Dave Aranda has the Baylor Bears back in the Top 25.
Like Oklahoma State, Baylor has started the 2021 season 4-0. The Bears debuted in the AP Poll at No. 21 this week, two spots behind the Cowboys as the teams prep to meet in Boone Pickens Stadium. Aranda met with the media Monday. Here are three things he said about the matchup with Oklahoma State.
1. Aranda Is a Big Jim Knowles Guy
Dave Aranda is a defense guy, having served as a defensive coordinator at LSU and Wisconsin before landing his first head coaching gig in Waco.
Given his history on that side of the ball, Aranda said he appreciates what Jim Knowles has done with the Cowboys’ defense since getting to Stillwater in 2018.
“They play fast,” Aranda said Monday. “They have a lot of guys at the line of scrimmage. Their defensive coordinator, I’ve met with him quite a bit and have a lot of respect for him. I like the way he breaks things down and he thinks about stuff. He is a deep-thinker when it comes to football and all of it. Good dude. He’s one of the guys in the profession I’m always rooting for. I respect him greatly.”
Aranda said he expects his quarterback, Gerry Bohanon, will be under more pressure this week than he was last week against Iowa State. Aranda also said with the amount of man coverage OSU plays, this game will have a near total opposite feel as the defense the Cyclones played against the Bears.
2. Sanders Growing in Confidence
OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders played his best game of the young season last weekend against Kansas State.
Sanders completed 65% of his passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for another score. It feels more and more like OSU is changing with the times and becoming a more defensive-minded team, but Aranda said OSU is one of the few remaining Big 12 teams willing to take some risks offensively, and that starts with Sanders.
“It’s a growing confidence with him,” Aranda said. “Right away you can see his legs and his ability to create. He gets into red zone and critical, must-have areas and now all of a sudden his zone read or a running back run becomes a quarterback keep. They save the best for last in terms of the closer they get. Then a lot of his receivers are getting back.
“They are a team if they see, and you can go to our game last year as evidence of this, if they see a one-on-one outside, they’re gonna take it. There’s less and less teams in our league that are inclined to do that. I think this league used to be full of teams like that. I think Oklahoma State’s one of the remaining few that think that way and take advantage of it. We’re anticipating that.”
3. Warren Wearing ‘Turbo Pack’
Jaylen Warren has been called everything from a “speedy bowling ball” to a video game character.
Warren has ran for 341 yards in the past two weeks, and Aranda gave a new illustration of what watching Warren is like.
“Physical, explosive, it’s like he’s got a turbo pack on back there when he gets the ball,” Aranda said. “He jumps off the screen. He has been the difference in their offense, really.”
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