Opponents to watch: Brewers, Bernard lead way for Bears

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Baylor Athletics | Daily Texan Staff

Baylor’s 2020 season has been characterized by disorder. The Bears are sitting at 1–1 having played the lowest total number of games in the Big 12. That figure is thanks to the cancellation of their lone nonconference matchup and the postponement of their Oklahoma State game, both due to COVID-19 concerns. It has been hard for new head coach Dave Aranda and the college football world to gauge the potential of a team that finished second in the Big 12 last season, but the Bears still have a few key contributors from their 2019 team.

Here are four Bears to watch for Saturday:

No. 5 Charlie Brewer — Quarterback

The Texas game always adds a little extra motivation for Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer. A former All-State quarterback for Austin powerhouse Lake Travis High School, Brewer did not receive a scholarship offer from the University of Texas despite having a grandfather, uncle and father who played for the school. The gunslinger is a four-year starter with 32 career starts, and the media has described him as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12 since he suited up as a true freshman in 2017. In Baylor’s first two games this season, Brewer has put up pedestrian numbers by his standards, throwing for 371 total yards and a 4-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. But he will have a chance to put up an impressive statline Saturday against a Texas defense that ranks 40th in the nation in total defense.

No. 0 R.J. Sneed — Wide receiver

Baylor needed a relatively unproven prospect to fill the massive hole left by 2020 second-round NFL Draft pick Denzel Mims, and the Bears might have found that person in junior R.J. Sneed. Through two games, the Cypress, Texas, product is leading the Bears in catches at 11 and receiving yards with 99. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver is turning into Brewer’s go-to target after flying under the radar in his first three seasons behind Mims. On Saturday, Sneed will have a chance for a big game as he goes up against a Texas secondary that is giving up 253.25 receiving yards a game. Look for the Longhorns to try to minimize Sneed by putting their best cornerback on him.

 

No. 2 Terrel Bernard — Linebacker

You often won’t see a ball carrier picking themself off the turf without Terrel Bernard being in on the play. A junior out of La Porte, Texas, Bernard is currently leading the Bears defense in tackles at 21, sacks at 2.5 and interceptions with one. Bernard is building off a breakout sophomore season in 2019 in which he compiled 112 total tackles. The 6-foot-1, 222-pound linebacker makes up for his average frame with an unmatched nose for the football. The Longhorns will need to dedicate at least one blocker to Bernard on every play if they plan on improving a rushing attack that has stalled in recent weeks. Look for Bernard to make a big impact Saturday, both as a run stuffer and dropping into pass coverage.

No. 3 Raleigh Texada — Cornerback

A redshirt senior out of Frisco, Texas, Raleigh Texada is a third-year starter and a huge factor in Baylor’s three-year turnaround from 1–11 in 2017 to 11–3 in 2019. The 5-foot-10, 188-pound cornerback gives up some size compared to most Big 12 receivers, but he makes up for it with sound technique. A preseason All-Big 12 second team pick, Texada has been quiet on the stat sheet with only six tackles so far, but this can be attributed to the lack of targets that opposing quarterbacks have sent his way. Texada also has yet to give up a touchdown in coverage this season. Look for Texada to be matched up on an island with bigger Texas receivers such as senior Tarik Black and junior Brennan Eagles. The game could be decided on whether Texada has the technique to keep these weapons out of the end zone.