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Shapen at starting quarterback makes sense for direction Aranda, Baylor want to go

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Dave Aranda

Baylor head football coach Dave Aranda

The Big 12 Media Day crew gives a recap on day one, giving their biggest takeaway and something they found interesting.

ARLINGTON, Texas — While diving into his latest read, “Four Pivots” by Shawn Ginwright, Baylor coach Dave Aranda realized in order to make his team even better, he had to follow a key theme of the book.

The novel talks about the importance of changing a person’s mindset from looking at others through a lens, to looking at oneself in the mirror — and that’s exactly what Aranda did.

After a second season at the helm in Waco in which Aranda took the once two win team to a Big 12 conference championship and Sugar Bowl victory, he had a decision to make; start the veteran quarterback Gerry Bohanon, or the young gunslinger Blake Shapen.

Bohanon suffered a hamstring injury in a win against Kansas State late last season, and was sidelined until the Sugar Bowl, allowing Shapen to take the starting job and lead the Bears to the Big 12 championship game victory. Bohanon returned to play in the Sugar Bowl, but completed less than half his passes; the fourth time he threw had a completion percentage lower than 60% that season.

The quarterback battle followed into Baylor’s spring game, until Aranda named Shapen the starter, a tough choice for Aranda, who says he typically chooses the culture fit over the better player, but knew it would be best for the team.

“I always look at people before I look at players,” Aranda said. “I think in this (decision) we had to look at who could be the better player for us and not really incorporate the person, which is just kind of the opposite of what I usually do. So it just became a very difficult thing.”

“I've got pictures of my kids posing next to Gerry, it's just kind of a crazy thing. So it was very difficult to do.”