My request to interview a writer from Our Daily Bears, SB Nation's Baylor blog, started out innocently enough on Twitter.
I sent a Tweet to a few writers and immediately received a reply from site manager "mattisbear" that consisted simply of a gif of Russell Westbrook reacting in disgust.
I wasn't entirely sure how to process the response, but I don't think it was a "yes."
Thankfully, fellow Our Daily Bears site manager Kendall Kaut was kind enough to agree to answer a few questions about this Baylor team, and share his outlook on Saturday's game.
Kendall provided excellent insight on this improving young Bears unit, including their messy quarterback situation and less than optimal offensive line (sound familiar?)
He notably predicted that the Bears will win this weekend, which is honestly not that bold considering Texas may be without quarterback Sam Ehlinger and center Zach Shackelford.
Below is our conversation:
BON: Baylor doesn't have a win yet, but the Bears nearly upset West Virginia last weekend in a 38-36 loss. What does Baylor have to do to get over the hump and how could that happen Saturday against Texas?
Kendall: The Bears need some luck on the turnover front--that's not too say they're losing because they're unlucky--it's to say they need to get a little lucky to win. Baylor needs to find ways to avoid giving up big plays as well.
Is this Baylor team getting better every week? How so?
Generally, yes. Oklahoma State crushed Baylor, so the Bears didn't show much improvement in that game. But with a 23-0 run against WVU to end the game, leading Oklahoma in the second half and pulling close against KSU, the Bears have moments where they look pretty decent.
There's currently a quarterback battle going on between Zach Smith and Charlie Brewer. Though Smith has been named the starter, who do you think gives Baylor the best chance to win and is it possible Texas will face multiple Baylor QBs on Saturday?
Texas will very likely see both quarterbacks on Saturday. The usual refrain "if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one," is usually true. But Smith and Brewer present different options. I think Brewer will be more successful against Texas, especially with the problems with Baylor's offensive line. Brewer is mobile. Smith has a better arm. The line has been terrible and made it tough to develop deep routes.
Baylor has found some success running the ball recently. What has been the key to pounding the ball on the ground?
Baylor's had a few big plays running it, but also some pretty mediocre to terrible stretches on the ground. Baylor's offensive line is not good. The 2015 Bears did not expect anyone currently starting, with the exception of Mo Porter, to be a starter on this unit. John Lovett has broken out, Terence Williams is still good and Hasty is shifty. But all three have been injured.
Baylor is currently 125th in total defense, but the Texas offense has been anemic to stay the least and may be without Sam Ehlinger. Who wins out in a battle of a subpar defense versus a subpar offense?
I would guess Baylor will dare Ehlinger or Buechele to beat them deep. Mason Rudolph could with ease. I'm not sure either of Texas' QBs will though.
What makes this match-up with Texas favorable for Baylor, and conversely, what concerns you the most about this game?
Baylor is helped by Texas struggling to score. I am still shocked Devin Duvernay is not getting more snaps. Texas is helped by Baylor's weak offensive line. The Longhorns should be in the backfield a lot.
Is Matt Rhule the guy? How has he instilled a positive culture change for the football program?
I think he's the guy. It's fair to think he might fail. But the roster had a ton of turnover and is decimated by injuries. The roster turnover is a way bigger issue than the injuries, but this roster is not very good. He's instilled a very positive change. The Bears are handling things well. He's an awesome guy.
What's your score prediction for Saturday?
Baylor wins 17-14. I've predicted a Baylor loss in every Big 12 game so far, and I have the Bears finishing the season 2-10. I think Texas will make a couple of costly mistakes and Brewer will break off a play or two. Texas has the better team most days. Baylor has the better team Saturday.