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Position that needs improvement: Baylor

This week, we're taking a closer look at one area in which each Big 12 team needs to make improvements going into the 2015 seasons. We kick off the series with Baylor, a team poised to make a run at its third consecutive Big 12 title. That run will get even easier if its secondary can raise its game this offseason.

Position to improve: Defensive backs

Why it was a problem: There were not many weaknesses with the 2014 Bears, so this might seem like nitpicking. But Baylor's secondary was maligned at times for its occasional struggles, particularly late in the season. Baylor finished with the No. 107 pass defense in FBS. Over its final six games, Baylor ranked dead last among Power 5 conference defenses in yards per completion (15.6) and third-worst in yards per attempt. They still won five of those six games, of course, so it wasn't exactly a damning flaw.

But Texas Tech made them sweat with 609 passing yards and Michigan State threw for 179 (20 yards per completion) in the fourth quarter of its Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic comeback. At various points in the season, each member of that relatively inexperienced secondary of Xavien Howard, Ryan Reid, Orion Stewart, Terrell Burt and Collin Brence was tested. They gave up 56 completions of 20-plus yards, third-worst of all Power 5 defenses. So there's room for improvement in 2015.

How it can be fixed: Experience. Every contributing member of this secondary is slated to return in 2015 except Brence, the starting nickel. Howard, Reid and Stewart will be juniors and Burt will be a senior. The top backups at corner -- Terrence Singleton and Tion Wright -- will be juniors. There are a handful of younger players that are coming along, too, and could push the vets.

What'll be interesting to track is how newly hired safeties coach Cris Dishman can influence this group. The former Pro Bowler will team with Carlton Buckels to coach the secondary and could bring some new ideas to the table to help Phil Bennett and this defensive staff. Then again, the best antidote might simply be more competition and another year of training.

On the recruiting front, Baylor has commitments from three intriguing cornerback prospects -- Jordan Tolbert, Tony Nicholson and Jameson Houston -- plus a four-star athlete in J.W. Ketchum who could become one heck of a safety. Baylor probably will take one more corner before signing day, too, but it's unlikely these freshmen will have to take on significant roles early. There's just too much talent coming back.

Early 2015 outlook: Expect those same corners and safeties to retain their jobs, unless someone rises up and beats out a veteran over the course of this offseason. Travon Blanchard, a third-year sophomore who played in every game in 2014, is the clear frontrunner to take over for Brence at nickel. And you'd hope to see a few underclassmen (maybe second-year DBs Chance Waz, Jourdan Blake and Verkedric Vaughns) step forward and prove they can be trusted with more snaps. With all those defensive backs returning, there's no reason why this group can't get better and eventually become one of Baylor's strengths.