You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Spring football: New Baylor coach ready to finally get on field


Highlights

‘I’m unbelievably excited. I’m anxious to see what some of these guys can do,’ Ruhle says.

The Bears will start spring football workouts Saturday.

Matt Rhule has been in perpetual motion since becoming Baylor’s coach more than three months ago.

Now, Rhule finally gets to coach football when the Bears open spring practice Saturday.

“I’m unbelievably excited,” Rhule said this week in his office as workers prepared the practice field outside the window. “I’m anxious to see what some of these guys can do. … I haven’t seen a quarterback throw a ball yet. We haven’t done any technique stuff.”

Rhule took over a program reeling from the sexual assault scandal that cost two-time Big 12 champion coach Art Briles his job last May.

The world’s largest Baptist university is facing several federal lawsuits from women who say the school for years ignored or mishandled reports of sexual and physical assault, some against football players. Baylor officials have said an internal investigation found at least 17 women who reported being sexually assaulted by 19 football players in recent years, although one lawsuit puts the number of victims much higher.

“You have to move forward while acknowledging the past and acknowledging what’s happened. And the best way to acknowledge it is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” Rhule said. “While you’d love for just kind of a new chapter to begin, that’s not the reality.”

Knowing that what happened in the past will continue to be talked about, Rhule still tries to put his head down and be concerned about today — the way he approaches football and life. He said the program’s reaction to anything that happens in the future “is going to be honest and full of integrity, and it’s going to be done the right way.”

Defensive back Travon Blanchard, a returning senior, is suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities after the school was notified that a court granted a woman’s request for a protective order against him. The woman, with whom he had a relationship, accused him of multiple acts of violence and threats against her, according to court records.

Two operational staff members brought to Baylor by Rhule have already been dismissed.

An assistant strength and conditioning coach was fired after being arrested in a prostitution sting last month. An associate director of football operations lost his job this week for sending inappropriate text messages to a teenager, though the person is considered an adult under Texas statute.

“There’s a standard we’ve set, and if you don’t meet that standard, action will be taken,” Rhule said. “I recognize the scrutiny our program is under. I knew that when I came in. That scrutiny doesn’t guide our decisions. We will hold our students and our staff to the highest standards of conduct.”

When Rhule took the job Dec. 6, he had to immediately start recruiting. Baylor had only one firm commitment then, but on Feb. 1 had a solid and balanced 27-player signing class that ranked in the upper half of the Big 12.

Rhule also put together a coaching staff. He didn’t keep any of the assistants from Briles’ staff who had been retained last season to work with interim coach Jim Grobe.

Six of Baylor’s new assistants were with Rhule at Temple, which was the AAC champion with its second consecutive 10-win season. Two others came from NFL staffs.

Baylor goes into the spring with a full allotment of 85 scholarship players on a roster nearing 100 players. They were all split into smaller groups this week for a series of team bonding challenges, like others throughout the offseason.

“I said when I got the job, I believed that this is where I was supposed to be. … I didn’t say that I believed that it was going to be easy,” Rhule said. “I have enjoyed every moment being here, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know these players, and I really believe that there’s going to be really a lot of success ahead.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Westlake closes with a rush to grab Class 6A tournament lead
Westlake closes with a rush to grab Class 6A tournament lead

As he approached the 16th tee box during the opening round of the Class 6A boys state tournament, Westlake junior golfer Reid Davenport had a quiet conversation with his team’s coach, Callan Nokes, just before he pulled an iron out of his bag for the par-3 hole. Nokes, mincing no words, implored Davenport to step up and help the Chaparrals break...
Cedar Park’s Dunne shares first-round lead at Class 5A state tournament
Cedar Park’s Dunne shares first-round lead at Class 5A state tournament

Cedar Park golfer Ben Dunne responded to the worst round of his high school career with a day to remember. A junior, Dunne tamed Wolfdancer Golf Club with a 2-under-par 70 Monday in the opening round of the Class 5A boys state tournament. Dunne and Scott Roden of Highland Park will be tied for first place entering the final round of the tournament...
Golden’s nuggets: Kudos to coming back to finish your college degree
Golden’s nuggets: Kudos to coming back to finish your college degree

Kudos to several Texas exes who earned their college degrees over the weekend. I’ve always believed it’s much more difficult to return to school a decade-plus later after a career and maintain the discipline needed to earn that degree. It was nice to see former basketball coach Rick Barnes and his All-American point guard T.J. Ford share...
Bohls: Remember sacrifice bunts? Texas baseball has shifted away from small-ball
Bohls: Remember sacrifice bunts? Texas baseball has shifted away from small-ball

The Texas baseball team may rank last in the Big 12 in batting average, but it ranks first in double takes. That’s as in hitters, staring down at signals delivered from the third base coaching box and incredulously giving a second glance in disbelief. Earlier this season, Kacy Clemens came to bat with a man on first and all but expected the sign...
Spring update: Predicting where the top 10 2018 players in the Fabulous 55 sign
Spring update: Predicting where the top 10 2018 players in the Fabulous 55 sign

With spring evaluation period ending at the end of May, the recruiting picture around the state is starting to focus. Here are early predictions of where the state’s top 10 players from this year’s Fabulous 55 end up come national signing day. The only committed player on this list – Caden Sterns – flipped his commitment from...
More Stories