Baylor Bears head coach Jim Grobe announced Monday that running back Shock Linwood will be suspended for Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma Sooners, according to Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News.
“My plan is to not have Shock for OU,” Grobe said, per Nick Canizales of KCEN News. “He’s not been himself. He’s not as focus [sic] as he needs to be.”
During the Art Briles years, the passing game was an emphasis of the Bears offense. In 2016, under Grobe’s guidance, the team is sixth in rushing offense (278.5 yards per game).
Linwood is Baylor’s second-leading rusher this year with 594 yards and two touchdowns. Although the Bears still have Terence Williams (691 yards, eight TDs) available in the backfield, Linwood’s absence will be big as they look to end their two-game losing skid.
The Tulsa World‘s Eric Bailey noted how the senior has enjoyed a lot of success against the Sooners in the previous three years:
Shock Linwood had averaged 124 rushing yards per game against the #Sooners during the past three seasons. Big loss for Baylor.
— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) November 7, 2016
Should Williams and JaMycal Hasty fail to establish a consistent presence on the ground, more pressure will fall on quarterback Seth Russell, whose performance has dipped a bit in 2016 after he returned from last year’s season-ending neck surgery.
With a 3-2 record in the Big 12, Baylor’s hopes of winning a conference title aren’t completely extinguished, but a lot of things need to go right in the next month for the Bears to climb to the top of the standings. Linwood’s one-game suspension is exactly what they didn’t need at this stage of the regular season.