Antwan Goodley called it money. Art Briles called it astonishing. Bryce Petty called it a palace.
Baylor will just call it McLane Stadium.
But the Bears’ new $260 million football home was the subject of many superlatives Monday during post-practice interviews before the school hosted its final tour of the almost-finished product.
Baylor plays SMU on Aug. 31 in the new stadium, which is nearly finished except for a few cosmetic touch-ups. Aledo will play Cedar Park two days earlier in the stadium’s first official game.
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Baylor players got their first look inside the stadium Saturday during a scrimmage. They walked from the practice facility to the south entrance of the stadium, traveling across the Brazos River on the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Bridge to simulate their pregame routine.
Then it was onto the field, which is bordered by three levels of seats in a horseshoe design. The south end zone is edged by a grass berm leading up to the stadium video board.
Construction crews consisted of as many as 850 workers per day during the nearly two-year project. Ground was broken in September 2012.
“That’s a lot of money right there,” said Goodley, a senior receiver. “I’m glad to have it on campus now. We’re just ready to get in there Aug. 31. It’s a relief. We’ve been waiting on this for a long time.”
Briles said he wants his players to soak in as much of the stadium as possible. They’ll practice in it again Friday.
“The reality is much grander, much better and just more magnificent,” coach Briles said. “It’s an unbelievable facility, and we have to protect it. I told [the players] in our meeting before, ‘You know, take your phones, make it a history moment for you.’ ”
The stadium sits across from the Bears’ practice field and has sprung up in plain sight just east of Interstate 35. But the fine details of the stadium, including a spacious home locker room, a pregame lounge at field level for recruits and the feel of the freshly installed turf were new to players on Saturday.
“I think a lot of people, even for Coach, it’s like Christmas, really,” senior quarterback Petty said. “You get to see it every day, but you don’t really know the details of it. You see presents, but you don’t really see what’s in there.”
Baylor also announced Monday a new in-game mobile app that will include multi-angle replays, live stats and traffic and weather reports.
Available for download at the Apple Store or Google Play, the app was developed by YinzCam and Extreme Networks and will allow fans connected to the McLane Stadium Wi-Fi network to review plays from an angle of their choice.