Notes from the Opponent – Baylor

Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter

The Daily Texan spoke with Michael Haag, the sports editor of the Baylor Lariat, in preparation for Texas’ regular season finale against the Bears.   


Daily Texan: What would you say has been Baylor’s biggest obstacle this season?

Michael Haag: Baylor is trying to play up to the standard of last season. It was obviously picked by the media to repeat as Big 12 Champions, so there was a lot of hype around it. Another thing is its road schedule. This year, Baylor’s just had it really rough. Last year was a lot more favorable in that regard.   


DT: What’s the current mentality surrounding Baylor football from a student perspective?

MH: There’s still excitement but definitely a lot of disappointment. People were spoiled after last year. The fan base was really spoiled. So people expected a lot, and when the team came out with their own version of a blackout game against Kansas State, it was sold out. And then for the team to lay an egg like that, there’s a lot of heartbreak and sadness among the fans. There’s still a small chance they could make it back to Arlington, but I think for most people that’s kind of out the window.   


DT: How has David Aranda been performing as head coach? 

MH: He hasn’t necessarily shifted his approach, but last year he benefited from a lot of veteran guys that were really buying into what he was preaching. He’ll speak in a metaphorical way, and a lot of those older guys, who have been under him since 2020, are starting to understand what he’s saying. Another thing is that he hasn’t really been able to grasp this team and unify them. He’s talked about some maturity issues among the younger guys and complacency issues among the older guys.  


DT: Do you have any predictions for the Texas game or is there anything that you’re particularly looking forward to?

MH: With the way Deuce Vaughn ripped Baylor’s defense to shreds at home and the fact that there seemed to be no emphasis to stop him. If you’re going to let the studs kill you, then they will kill you. I mean, Bijan Robinson is almost at 1,300 yards on the season, so he’s fully capable of doing that. I know Baylor has had a good run defense among the Big 12 teams for the season, but you have to key in on those guys. 


DT: What do you think will be some key strengths that Baylor brings to the table?

MH: Just from watching Baylor all season, it will try to run the ball a million times. It still has that beefy offensive line from last year that was graded really high and was a huge part of their success. Definitely expect Craig “Sqwirl” Williams and Richard Reese to be getting a lot of carries. If Texas can fill in those run lanes and keep Reese and Williams from getting those four to five yards on early downs, I think it’ll be fine.