Meet the new members of the Baylor Bears’ 2023 football coaching staff

Baylor’s 2022 season was a disappointment, and head coach Dave Aranda knows it. Aranda didn’t take long to get rid of some of his staff following the team’s season-ending loss to Texas on the road. While the decision to fire defensive coordinator Ron Roberts came as a surprise, it proved that the third-year head coach is capable of making tough choices that he deems fit for the program.

Aranda built himself a decent leash with a program-best 12 wins in 2021, but an underwhelming campaign brings more pressure to succeed. Here’s a quick look at the new coaches Aranda brought in over the last few weeks:

Matt Powledge, defensive coordinator/safeties

Powledge joined the Baylor staff on Dec. 29 following a one-year stint at Oregon as the co-defensive coordinator. He’s no stranger to McLane Stadium and the program since he spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons as safeties and special teams coordinator with the Bears. Under Powledge, the Ducks’ defense ranked eighth in the Nation in interceptions, 24th in red-zone defense and 33rd in rushing defense ahead of their Bowl game on Dec. 28. Individually, Oregon defense back Bennet Williams earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors in 2022 for the Ducks while playing at the safety or STAR position. Williams logged a team-high 67 tackles, including two interceptions, six pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

Christian Robinson, inside linebackers

Robinson was tabbed inside linebackers Coach just one day after Powledge was hired. Often regarded as one of the top young defensive minds in college football, Robinson joins a Baylor coaching staff after spending his entire career in the SEC. Robinson coached linebackers at Auburn during the 2022 season after four seasons in the same position at Florida. He also served as a Graduate Assistant at Mississippi State (2017), Ole Miss (2015-16) and Georgia (2013-14). As an athlete, Robinson played linebacker at Georgia from 2009-12. The Norcross, Ga. native was named to the American Football Coaches Association 35 under 35 listing in 2022, which Highlights some of the nation’s best up-and-coming coaches under the age of 35.

AJ Steward, Assistant head coach/running backs

Following Justin “Juice” Johnson’s departure to Texas Tech, Aranda ushered in AJ Steward, his new running backs coach. Steward was named Assistant head Coach on top of handling the tailback position corps. Steward spent the last two seasons at Oregon State in the same role. He has also been with Arizona (2020), BYU (2018-19) and Rice (2014-17). Steward helped orchestrate an elite running back unit that saw three of its backs rush for over 400 yards in 2022. First-Team All-Pac 12 selection Damien Martinez totaled 982 yards on the ground with seven touchdowns, Deshaun Fenwich tucked it 114 times for 553 yards and seven scores and Jam Griffin had 488 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Tyler Hancock, special teams

Hancock was hired as the special teams coach on the same day Steward was hired in his role. Hancock will lead the special teams unit after being Charlotte’s special teams coordinator for the last two seasons. Before that, he served as the senior Analyst at West Virginia (2019-20), the special teams’ quality control Coach at Maryland (2016-18) and as a defensive intern and later an Offensive Assistant at Kentucky (2013-16). While at Charlotte, Hancock’s special team group ranked among the nation’s top-10 in punt-return defense in back-to-back seasons (No. 4 in 2022 and No. 8 in 2021).

Twitter: @MichaelHaag_

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