WACO-With temperatures soaring into the 100s, Art Briles and the Baylor football team held its first practice of fall camp Friday. As the estimated high hovered around 101 degrees at the start of practice, the Bears sported jersey tops and shorts (sans pads) and spent the first 60 minutes outside on the Highers Practice Fields.
The final 60 minutes of practice were spent in the air-conditioned Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Practice Facility. Officially, 102 players reported Thursday for fall camp. Briles said Friday he was ready to get back on the field and build off last season's 10-3 campaign.
"I think that there are a lot of question marks surrounding our program right now, and the only way that you can turn them into exclamation points is to go out there and prove it on the field," Briles said. "We're still trying to earn respect and belief."
Briles and staff will take on that challenge with 50 returning lettermen and 14 returning starters (eight on defense, six on offense, plus both specialists), including All-America candidate and wide receiver Terrance Williams.
"We've got a lot of experience with returning guys," Williams said. "We're just ready to build off of last year."
In addition to the media members and fans who attended the first practice, former Baylor letterwinners in attendance were Dominique Zeigler and Derek Epperson. Zeigler, a four-year member of the San Francisco 49ers, is back at Baylor finishing up his undergraduate degree. Epperson, a three-time All-Big 12 selection and honorable mention All-America punter, ranks third all-time in punting yards (9,574) and second at BU with 49 career punts of 50-plus yards
Baylor enters the 2012 season riding the nation's third-longest active winning streak at six games. The Bears open the season by hosting SMU for a 5:30 p.m. game on Sunday, Sept. 2, in a game that will be televised live nationally on FSN. Season tickets can be purchased by visiting www.BaylorBears.com/tickets, and single-game tickets go on sale Aug. 8.
The Bears are scheduled to hit the practice field Saturday at 9:30 a.m., Sunday at 12:50 p.m. and again Monday at 2:50 p.m. On Saturday afternoon, Baylor players and coaches will take new headshots and team photo during their annual Photo Day.