Baylor suffers big loss days before opener

Baylor senior defensive tackle Kaeron Johnson will miss the 2012 season and will undergo back surgery later this week, according to a report in the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound Cuero, Texas native, got his only start of 2011 against Oklahoma and recorded two tackles, but was expected to start full-time in 2012. Johnson, a fifth-year player, isn't expected to apply for an NCAA medical hardship to receive a sixth year.

"It's very unfortunate because Kaeron had a great spring and summer," Briles said, according to the paper. "But he's had those back issues that we've been trying to get right. Our first thought was to not play him this year and bring him back next year. But the advice he got was for him to go ahead and live a normal life."

Redshirt freshman Trevor Clemons-Valdez is expected to replace Johnson in the lineup. Johnson also played fullback in 2010.

Baylor's defense needs all the help it can get, so this is the last thing the Bears needed just five days before kicking off its season against SMU. Who knows if Johnson would be a big-time player this year, but you can't replace experience.