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Shock Linwood suspension a step in the right direction for Baylor

Merle Laswell/Icon Sportswire

Shock Linwood, Baylor’s all-time leading rusher and All-Big 12 selection two years running, was suspended for one game ahead of the team’s road trip to Oklahoma on Saturday.

Considering those credentials, that seems like a big deal for a Baylor team reeling from a 40-point loss against TCU. However, Linwood’s lack of production last week was certainly a contributing factor to that loss. He’s not the same running back he was in previous seasons, neither as a player or a leader.

While it’d be a stretch to say it was only a matter of time before he was suspended, it’s the only logical step for his downward spiral.

Against TCU, some reporters and fans noted that Linwood shoved a coach on the sideline and speculated that was a reason for his suspension. Head coach Jim Grobe confirmed there was an incident with receivers coach Tate Wallis.

“He got into it a little bit with one of our grad assistants,” Grobe said Monday. “But not anything I have any issues with.

Considering Linwood’s suspension was cited for recent attitude issues, Grobe not having any issues with this confrontation speaks to how Linwood has carried himself recently. His recent performances have been indicative of this. He’s collected just 140 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries the past three games. That’s a far cry from over 100 yards and a touchdown per game the past two seasons.

What’s more surprising is how Grobe has spoken of Linwood in recent weeks. He’s said players play like they practice and has repeatedly noted that Linwood had good practices leading up to TCU. If that’s not coach-speak, it speaks to Terence Williams and JaMycal Hasty having even greater practices with better attitudes.

It’s difficult to point to a greater sign of a poor attitude than shoving one’s own coach, but there was a clear lack of involvement from Linwood in the weeks leading up to the TCU game.

Considering he was used to getting the bulk of carries as an underclassman, having games where Williams and Hasty were favored surely takes a toll on such a celebrated rusher.

While the frustration is understandable, the outburst is not representative of a good teammate. Benching Linwood without any chance of playing is a good step forward for a team that needs to rally together now that outside issues have Baylor making negative headlines once again.

“If we can get our guys to rally and regroup, we can compete,” Grobe said. “But we’re not good enough to not do the little things and still win.”

Baylor has been accused of a lack of institutional control after assistant coaches and staffers sent out tweets supporting Art Briles. Fans selling black shirts in support of Briles also has the nation in a stir.

Suspending Linwood is the first step toward regaining control. It might read wrong to some opponents, that a player can be suspended for his attitude but allegations of sexual assault are hushed. Yet, when so many things are being asked of Baylor, seeing anything being taken seriously has to be commended.

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