Last season, with the Bears 3-1 after beating three teams that went on to play in bowls, rookie coach Chuck Reedy was feeling cocky: "I thought this head-coaching stuff was easy. So one day on my way to work, I prayed to the Lord to help me be humble." Within days the Bears were humbled 24-3 by lowly Houston. They then crumpled in the face of every foe but SMU and Rice. "This year I won't be asking for divine intervention," says Reedy.
He has taken matters into his own mortal hands. He reeled in his second banner recruiting class and replaced defensive coordinator Pete Fredenburg with secondary coach Bob Cope. With all 11 defensive starters back, Cope has retooled Baylor's traditional 4-3 into a 3-4, which will highlight 6'1", 298-pound senior noseguard Steve Strahan and a line Cope calls "gangrene—like a disease you can't get rid of."
Reedy has changed plenty; he even demanded a darker shade of green for home uniforms. He also has the team thinking the Cotton Bowl is in sight after a 13-year absence, inspiring 73 players to hang around Waco for voluntary summer workouts.
The quest could be foiled by a weakness at quarterback. J.J. Joe has graduated, and the likely replacement, sophomore Lamont Moore, is fleet of foot but weak of wing. There are high hopes, though, for freshman Jeff Watson, and if he or Moore can get the ball to junior tailback Brandell Jackson—who led Baylor in all-purpose yardage last year with a 122.5-yard average—the offense will click. And if the offense scores, the defense will do the rest. Leave it to Gang Green.