Bulldawgs Reunite for Saturday's Baylor-TCU Game
10:15 A.M., THURSDAY, Sept. 16, 2010
Anytime you have teams in Texas playing each other, this is bound to happen. But there will be an interesting reunion on Saturday, when Baylor plays fourth-ranked TCU at 3:30 p.m. in a nationally televised game (VERSUS) at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.
Not that any of these guys have been gone long enough to have a reunion, but Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Tim Atchison will get a chance to catch up with a trio of former Copperas Cove teammates - TCU middle linebacker Tanner Brock, tight end Logan Brock and wide receiver Josh Boyce.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of people from Cove at the game," said Griffin, who has thrown for 539 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for three more. "Me and Josh went to the same church, so I'm sure there will be a lot of people from church at the game. There will be a lot of bragging rights on the table, but that won't be my main focus. The main focus is to go get a win. And hopefully me and Tim will be the ones smiling after the game."
Griffin and Boyce, in particular, grew up together and even played on the same pee-wee basketball team. "I texted him over the past couple of weeks just to see how he was doing, and he's doing a good job," Griffin said of Boyce, a redshirt freshman receiver who caught a 24-yard TD pass in last week's 62-7 thumping of Tennessee Tech.
"I'm sure there won't be any text (messages) this week. And if there, it won't be, `Hey, how's the fam?''' Griffin said. "It is what it is. I know they think they might have the upper hand, because they played with me or think they know how I play. But we've all evolved. They've all gotten better, gotten bigger and they're better football players. And so am I."
Atchison is Baylor's starting free safety and is tied for the team lead with two pass breakups to go with six tackles and one QB hurry. He could be matched up in coverage against either Boyce or Logan Brock, a junior backup who led TCU tight ends last season with five catches for 67 yards.
But the matchup to watch might be Griffin vs. Tanner Brock. Following in the footsteps of Griffin, Brock earned Freshman All-America honors last year and is tied for the team lead in tackles this season with 15.
This one should be a fun one for the old Bulldawgs. Maybe next week they can go back to the friendly text messages. But on Saturday, the only message that counts will be the one on the scoreboard.
Sic 'em Bears!
Parents' Weekend Tribute: Proud Papa Norwood
10:15 A.M., FRIDAY, Sept. 10, 2010
I'm certainly proud of all of my sons' accomplishments, every last one of them. But as a Parents' Weekend tribute, I take a look at another proud papa, Brian Norwood.
Now in his third year as Baylor's defensive coordinator, Norwood has two sons playing pro sports and another that just started his freshman season as an inside receiver for the Bears.
Gabe Norwood, his oldest son, played for George Mason University's Final Four basketball team in 2006 and has played the last two seasons with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the Philippine Basketball Association. The first overall pick in the 2008 PBA Draft, the 6-foot-5 guard/forward was the PBA Rookie of the Year in '09 and the All-Star Game MVP last year, when he averaged 14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
Gabe and his younger brother, Jordan, also were part of the 2003 Class 4A state championship basketball team at State College Area High School in State College, Pa.
Despite receiving only one other scholarship offer (from Bucknell), Jordan went the football route and signed with Penn State, where Brian was a defensive assistant under legendary coach Joe Paterno. He finished as the Nittany Lions' No. 3 all-time leading receiver with 130 career catches for 1,507 yards and nine touchdowns.
Jordan signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last year as an undrafted free agent and was just recently signed to the Cleveland Browns' practice squad for the 2010 season.
Following in the footsteps of both of his older brothers, Levi signed a financial aid contract with Baylor in May after originally signing a national letter of intent with Penn State. But he also plans to walk on for the Baylor basketball team that's coming off a trip to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. At nearby Midway High School, Levi was a first-team all-district pick in football, making 42 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns. And he also lettered two years in basketball, averaging 9.0 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals as a senior.
Papa Norwood, here's hoping you have an awesome Parents' Weekend.
Sic 'em Bears!
Baylor Nation Definitely Did 'Rise Up!'
11:40 A.M., MONDAY, Sept. 6, 2010
Baylor fans, give yourself a well-deserved round of applause. And with 42,821 of you there for Saturday's season opener, you could certainly be heard.
I got to say, I was totally blown away by the atmosphere and crowd for Saturday's game against Sam Houston State. Honestly, I've never seen anything like it.
Sure, there have been bigger crowds - but only two bigger opening-night crowds. And when you consider how few fans that Sam Houston brought from Huntsville, that makes it even more impressive. I would dare to say that there have only been a handful of games, if any, where there's been more Baylor fans.
"Boy, outstanding crowd!" head coach Art Briles said after the Bears' 34-3 win. "That's the way college football is supposed to be."
Agreed. That is the way it's supposed to be. But in my 28 years in Waco and 24 covering the Bears, Saturday was the exception, not the rule.
Could it be that people got the message? With the miraculous survival of the Big 12 Conference this summer, Baylor's been given another chance to prove it belongs.
Across the board, in every sport, I think the Bears (and Lady Bears) have proven that they do belong. But the message that "Baylor Nation" sent Saturday night was that the fans want to stay in the Big 12 with the big boys.
"It showed us how much our fans love us," said senior defensive tackle Phil Taylor. "And we like to see that. It makes us play even harder on the field."
You see, fans, you do make a difference. So give yourself a hand and a pat on the back. When the challenge was put out there, you definitely did "Rise Up!"
Sic 'em Bears!