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Meet The Press: Sam Houston State




Aug. 30, 2010


Head Coach Art Briles

Opening Statement...
"It's time. It is finally here. We are as anxious and ready as everybody in this room and hopefully everybody outside. A lot of time, effort, energy, anxiety, hope, restlessness all gets to begin this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Floyd Casey Stadium. It is an exciting time all across America, but especially right here at Baylor University because we certainly feel like we have a lot to prove and have the people that can do it."

On Robert Griffin III's first game back since season-ending injury in 2009...
"I'm not anxious at all. Perfect games (are when your quarterback) never touches the ground. You get a quarterback in the game and get him out and he never hits the floor, that's a great game. I'm not anxious at all for him to get hit. I understand that it is going to happen but he is well. He is healthy. If you remember back to his injury (in 2009), it was a non-contact injury anyways. It was not a hit that caused the injury; it was just a planting of the foot. Football is a physical game. It is for physical people. It is a challenge of your manhood every time you step on the field. It is not like all of a sudden he is going to cringe and shy away. He is a man. He is a man who is representing a university and a football team. He will play his butt off."

On adjustments made from fall camp...
"I think without a doubt there is a renewed excitement. As fun as fall camp is, it does kind of wear a little bit toward the end. Our guys have done a really good job throughout this fall camp. I think we have done a good job with them, staff-wise, of keeping them fresh, keeping the energy level up and not leaving everything on the practice field. We have a lot to prove on Saturday and the Saturdays ahead and we are trying to make sure we are geared up for that. It is a little bit different this week because our Sunday yesterday is going to be our Sunday this coming week. This practice schedule is a little bit different leading up to game week. We will take off a little bit earlier than we normally will. Other than that, it is getting to the game, getting our players on the field and being productive once we get there."

On the importance of playing well and creating momentum...
"It is just about winning. How else can you create excitement? You win football games. There is no excitement over playing well and not winning. To me, that is what it is all about. You go win and then you look at what went right and what did not go the way you wanted it to and you correct it. We are not out trying to win points for style. What we are trying to do is make sure this counts number one in the correct column. That is our goal."

On this year's defense compared to last year's defense...
"I don't think anybody is saying that we are going to be better; unless somebody can pull out a quote where I have said that we are going to be a better defensively this year. I might have said that we are going to be faster or we are going to be a little more fearless. We are going to feel real comfortable about the players we have on the field and the positions they are at. We will judge where we are at as the season progresses. We know we are going to play some people that can play, starting with Sam Houston State this weekend. They are going to expose some things that will give us an opportunity to work on because that is what happens every game. I think we will pass judgment once we have the opportunity to judge."

On senior defensive nose guard Phil Taylor...
"I like Phil, always have. I really am proud of the way he has progressed throughout the spring and summer physically and mentally. He is down to 338 (pounds). He has done a great job with (Assistant AD for Athletic Performance) Kaz (Kazadi) and the strength program binding nutrition and work. He has really changed his body physically where I think he can sustain for longer periods of time. He is a lot tougher mentally which I know sounds a little strange. Why would a guy that is 6-4, 340 not be as tough mentally as what you would want him to be? But it is a reality and a good sign of that is that he tweaked his knee a little bit and kind of hyper-extended his knee and we were going to hold him from the scrimmage the following day but he was adamant about going. So it's as good as it gets, you know? He is good and he is really going to make a difference."

On senior linebacker Antonio Johnson...
"The first word on him is passion. He has instinct, a guy who plays from the inside out and I have always admired people like that. I think that's how you play - you start with your soul and your heart and then you go to your blood and veins and you turn that to the outside, he does that. That's what he brings to the table and without question that is one of the greatest assets that he brings. And then he has the unique ability of making a play in an unorthodox fashion; he is really an instinctive football player on the field and he is a great leading force."

On specific things the team is emphasizing this Saturday...
"There are a couple of things we would like to do well. We would like to rush the ball well offensively. We're not going to do it out of stubbornness but we will do it out of opportunity. Defensively, we want to show that we can be a fast football team and have guys all over the field playing with a lot of fearless effort and have guys really hustling to make plays in a controlled manner. We also want to be very sound with our special teams. That is something that we are really looking for."

On senior running back Jay Finley...
"Unless I'm wrong, I think he is 100 percent. We had a great practice yesterday. The thing I love about Jay is that he runs mad with the football. He's a nice guy when he's walking around but put a football in his hand and he gets real mean, and I like that. He really runs with a lot of intensity, passion and drive so he brings an element to the field and that is fire. That's what you look for in a football player and that's what you look for in people in everyday life. He is someone who can do something on the field and inspire the team."


Senior DB Clifton Odom

On Coach Briles saying he would rotate a lot of the players...
"We have so much talent in the secondary that we're all going to be able to play and we'll all be able to go out there and do what we need to do to contribute to this team."

On his teammate, Antareis Bryan...
"He's shown a lot of hard work, he's made a lot of plays and he's finally healthy. He has all the athletic ability in the world; he's big, fast, strong, explosive. He has every characteristic to be a great corner."

On the Bears still having a lot left to prove as a team...
"We're not really worried about that. We're just taking it one game at a time. We have some goals in mind but we're just going to do what we know for this game and then go from there."

On the importance of the season opener...
"We're going to be ready every game, especially on our home turf. It doesn't matter who's out there; we have to defend our turf and we're excited to play and definitely excited for this season. Regardless of who is out there, we're going to play our hardest every play."


Sophomore QB Robert Griffin III

On how he will feel on Saturday...
"I'm going to be excited, nervous, anxious, ready to go. I don't really feel like I have anything to prove but I am definitely excited to get back out there on the field. It will be exciting and my teammates and coaches will help calm me down and my parents and everybody. It will be a big moment for me, but I'm not going to try and look it that way. I just want to go back out there and have it be another game and come ready to execute."

On the practices over the summer...
"I've improved personally throughout the practices. The team has improved, as a unit lately. We've been clicking lately in practice and that is a good thing. We're not really peaking but we're steadily growing. We will be ready for this first game."

On what he will do after the first hit...
"I'll get up. People are asking do I want to just get hit and get it out of the way. I'm not looking to go out there and just run into somebody but hopefully my offensive line will take care of that. Getting hit is a part of football; I got hit a lot my freshman year and it was never a problem. I'm not a soft quarterback so whenever I get hit it will happen and I'll get up from it and wave to the crowd."

On playing smarter now that he's suffered such a big injury...
"I slid a lot last year and that made me feel soft. I will try to play smarter and only run when I have to. I have the talent with these skilled guys around me that I don't have to run. The past couple of scrimmages I've just been throwing the ball and not really running at all and we've been moving the ball. It's not about me and rushing the ball or getting yards; it is about winning football games so if I just let those guys make plays and we can do that then I'm fine with that."

On last year's injury...
"People think it was the hit but it wasn't. The hit didn't even hurt it was actually right before the hit. As soon as I planted, my foot got stuck and it just snapped. I didn't even feel the hit but you know sometimes things happen like that."


Senior LT Danny Watkins

On the importance of game one...
"People ask me if there is a game that I look forward to and I have to tell them no because you have to treat every game the same. But yeah this game is a little special because it is the building block to conference and will show how we're going to do. I think we can set a good foundation going into conference."

On the goal of getting to the bowl game...
"I've never been to a bowl game, but everyone talks about it. Listening to Coach Briles and just kind of learning as I'm going here that's what our goal is - our ultimate objective. So once we get there it will be some sweet pride."

On Coach Art Briles...
"Coach doesn't change and that is the great thing. Pressure doesn't get to him and that is a great thing about him as a coach. He expects a lot out of us and that is great, too. We were in game mode last week and this week we are feeling good."


 

 

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