craig Smoak: Rob Saulin. He’s one of the most versatile players on the roster and one of the most experienced now entering his junior year. With a lot of production on the DL needing to be replaced, he has the potential and opportunity to get a lot more recognition this season. 

David Smoak: Josh Fleeks. I believe he’s dripping with talent and big-play potential. Larry Fedora will get him a lot of touches and he should make some big plays for Baylor on offense and even special teams.


One play-call in football that I hate and always makes me cringe is ___

Colt Barber: Any deep zone coverage on 3rd-and-long defensively. Maybe it’s just the PTSD kicking in, but offenses taking the check down and letting a receiver get a full head of steam for 10 yards before anyone attempts to make the tackle is the worst. Even in the situations where the first down isn’t made, the 15-yard gain on 3rd-and-16 is brutal.

Brian Ethridge: I hate the quarterback sneak. It always makes me cringe. Getting crushed up in the pile with defensive linemen attempting to rip the ball away is painful. Having your own offensive linemen then continue pushing the mass of humanity is surprisingly less injury prone than other plays. I just cringe thinking of a quarterback missing the season when a simple dive would work.

Grayson Grundhoefer: HB Draw. Teams use this play all the time as a safe option on 3rd down with the hopes of catching the defense napping, it almost never goes for a first down. I understand running it in that situation but any other time it is ran I cringe. Plus it is also the most worthless play in the NCAA Football video game.

Ashley Hodge: Slow-developing play action on obvious passing downs. I know football is often about living to fight another day. But it is a pet peeve of mine when teams run on 3rd-and-3 in an obvious running formation and when they run slow-developing passing plays on obvious passing downs. Might as well quick kick instead. 

Jason King: The fade pass in the corner of the end zone. It’s just took high-risk of a play to run when you’re that close to the goal line. Everything—the route, the throw, the timing, the touch—has to go perfect for it to be executed. Otherwise it’s just a jump ball that has a great chance to be intercepted.

Craig Smoak: Fade into the endzone. It’s a low percentage play more often than not and can be a real momentum killer. QB can be hit or miss with their touch on those throws and even great WR have their abilities decreased a little in those skirmishes. 

David Smoak: I never liked the quick screen to the wide receiver, although I believe that’s how Josh Gordon went 90-or-so yards against Kansas in 2010. Of course, I was in ICU at Hillcrest Hospital watching that game and was so doped up battling double-pneumonia maybe I just dreamed that one up? Oh wait, that really did happen. 


If I could take any basketball player from Baylor’s “down years” and put him on this season’s team, I would pick ___

Colt Barber: This team is going to be in search of a shot blocker which leads me to Brian Skinner. I’m sure that will be a pretty standard pick accross the board here but an enforcer in the paint is nice to have. One that can block shots as well? Bonus. 

Brian Ethridge:  I would pick Herb Baker. He was a man in the paint and unfortunately was dismissed when he beat someone up at an off campus party or something of that manner, allegedly.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Lawrence Roberts. Baylor went 28-30 over his two years (2001-2003) and did not make postseason play either year. The 6’9, 240-pounder averaged 16 points and nine rebounds overs his two seasons at Baylor before heading to Mississippi State where he earned consensus All-American honors. He would give this years team a premier scorer and rebounder at the center or power forward position.

Ashley Hodge: Assuming Butler and Teague return, Brian Skinner is going to be the choice. The guy averaged 17 ppg; 9 reb and 3.4 blocks at Baylor and drew $25 million in NBA checks. We don’t know if Tristan Clark will be back to his sophomore form, so a productive big would be the low-hanging fruit answer. But I wonder if Terrance Thomas would be the better fit.  He has a lot of Royce O’Neale in his game for those that don’t remember him or were too young when he played for Baylor. And he’s a very vocal leader/positive energy guy. I think he would be a great fit on this squad. 

Jason King: The easy choice here is Brian Skinner, or as former Baylor coach Harry Miller liked to call him, Brian “Maaaannnskinner.” One of the best shot-blockers in Baylor history, Skinner would give the 2020-21 Bears the dominant inside presence they may be missing if Tristan Clark doesn’t return to form. Skinner was an incredible athlete who earned millions in the NBA. He was also my study partner in French 101 at Baylor. Great dude. So yeah, I”m biased.

Craig Smoak: Terry Black. They’re knocking on the door already, so I’d add an extra dose of toughness, big dunks, defense, steady shooting and leadership. I think his style would mesh well and bring an extra element to this team. 

David Smoak: David Wesley. He was first-team All-Southwest Conference in 1992 and SWC Player of the Year under Darrell Johnson. You can always use a point guard and he was very good! The former Longview Lobo star could shoot, score, hit free throws, create turnovers with steals and handle the rock.


One college sportswriter whose material I enjoy reading is ____

Colt Barber: I don’t associate names with content often. That might sound strange, but I follow writers for their breaking news info and read a story for the story rather than read a story for a writer. 

Brian Ethridge: Kendall Rogers. He does a great job covering college baseball and since he likely owes me beers at some point, I'll go with him 

Grayson Grundhoefer: Jake Trotter and Max Olson while they were on ESPN. I would read their articles every single day when they worked as a dynamic duo covering the Big 12 on ESPN. They provided great content and just worked well together. ESPN made a huge mistake breaking these two up and the Big 12 conference writing has never been the same since.

Ashley Hodge: I’m sure that Baylor nation will agree that there is no one better than Mac Engel!  I really don’t read sports columns unless they have a Baylor angle. But I listen to a lot of podcasts and I do read sports books. The best national basketball podcast is Norlander and Parrish’s “Eye on College Basketball” in my view. They have good chemistry and do a good job keeping the content mostly basketball centric. I just read a book called the “Cost of These Dreams” by Scott Wright Thompson that I thought was pretty good. “Sole Influence’ by Dan Wetzel and “Playing Their Hearts Out” by George Dohrmann are two good books on the AAU scene. 

Jason King: Dan Wetzel, my former colleague at Yahoo! Sports. He writes great columns on everything from football to UFC to women’s soccer. His feature stories are great and he breaks news. I think Wetzel is the best all-around sports journalist in the country.

Craig Smoak: Spencer Hall. The late site EDSBS, and in particular Hall’s writing, helped further ignite my passion for CFB years ago. I never got into Banner Society, but Hall/EDSBS made me care about storylines, rivalries, towns, and the sport, on a deeper, more enjoyable level as a fan. 

David Smoak: Bruce Feldman. I’ve just always enjoyed his work and he’s done some tremendous features and written some books, too.


The one wildly popular movie I’ve inexcusably never seen—and yet everyone else has seen—is ____

Colt Barber: The one that I’ve always had intentions of watching and never have is Animal House. It’s 21 years before my time, but is on the list as a must watch by most everyone who has seen it. I have seen bits and pieces, but timing has never been right. 

Brian Ethridge: “Black Panther.” I’m just not into Marvel, but my four-year-old is working his way through them all, which means I'll see it at least 100 times in the future.

Grayson Grundhoefer: The Breakfast Club. I know this movie is an absolute classic and my fiancé has been trying to get me to watch it for year now but it just hasn’t happened yet.

Ashley Hodge: I am not a fan of musicals. Now I did love “Little Shop of Horrors” so I make an exception for musicals that have some comedic genius. But if it is a musical, I have probably not watched it. “Sound of Music,” “Chicago,” “Wizard of Oz,” etc. And I don’t feel like my life is incomplete for having missed them. 

Jason King: I haven’t seen any of “The Godfather” movies. And trust me, I’m not happy about this. I love Al Pacino. I love crime dramas and mob flicks. But for some reason I’ve just never sat down and watched any of them. It’s tough to find a three-hour window to watch anything these days, but I’ll squeeze it in soon. Honorable mention: “Alien” and “Wolf of Wall Street.”

Craig Smoak: Avatar. Even though I love a good fantasy adventure film, this movie just never registered with me. Too much CGI and hype, perhaps. I never felt the pull to see it in theaters, despite all the IMAX reactions, and if it comes across my TV I’m flipping channels in less than two minutes, guaranteed. 

David Smoak: “Stars Wars.” I haven’t seen any of them. It just never piqued my interest and I’ve never wanted to watch any of them. If I see a “Star Wars” movie show up on a channel, I don’t even blink. I turn the channel and move on. Although … I was a huge “Lost in Space” fan when I was a kid: “Danger, Will Robinson!!!”

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

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