Dec. 18, 2013
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Insider
Tevin Reese is like a kid waiting till Christmas day to open up that one special present.
Only his will come a few days early, when Baylor's senior All-Big 12 receiver gets to remove the cast that's protected the right wrist he dislocated in a Nov. 7 game against Oklahoma.
"I don't know if I can put it into words," said Reese, who will have his cast removed Friday and go through his first full workout on Saturday, four days before Christmas. "It's an overwhelming feeling. . . . It's going to be great making that first catch and running that first route."
Before getting hurt in the first half of the OU game, the 5-10, 170-pound receiver ranked among the national and Big 12 leaders with 33 catches for 824 yards and eight touchdowns. His per-catch average of 25.0 yards ranks first nationally and would be a school record.
But Reese had surgery on Nov. 8, the day after the OU game, and was sidelined for the last four weeks of the season.
"It tested my patience," he said, "but it let me know what kind of player I need to be off the field. It was tough being out there and knowing that I can't help my teammates out."
In the first eight games, with Reese in the lineup, the Bears averaged 686 yards and 61 points per game. Without him, quarterback Bryce Petty lost his most consistent deep threat as Baylor's averages fell to 501.5 yards and 37.8 points in wins over Texas Tech, TCU and Texas and a 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State.
"I think they handled it well," Reese said. "Our offense went out there and played."
The toughest part for Reese was not getting a chance to play in Baylor's 30-10, Big 12 championship-clinching victory over Texas on Dec. 7. While he was there for the postgame celebration, all he could do during the game was watch helplessly from the sidelines.
"It was hard not playing in the Big 12 championship," he said. "Not playing for the BCS bowl after being here four years was kind of heartbreaking. But at the same time, you helped them get there."
Baylor head coach Art Briles said the biggest thing is getting Reese "back on the field with the guys and enjoy the process" of preparing for the sixth-ranked Bears' New Year's Day matchup against UCF at the 43rd annual Tostitos Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
"We're planning on having him back, and that's a big boost for him and us as a football team," Briles said before Monday's workout. "It's mainly for him to get back on the field with the guys and enjoy the process. That's what they miss. They love the games, but they love the process of working out and hanging out and being around the players. It will definitely give us a boost offensively, because he's a guy that can scare a defense."
Although he's been out for nearly six weeks, Reese said he's not worried about knocking the rust off before the bowl game.
"Bryce and I have been playing together for four years," he said, "so I don't think we'll be out of sync after a month."