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February 25, 2011

Season in Review: Wide receivers/Tight ends

Baylor's 2010 football season was marked by some highs and lows, the end result being enough to put the Bears in their first bowl game since 1994. At one time things looked so promising, but the Bears closed things out by losing their final four games. Over the next few weeks SicEmSports.com will look back at 2010 with a position by position year in review breakdown as Spring Practices get set to begin Feb. 28. Today we take a look at wide receivers and tight ends.

The high point: Big plays in upset of Texas
Baylor's receivers faced man-to-man coverage against Texas in Austin, and that opened up the opportunity for the group to make big plays. Combined with the pin-point passing of Robert Griffin, especially in the second half, the Bears' WRs did that. Terrance Williams had the first big play, running a post and scoring on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to give the Bears a 10-9 on the Longhorns late in the first half. On Baylor's game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter, Kendall Wright had a critical third-down reception to keep a drive alive, and then he scored on another post pattern, this time a 30-yard TD reception to give the Bears a 30-19 lead. Seven different receivers caught passes in the game, including five by Wright and three each for Williams and freshman Tevin Reese.
The low point: Baylor WRs go AWOL in Texas Bowl loss
Aside from a spectacular 39-yard touchdown catch by Wright - the junior inside receiver took a jarring hit but help on to the ball - the Baylor receivers failed to come up with big plays in the team's first bowl game in 16 years. Griffin had opportunities to hit receivers down field, and either the ball was off target, or Baylor's WRs complained of losing balls in the lights of Reliant Stadium. Illinois meanwhile completed two critical deeps balls. The frustrating thing is that Griffin came out and completed his first three passes to three different receivers on the first drive of the game, but a fumble by Griffin foiled a promising drive. Baylor didn't score until Jay Finley's TD run 37 minutes into the game. Baylor ended up 313 passing yards, but most of that came late in the game.
Most memorable moment: Gordon scores on 94-yard TD play
Art Briles' Spread offense is designed to turn short passes into big plays. Sophomore Josh Gordon did just that in a record-breaking performance against Kansas at Floyd Casey Stadium. Late in the first half of Baylor's 55-7 victory over the Jayhawks, Griffin dumped a short pass into the right flate to Gordon, who avoided a diving tackle and sprinted untouched along the sideline for a school record 94-yard touchdown reception. Gordon also scored on a 39-yard TD catch on Baylor's opening drive, as Griffin hit him in stride in the end zone. Gordon had 161 receiving yards in the game, the season high for Baylor receivers. Gordon averaged 18.4 yards per catch for the season, showing flashes that he has the potential to be a big play receiver for the Bears.
What the future holds: Still the Bears' most talented position
The Bears return a ton of depth - only inside receiver Krys Buerck and tight end Brad Taylor have moved on. Wright is still the leader of the Bears' receiving corps. He has caught passes in 37 consecutive games. Wright had too many drops last season, and as good as his final numbers were - a school-record 78 catches for 952 yards -- he can get better and be more consistent. Gordon is the other receiver who should contend for all-Big 12 honors. He ended the season with 714 yards, but he had too many games where he disappeared (Colorado, Texas A&M, Oklahoma). Reese should compliment Wright well at inside receiver. Williams made some big plays. And junior Lanear Sampson had a nine-catch game against Kansas. But both should expect to get strong competition from redshirt sophomore Darius Jones, who needs to take the next step after only two catches last season. Junior Jerod Monk will start at tight end, and be challenged for playing time by transfer Jordan Najvar (Stanford).


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