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Bears shouldn't worry over not having Bishop

Nov. 6, 1998


Sports Writer

It is routine for Baylor fullback Derek Lagway to write the number 7 on his wrist tape prior to a game. After all, that number belongs to his close friend and old high school teammate Michael Bishop, who just happens to be the Kansas State University quarterback.

On Saturday the Baylor Bears celebrate homecoming weekend against the second-ranked Kansas State Wildcats marching into town.

So while Baylor alumni use this weekend to reunite with old friends, the two high school teammates reunite for the first time since this summer.

'Me and Bishop. . . we're like brothers,' Lagway said in a telephone interview earlier this season. 'We got together over the summer and threw the football around at our old high school field.'

But maybe Lagway and Bishop, a Heisman candidate, wouldn't have to wait until the summer to play football with each other if Bishop had honored to his earlier commitment and played for Baylor.

And maybe head Coach Dave Roberts wouldn't have problems deciding on which quarterback to play on what downs if Bishop became a Bear.

During his senior year in 1994, Bishop earned all-state honors while passing for 221 yards-per-game at Willis High School. But Baylor was the only division-one school recruiting him, according to linebacker Coach Andy McCollum.

Everything seemed set for Bishop to take the helm as Baylor's next quarterback during the Chuck Reedy era, except for one problem. Bishop's SAT scores met NCAA requirements but he was still short on a couple of credits.

To get around the problem, McCollum, who was Baylor's defensive coordinator at the time, made an arrangement for Bishop to play at Blinn Junior College for two years and then transfer to Baylor.

Bishop went undefeated at Blinn, going 24-0 in leading the team to two junior college national championships. Bishop's record then opened up more opportunities for him to quarterback elsewhere.

'He was committed to come back here, but he backed out,' McCollum said in a telephone interview. 'Baylor hired a new coach, but I don't think that had anything to do with his decision.'

McCollum said the team can't dwell on the past if the Bears intend on competing with the Wildcats.

And though Lagway and McCollum continue to have close relationships with Bishop, they don't necessarily think they have any more advantages in preparation for Bishop than other teams have had.

'It's hard, because he's just so good,' McCollum said. 'He's as good as any player in America. But he's also just one guy, on the best teams in America.'

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Floyd Casey stadium, and the Bears are 29-point underdogs.

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