March 29, 2008
The Baylor football concluded its third week of spring practice with a 117-play scrimmage Saturday morning on the Floyd Casey Stadium turf.
"I thought the defense did really well," said Baylor head coach Art Briles. "That's a little expected, but still it's appreciated. Those guys are making plays and playing intelligent on that side of the ball. I was really proud the way they (the defense) played.
"I felt offensively, we sputtered," he added. "We have to work on maintaining or creating some consistency. And then, when things don't go as planned, we have to rise up and come out of it. That's just part of being a football player and a competitor. That's what we are working on and will improve on.
"But, overall, it was a good scrimmage because nobody got injured, which is the number one thing we are looking for, and secondly, I thought the intensity was good. There was a little bit of spirit and bounce coming off three days (practices) in a row. All and all, a productive day."
One Bear who drew rave reviews following his performance on Saturday was sophomore linebacker Earl Patin, who earned All-Big 12 freshman honors as a true freshman in 2007 after retistering 29 tackles.
"He's a football player," Briles said. "He's a guy that is passionate about the game, loves the game, he's physical, intense and tough. He's an instinctive type player. If you get about 50 Earl Patin's on your football team, you are going to have a dad-gum good football team. We like the way he approaches the game and plays it."
After averaging just 77.8 yards per game on the ground a year ago, the Bears have placed an emphasis on the rushing attack during spring ball and Briles likes what he's seen in that area.
"What we'd like to do is take those 8's and make them 88's, we'd like to pop a few long ones," Briles said. "We grinded pretty well and the offensive line did a good job of creating some space and those guys did a good job of getting positive yards for the most part.
"We don't mind getting dirty, you are going to have to get dirty sometime," he added. There's going to be some 3 & 1's, 4th & 1's in a ballgame and we've got to be able to make them, so we have to be powerful and physical up front and have somebody who can stick their nose in there and get a first down."
With 11 practices in the book, the Bears' quarterback battle between senior Kirby Freeman, junior Blake Szymanski, sophomore Tyler Beatty and true freshman Robert Griffin, will continue next week.
"It (the quarterback picture) is unsettled," Briles said. "Not real consistent across the board, but good teammates, good potential and a good sign for Baylor. You'd rather have three or four, than 0 and one. That's just not a concern. We are in good shape there."
The Bears will take Sunday and Monday off, then return to the practice field Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Baylor is slated to practice on Tuesday and Thursday in full pads, then workout in just helmets and shorts Friday before concluding the spring April 5 with a scrimmage that starts at 2 p.m. on the Floyd Casey Stadium turf. Admission to the spring game is free.