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Clear It: Florence Focused Going Into UT Game

Oct. 19, 2012

By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Insider

Maybe he's trying to say it before anyone else, but Baylor senior quarterback Nick Florence has made a point of repeating over and over again that he's not RG3.

But in Saturday's 49-21 loss to TCU, Florence admits that he tried to force a pass or two into windows that only 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III could have thrown.

"I just try to be who I am," said Florence, who was picked off a career-high four times in Saturday's loss. "I go out there every day and practice hard and learn in the film room and just try to do what I do and not try to be Robert Griffin. That's the biggest thing is I'm just going to try to do what I do and play within my abilities. Saturday night, I tried to force some things in, and it didn't work out well.

"I've got to learn from that and just continue to, `Hey, I'm going to manage this offense, I'm going to put the ball where it needs to go.' And I just want to go out and have fun, too. That's the other thing we've got to realize is that it's a game. We want to have fun, and we want to win in the process."

But Florence also knows that the Bears (3-2, 0-2) can't win Saturday's 7 p.m. game against Texas (4-2, 1-2) if they turn it over six times like they did against TCU.

"(TCU's defense) did a lot of things really well, but I think we made them look extremely, extremely good," he said. "I'm not taking anything away from them, but those turnovers are more us than them. They're a great defense and they showed that, you can't take that away from them. They're a good team, and they won the game fair and square, but we made mistakes that we shouldn't have made."

On his first interception, Florence said there was a tight window and he "probably shouldn't have made the throw."

"There's a little hole there, and Lenny (Lanear Sampson) got pushed a little bit," said Florence, who was 12-of-19 for 289 yards and two touchdowns. "I've got to take that into account and be smarter, be more careful in what I do."

The next series, the Bears drove from their own 25 to TCU's 26 in 12 plays. But Florence was sacked for a seven-yard loss and then got flushed out of the pocket on third-and-15, when he threw another interception in traffic.

"I was just trying to make a play," he said. "Honestly, I just wanted to make a first down, so we could score. That's where you've got to be smart with the football, understand where we are on the field and just take what I can get and kick a field goal and get three points out of. . . . Three points would have been huge there."

Partially blaming Florence's inexperience - he's only started five games in the last three years - Baylor head coach Art Briles said he was guilty of "bypassing some of the realities of playing the position, just assuming with his knowledge and with his intelligence, that every situation would flow into his mind and he would be in good shape in every one of them."

"And that's never the case," Briles said. "I've been doing this 34 years. I know more today than I knew yesterday, and I'll know more tomorrow than I know today, because you learn every day. So that, to me, is on me and it's on us and it's not so much on Nick."

With Florence leading the nation in total offense and the Bears averaging over 50 points per game, Briles said you "become a little more aggressive with the football in situations, because everything has been going good."

"It's like if you're hitting golf shots, and you're hitting them all straight. And then all of a sudden, you slice one or two," he said. "And you're thinking, `Why is this happening?' It's hard to maintain a high level of consistency of positive results over an extended period of time... That was a good thing about us last year is we got hot late in the season and we just had to ride that high for six weeks, and then we had a break and a bowl game. But it's hard to maintain a high level of consistency over a long period of time, because there's so much parity involved."

What Florence has to do, he said, is clear it and move on and not continue to beat himself up for his mistakes.

"If you don't clear it, it's going to affect the rest of the season," said Florence, who has thrown for 1,874 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions for a 176.60 passing efficiency. "It's easier said than done, but I'm going to do the best job I can to go out and put that thing behind me and learn from it. Depending on the situation and what happens, I'm going to try to be smart with the ball and smart where I throw it."

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