Former Stephenville two-way star settles in at linebacker for Baylor

Posted Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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As an impact players at defensive back and running back for Stephenville, Aiavion Edwards rarely rested.

Not much has changed for Edwards, now a linebacker at Baylor. The Bears offense can score so fast, Edwards and his defensive teammates seldom put down their helmets.

It’s a good problem to have.

“Our offense is full of really good guys,” said Edwards, who gets to face those talented players each day in practice. “They are one of the better offenses in the country. We have to go over coverages with what little time we have on the sideline. You never know when you will have to go back out there. You have to stay ready.”

Edwards, who sat out last season and is now a redshirt freshman, has added more than 20 pounds of muscle to transition to defensive back to linebacker.

“Coming from the defensive back position helped a lot,” Edwards said. “I have that experience of playing out there. The transition really wasn’t that bad. The speed of the game is a lot faster in college, so you just have to adjust to the level of play.”

Even though he doesn’t touch the ball as much as he did at Stephenville, Edwards is still an impact player for Baylor coach Art Briles, who once led the Yellow Jackets as well. Edwards has played in all seven of Baylor’s games, recording 14 total tackles, 11 solo, with one and a half sacks.

“I’m thankful to get the opportunity to play and contribute to the team any way I can,” Edwards said.

Baylor has been building momentum all season. The Bears have scored an average of 63.9 points a game with four games at 70 points or more to lead the nation. Edwards and Baylor’s defense are also playing well, allowing just 15.9 points a game, good for sixth in the country. Baylor debuted at No. 8 in the BCS rankings and moved up to No. 6 after a win against Kansas last week.

“This has been a great experience here at Baylor, and I’m glad to be here and be a part of it,” Edwards said. “The intensity level goes up each and every week. I knew this was possible. Coach Briles always told us his vision. It’s grown over the past few years, and now it’s a reality.”

The Bears are off this week but will play No. 10 Oklahoma on Nov. 7, Baylor’s biggest game of the season so far. Then the Bears will finish with No. 15 Texas Tech, No. 18 Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas.

“We have a little break, but we have to get ready to hit the last few weeks hard,” Edwards said. “Everybody on campus is excited.”

Games of the week

No. 21 Michigan at No. 22 Michigan State (2:30 p.m. Saturday, WFAA/8): Rivalry games are always fun. Especially when much is on the line. That’s the case for both Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) and Michigan State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) Saturday. The Wolverines barely avoided upsets against Akron and Connecticut earlier in the season before losing to Penn State in fourth overtimes two weeks ago. Michigan State, whose lone loss came to Notre Dame, are trying to stay undefeated in conference play.

No. 11 Auburn at Arkansas (5 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2): Auburn (7-1, 3-1 SEC) is still riding high after knocking off Texas A&M on the road two weeks ago. The Tigers returned home last week, beating FAU 45-10. But now they will have to avoid a potential upset on the road at Arkansas (3-5, 0-4 SEC), a team that has played better than its conference record indicates. The Razorbacks have had a week off after losing 52-0 against Alabama and will fight to keep from being embarrassed again.

No. 7 Miami at No. 3 Florida State (7 p.m. Saturday, WFAA/8): If Florida State (7-0, 5-0 ACC) is to play in the BCS National Championship game, beating the Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 ACC) is a must. But with a win, Miami should vault into the top three and fight Oregon for the No. 2 spot behind Alabama. Miami leads Florida State in the schools’ all-time series, 31-26, but the Seminoles have won three straight. This game, with a night crowd in Tallahassee, Fla., should bring high drama.

Nevada at No. 16 Fresno State (9:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU): Fresno State (7-0, 4-0 MWC) hopes to become this year’s BCS buster. The Bulldogs avoided an upset last week with a 35-28 win against San Diego State in overtime. Nevada (3-5, 2-3 MWC) lost to Fresno State last year but had beaten the Bulldogs three years in a row 2008-11.

Numbers

9 Times Miami and Florida State have met carrying perfect records (excluding season openers). This is the first such meeting since 2003, and the teams’ combined 14 wins are the second most in those games. The highest, 18 combined wins, came in 1991, when Miami won and went on to win the national championships.

15 Florida State players who have scored touchdowns the season, including three defensive players. The Seminoles offense is scoring 52.6 points a game, third in the nation.

Quoteable

“I’m probably an advocate; let’s don’t even make a poll. Wouldn’t sell any preseason magazines, though.” — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who went on to say he thinks rankings shouldn’t come out until halfway through the season. Florida State and Oregon have been battling for the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings.

“Well, we don’t necessarily like them either. This isn’t an admiration society.” — Michigan coach Brady Hoke when asked about Michigan State openly disliking the rival Wolverines.

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