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Meet The Press

Sept. 9, 2008

Head Coach Art Briles


Opening Statement:

“We are grateful for the student body that came out and supported us. They came anxious and eager and they really did a good job of giving us momentum when we needed it during the game. It was a good day, a good win for Baylor and it is just like we told our players, it’s not going to be the highlight of our season. We’re ready to move on and get ready to go this week. Washington State is a very good football team. They are a team who has had a lot of success over the last few years. In 2002 they played in the Rose Bowl, in 2003 they went to the Holiday Bowl where they beat Texas. Last year they won three games in the PAC-10. If they had a more suitable conference schedule last year they would have been a bowl team. They had a record of 5-7, missed out by one win to be bowl eligible. These guys who are fifth year seniors coming in after the Holiday Bowl in ’03, they have been around a program that has had a lot of success. They are going to come to Baylor determined, but they’re going to walk into a stadium with a bunch of determined guys on the other team too. We are still fighting ourselves and getting ready to become a really good football team, and every week is an opportunity for us to get better and that’s the way we’re approaching it.”




On having an advantage in home games:

“Honestly, I don’t know if there is a lot of value in that. I know that when you’re at home you have to really play well. You have to protect your house and really use that to your advantage. That’s what we’re going to do this week against Washington State. Then when you go on the road you just come together and understand you have a you against the world mentality. You fight hard, you execute and you try to get out of there with a win. It is an advantage being at home and we need to make sure we take advantage of it.”


On Washington State:

“There is so much parody in college football. Cal just jumped on them last week. They busted an 80 yarder the second play of the game. Washington State throws a pick their second play from scrimmage and it just got worse as the game went on. We know they’re going to come in here and play hard and so will we, so it’s going to be a game where two teams are playing hard trying to earn some respect.”


On Robert Griffin:

“What he did for our team, he maintained his composure, protected the football, took what the defense gave us and that is what we’re looking for. We talked about his job to make everyone on the field look better and that is the point that we are getting to. Our thing with Northwestern, as it will be with Washington State, is that we are going to win upfront on both sides of the ball. I haven’t ever planned to be smart but I am smart enough to figure that out. If you have good O-line and D-Line with you, you’ve got a good football team and our guys are getting better upfront. That is going to give us some chances to have success this year. We are striving to become dominant on both sides up front.”


On handling Robert Griffin:

“I think with any quarterback you have to be in tune with the play calling, field position and momentum of the game. What you don’t want to do is set a guy up to where he is having to do a whole lot of things across the middle of the field. But at the same time you don’t want to handcuff somebody that doesn’t allow them to use their ability and help the team to be successful. There is a real fine line and as we grow together as a team and a staff we will go through those adventures together. But as of right now, as far as that position, I feel pretty comfortable with how he is able to perform with the plays that are called.”


On the Baylor linebackers:

“We felt like all along the linebackers would be one of our strong positions, especially depth wise. We think we have five or six guys that can really play, and they have proven that, so that has been a big plus for us. Those guys who are able to play fresh and play at a high motor on the field, they understand that they need to play well when they’re out there because there is someone who can play well waiting right there to get onto the field. It comes down to our guys up front occupying blockers to free him up to make plays. That is kind of how this system works. We talked about Jay Finley’s touchdown reception for 53 yards, but I can show you on tape where four guys had really good blocks. If everybody does their job, we can have a chance for success.”


On Washington State wide receiver Brandon Gibson:

“He’s a good player. He has been a good player for three years prior to this. It’s just going to be another challenge. Every time you step on the field there are going to be people on the other side of the ball that present challenges for you, that is why you play the game. If you weren’t challenged, there wouldn’t be any reason for you to play. Our guys will rise up and improve. They understand what they have to do to give ourselves the opportunity to win. If we take care of business up front, get some pressure on the quarterback, it’s hard to throw on your back.”


On Baylor’s running backs:

“I thought all of our guys ran well. They came in and contributed and that will be the theme of us all year. We won’t be a one back dominate football team, right now we certainly aren’t planning on it. When they have the opportunity to contribute they get right in there and take care of it. I thought Jay (Finley) had some situations where he was able to have some successful runs and catches, and he did what he could do with it. I was pleased with his effort and the outcome without a doubt.”


On managing the offense (pass vs. run):

“Every week is different. We would like to stay balanced but it depends on how people are playing and how we feel we match up against the opponent. We aren’t going around this week thinking that all of a sudden we have arrived and we have all the answer. If anyone has any questions on how to play football or perform on the field we can give them the answers. We feel like we were able to come back after a disgusting opening game and perform at a better level, but we still understand that it’s the bridge we haven’t gotten to yet. We have a long way to go and a lot of things to prove before we get there.”


On letting Robert Griffin loose in the offense:

“We keep the reigns on him quite a bit. He had ten carries the other night for 49 yards, and out of those carries I would say four were opportunities for him to carry the ball out of the huddle. We will gradually loosen up as we go along, but what we have to do is throw the football and that was the part that I was most pleased with the other night. We threw the ball effective enough to make people respect us throwing the ball. We have good receivers and good protection, we can throw the ball and catch it and we’re going to do it because it opens up everything else.”




Junior Joe Pawelek


On the win against Northwestern State:

“It was a big game for us. We came out on both sides of the ball and got a victory.”


On carrying over momentum:

“With Washington State coming in, it will be a big game for us. Hopefully we can take some momentum with us and carry it into the game Saturday morning.”


On the loss two years ago in Seattle:

“It is still in the back of our mind a little bit, but at the same time we have to play for this year and this game, and we need to focus on what they bring to the table.”


Senior Vincent Rhodes


On keeping the momentum:

“You have to keep what you did last week in the back of your mind because they’re coming in with a good team and a good offensive line.”


On the last game in Seattle:

“It always stays in the back of your mind with a close game like that especially when we thought we were going to win. But now they have to come down and play in this Texas heat.”


Freshman Robert Griffin


On the win bringing confidence:

“It evens the playing field. We are 1-1 now, but we got that first win for Coach Briles and ourselves, so it definitely helped our confidence. This win shows that we can play and there isn’t a doubt anymore.”


On being the starting quarterback:

“I’m definitely ready but I’m not going to close my ears. Anybody who is going to give me advice; I’m here to learn. The more you learn the better you’re going to get.”


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