WACO, Texas - Scrimmaging at Floyd Casey Stadium for the first time in preparation for next Sunday's season opener against SMU, quarterback Nick Florence led the first-team offense on four touchdown-scoring drives Friday night while the first-team defense continued to make strides.
"I think we stayed healthy, and that was the main thing," fifth-year head coach Art Briles said. "We had a pretty tough week, so we kind of backed off a little bit today and came out here in a game-like situation with the weather and the sun. . . . We feel pretty good about where we are. I know we've got a hungry team, I know we have a team that's determined and I know we have a team that wants to prove itself."
Building off his first two scrimmages when he topped 200 yards in both outings, Florence was near-perfect. The senior quarterback hit Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese for touchdown strikes, while running backs Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin scored on short runs to complete the scoring for the first-team offense in the 75-minute scrimmage.
"I think overall, we did a good job as an offense," Florence said. "We executed well, we came out and we did what we wanted to do. But we've got one more week to continue getting better, and that's the plan."
Briles said his starting quarterback was "good today."
"I think his confidence level is high, he's spinning the ball well and he's a guy that's going to play from inside out," he said. "So I'm anxious to see him on the field."
Florence said it was good for the team to go through a scrimmage on the turf before the Sept. 2 opener against SMU, a nationally televised game (FSN) that will kick off at 5:30 p.m.
"I think it's real important," he said. "The practice field is the practice field. Out here, you can see the sidelines, you can see the sidelines, there's a little bit of a crown on this field that we don't have over there. I think it's good for all of us to get out here, and it kind of gets the guys hyped, especially the new guys."
When the new riverfront Baylor Stadium is completed for the 2014 season, Briles said, "we'll go over there at least once a week during the season, maybe more."
"We've got to get over here and get acclimated, because this is your home," he said. "You have to feel real comfortable when you come out of that tunnel and feel like everything is going to go your way."
After struggling at the start of the first scrimmage and then ending the second one on a sour note, the first-team defense put together its most complete effort. The only score for the second-team offense was a 42-yard field goal by Aaron Jones.
"We've made a lot of strides, but we're still not where we need to be, still not satisfied," said junior nickel back Ahmad Dixon. "(Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett) is a hard guy to please, and we know that. But that's what matters the most, that and winning games. Last year, I don't think he was very confident in us going into the first game. He's still saying that we have to show him something else to get his full confidence. But once we get that, I think we'll be ready to roll."
The Bears, who have gone four days in a row, will take two of the next three days off before getting into a regular game-week routine.
Season and single-game tickets are available online at www.baylortix.com/fb12, by phone at 1-254-710-1000 or in person at the Baylor Athletics Ticket Office at the Ferrell Center.