Photo Gallery | Fans Flock to Meet the Bears
WACO, Texas - Usually in an intra-squad scrimmage, one side or the other leaves the field frustrated.
But fourth-year Baylor head coach Art Briles got the best of both worlds in Saturday's "Meet the Bears" scrimmage at the Highers Athletics Complex.
While the first-team offense scored on two of its three drives, including a 34-yard pass from junior quarterback Robert Griffin III to sophomore receiver Tevin Reese, the first-string defense threw a shutout and gave up just five first downs total in five series.
"The No. 1 thing today and pretty much every day this time of year is just staying healthy," said Briles, whose team was going through its 10th workout in 10 days. "Our guys are a little leg-weary, but not as bad as I thought they would be. I'm pretty pleased with the effort. I thought the intensity was good, especially after practicing before the scrimmage. And I thought we executed at times on both sides of the ball. We had a good push defensively up front, we made a couple nice throws, one or two good runs."
Converting twice on third down, the offense drove 70 yards in nine plays and scored the first points of the scrimmage on the 34-yard pass over the middle from Griffin III to Reese. For the day, RG3 was 8-of-15 for 144 yards and one TD and added 21 yards on five carries.
"It's good to be challenged the way we have the past couple days in practice," Griffin III said. "It will make us better as an offense and definitely a better team. One day the offense wins, the next day the defense wins. It's just good to see that, rather than us always winning."
The second-team defense came up with a stop on the next series, when sophomore nickel back LeQuince McCall deflected a third-down pass from Griffin III to Terrance Williams.
With its most productive drive, the second-team offense picked up a pair of first downs on a pass from Nick Florence to Clay Fuller and an 11-yard run by Isaac Williams. Aaron Jones pushed his first attempt from 49 yards wide right, but nailed his second one right down the middle, with plenty to spare.
Jones added a 22-yarder, set up by a 46-yard pass from RG3 to Darius Jones, and the third-team offense completed the scoring with Bryce Petty's 16-yard scoring strike to Fuller.
Between the three units, the offense totaled 381 yards on 63 plays, but very little of that came against an improving first-team defense led by linebacker Elliot Coffey, safety Mike Hicks, cornerback Chance Casey and the defensive front.
"We've definitely made improvement," said first-year defensive coordinator Phil Bennett. "But there's a saying: We're not where we need to be, but we're dang sure not where we were. . . . What (the offense) did to us in the spring, they're not able to do right now. As Art said, `We're having to work for any and everything we get.' And that makes us both better."
Fuller, a 24-year-old freshman walk-on who played the last six years in the Los Angeles Angels' organization, finished as the scrimmage's leading receiver with 50 yards and a TD on five catches. Williams had three catches for 43 yards, while Reese finished with 49 yards and a TD on just two receptions.
Freshman B.J. Allen, running against the third-team defense, led the ground game with 50 yards on just five totes. Senior Terrance Ganaway had 21 yards on four attempts.
Defensively, Hicks had four tackles, nose tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste had two sacks, end Gary Mason Jr. had one sack and McCall had two pass breakups.
The Bears will take Sunday off before returning to the practice field on Monday. Baylor opens the season with an ESPN nationally televised game against Rose Bowl champion TCU at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at Floyd Casey Stadium.
|| SCRIMMAGE STATISTICS
Tevin Reese 34 pass from Robert Griffin III (Aaron Jones kick)
Aaron Jones 49 FG
Clay Fuller 16 pass from Bryce Petty (Aaron Jones kick)
Aaron Jones 22 FG
Robert Griffin III 8-15-144-1-0; Nick Florence 6-13-37-0-0; Bryce Petty 5-7-63-1-0; Andrew Frerking 4-4-29-0-0.
B.J. Allen 5-50; Robert Griffin III 5-21; Terrance Ganaway 4-21; Glasco Martin 3-15; Isaac Williams 1-11; Andrew Frerking 1-2; Nick Florence 2-(-2); Bryce Petty 3-(-10).
Clay Fuller 5-50 TD; Terrance Williams 3-43; Tevin Reese 2-49 TD; Travis McClain 2-33; Glasco Martin 2-13; Michael Valdez 2-10; Lanear Sampson 2-7; Darius Jones 1-45; Jay Lee; 1-7; Christian Coggan 1-7; Jeff LePak 1-6; Rhett Butler 1-3.
Mike Hicks 4; Tevin Elliott 3; Rodney Chadwick 3; Elliott Coffey 3; Josh Wilson 3; Nicolas Jean-Baptiste 3; Sam Holl 3; Joe Williams 2; Tracy Robertson 2; Tyler Stephenson 2; Keller Reese 2; Chris Quinn 2; T.C. Robinson 2; Prince Kent 1; Kaeron Johnson 1; Zac Scotton 1; Chance Casey 1; Campbell McCrea 1; Anthony Webb; Terrance Nathan 1; Devante Davis 1; Jemarcus Johnson 1; Kolby Gray 1; Reggie Rice 1; Collin Brence 1; Dominique Jones 1; Gary Mason Jr. 1; Ahmad Dixon 1; Anthony Betters 1; Clarence Lee 1; Colin Simpson 1.
Nicolas Jean-Baptiste 2; Gary Mason Jr. 1.
Spencer Roth 3-45.0.
Aaron Jones 2-3 (Long 49).
|| POST-SCRIMMAGE QUOTES
On the scrimmage today:
"Well the number one thing today is staying healthy. That is what we think about every day this time of year. We have had eleven practices now in twelve days so our guys are a little bit leg weary, but not as bad as I thought they would be. I was really pleased with the effort. I thought the intensity was pretty good especially since we had a practice right before the scrimmage. We executed a little bit on both sides of the ball. Had a good push defensively, had a few good throws and a couple good runs but couldn't convert on a few plays that we needed to."
On the play of the defensive backs:
"They are competing hard. Tyler (Stephenson) had a really nice coverage but the guy was just able to make the catch. Jones had a great camp, Chance has been unbelievable, Mike and Sam have been real good, Ahmad has also been really good. All of those guys have been contributing."
On the defensive performance today:
"We have made improvement. There is a saying, we are not where we need to be, but we dang sure are better than we were. We were very basic, we ran no blitzes and it was all one defense. That is what I wanted to see. We made strides. I am pleased with everything, but the one thing we have to fight in order to play at a higher level is just the mental toughness aspect. I shocked them today when I said, after we had stopped them on third down, when I had the ball moved to the red zone and run fourth down. I just want to put them in situations that they can answer the bell with."
On the offensive performance today:
"I thought it was good. We moved the ball well and got out of a few tough situations. The defense did a good job of shutting us down a couple of times, but I thought we made a few really good plays."
On the defense this year:
"They are a lot more aggressive this year. It is good to see them do that good. They have been a challenge. It will make us better as an offense and as a team."
On the intensity of the scrimmage:
"Oh we have to be intense or coach Bennett is going to be on our tails. We just had to get out there and compete every play."
On the play of the defensive front line:
"Every day I feel like we come out there and battle and we have to. The defensive line just has to come out here and go to work every day."
On the scrimmage today:
"We came out and executed well. Some plays we didn't play to well but we were able to bounce back. I feel that overall it was a good scrimmage."
On the depth at the wide receiver position:
"We have a lot of talent as far as wide receivers go. Third team is still not really slacking at all. We just have a lot of guys trying to get on the field and we have a lot of good players in this position."