Big 12

Baylor linemen address ‘61-58’ presence in team photo

The numbers of Baylor seniors Jarell Broxton (61) and Spencer Drango (58) reflect the score of last year’s victory over TCU.
The numbers of Baylor seniors Jarell Broxton (61) and Spencer Drango (58) reflect the score of last year’s victory over TCU. AP

They kneeled side-by-side on the front row of Baylor’s 2015 team photo, offering a subtle reminder about the Bears’ signature football triumph from last season: a 61-58 victory over TCU in a battle between last year’s Big 12 co-champions.

The photo, taken in August, drew protests from TCU fans but was dismissed by Baylor spokesman Heath Nielsen as a “weird coincidence” that resulted from the photographer arranging similar-sized players next to one another to balance the image. Regardless of the reason they wound up on the front row, the Baylor team photo has right guard Jarell Broxton (No. 61) and left tackle Spencer Drango (No. 58) prominently displayed, within an arm’s length of coach Art Briles.

They can keep whining because we’re just going to go out there and show them that we are the better team. I’m definitely confident going into this game.

Baylor RG Jarell Broxton, on TCU fans bothered by 61-58 positioning of Bears’ offensive linemen in offical team photo

Both players are multi-year starters and postseason honors candidates, with Drango one of three finalists for the 2015 Outland Trophy. Both have heard lots of feedback about that photo and addressed the issue during Monday’s news conference in Waco to preview Friday’s game in Fort Worth between the Bears (9-1, 6-1 in Big 12) and Horned Frogs (9-2, 6-2).

“Apparently, we caused a huge scene when that picture came out,” Drango said. “It was a complete accident. I don’t think we could have planned that. To the fans, it’s a huge, big deal.”

Drango said ramifications from the photo shoot, as well as last year’s outcome between the team, would have zero impact on Friday’s result in Amon G. Carter Stadium (6:30 p.m., ESPN).

“It is a big rivalry. Both teams are going to fight as hard as they can,” Drango said.

Broxton agreed but made it clear he has heard enough about a subliminal message hidden in the Bears’ team photo.

“The whole thing about 61-58, let’s not talk about it. It’s just about Friday,” Broxton said. “Last year was last year.”

Broxton also offered a message to TCU fans who do not buy the Bears’ explanation about a “weird coincidence” on photo day.

“They can keep whining because we’re just going to go out there and show them that we are the better team,” Broxton said. “I’m definitely confident going into this game.”

Chris Johnson, the Bears' third-team QB, is expected to start against TCU and says he is adjusting to life in the lineup after a leg injury to Jarrett Stidham cleared his path to more playing time. Video by Jimmy Burch.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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