DALLAS Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk has talked a big game since the Bears finished the 2012 season with a flourish.
Seastrunk, who has six college starts under his belt, doesn't mind mentioning Baylor and the Big 12 championship in the same sentence. The same goes for Seastrunk and the Heisman Trophy, as he predicted in December that he'd win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and has also since said he'd like to challenge for the all-time rushing record.
He's had a few months to reflect on his bold statements and doesn't feel there's any need to backtrack on them.
"Why should I regret it?" Seastrunk said. "I said it. You'll want me to take it back?"
While Seastrunk's Heisman comment might seem to be a little stunning to some, it's not that far-fetched.
The 5-10 junior rushed for 1,012 yards on just 131 carries for the Bears last season. Over the final six games, his only starts, Seastrunk ran for 831 yards as the Bears won five of the six games.
That kind of finished helped him earn Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year honors as well as the preseason offensive player of the year this season by the Big 12 media. Seastrunk is also on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Award.
Seastrunk said he received some negative reaction to his Heisman comments. None of those came from anyone within the Baylor organization.
"We know Lache," Baylor head coach Art Briles said."Lache is a great teammate. He's a great, passionate, caring person for everybody on our football team, prepares as well as anybody in the United States of America, and he believes in himself.And I learned a long time ago, if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. He's a great teammate. He's a guy that's going to help us win football games, and he's going to fight hard to do it.So we respect him."
Seastrunk has fought hard throughout his college career. The Temple native signed with Oregon but didn't play as a true freshman because he said the running backs ahead of him were better. He then opted to come back to Texas and sat out the 2011 season.
By the end of last season he showed there was no one better than him in the Baylor backfield, as he shredded then No. 1-ranked Kansas State for 185 yards and added another 178 in a win over Oklahoma State.
That's set the stage for what could be a big season for both Seastrunk and the Bears, who are coming off an 8-5 season. Seastrunk believes it.
"Big 12 championship, national title, Heisman Trophy winner," Seastrunk said. "Why not? Everybody always belittles Baylor. We'll finish fifth in the Big 12 (in media voting). That's fine. We'll take that. We're going to use that."
Seastrunk doesn't see himself as cocky. His belief, backed by the Bible, is that unless you believe it can happen there's no way it's going to happen. That kind of positive thinking has rubbed off on his teammates, who don't doubt Seastrunk.
"He's going to show off all the hard work he's been putting out there," senior All-America Cyril Richardson said. "If he doesn't believe it, he's not going to think it into existence. If he believes it, he's going to think it into existence."
Richardson also knows that if Seastrunk can back up his words, it will lead to a better season for the Bears. The backfield will be a focus for Baylor this year. Junior Bryce Petty is the new starting quarterback and while Seastrunk is the deep threat at running back, the Bears also have senior Glasco Martin, who ran for nearly 900 yards last season.
Putting Baylor on a national stage would mean plenty to Seastrunk, more than the individual honors.
"I'm worried about my team," he said. "If the seniors can finish out undefeated and go to the national title, that would be all for me even if I don't achieve my personal goals. At least they had the opportunity to get what they deserve.