Griffin shows promise in Baylor's loss
Posted by ESPN's Tim Griffin
WACO, Texas -- Robert Griffin called his first college action a learning experience.
Long-suffering Baylor fans, who greeted the heralded freshman quarterback with a standing ovation when he entered the game, were just excited he was playing.
Griffin showed flashes of productivity after entering the game early in the second quarter. He directed two touchdown drives in Wake Forest's 41-13 victory over the Bears, but was more concerned with two fumbles that snuffed out scoring drives in the second half than his success.
Baylor coach Art Briles opted to start senior transfer Kirby Freeman in Thursday's game. Freeman completed only 2 of 7 passes and led the Bears to only one first down in a struggling first-half offensive performance.
By the time Griffin entered, the Bears were in a 17-0 hole. It would have been easy for the freshman known as "Rambo" by his Baylor teammates to have been shell-shocked by the long odds he was facing.
But like his namesake fictional hero, Griffin seemed to single-handedly boost the Bears with his mere presence.
He looked like the poor man's Vince Young when he made two scintillating fakes on the same run, juking two defenders on an ankle-bending run as he streaked 22 yards down the left sideline.
That play energized the Bears and the crowd as Jacoby Jones scored on a 12-yard run on the next play. It provided one of the few bursts of excitement for a Floyd Casey Stadium crowd that was stilled for most of the first half.
"When I got in I just wanted to make it where I wasn't going back out of the game," Griffin said. "I provided a spark for the offense and we did some different stuff. But that spark has to last longer than a quarter."
After a struggling start, Griffin completed his first eight passes of the second half. But he was more disappointed in two botched handoffs with tailback Jay Finley that resulted in fumbles.
"I was reading the defensive ends too long which confused Jay," Griffin said. "Sometimes he thought I was giving it and I was trying to take. It was just a miscommunication ... it was my fault and I've got to do a better job than that."
Griffin rebounded from those struggles to direct a scoring drive on his next-to-last possession, scoring on a 5-yard run.
"He was very poised and seemed to be confident from the start," Briles said. "That's never going to be an issue for him."
His serpentine running style and strong passing skills impressed Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, who said he was already dreading Griffin's visit to Winston-Salem, N.C., next season.
"He was pretty impressive," Grobe said. "For a young kid to get out there and do some of the things he did tonight, he got my attention. I think as he gets more comfortable and they start having a little bit more time with him, they are going to do some good stuff. He gave us fits tonight."
Briles returned Freeman to the game for Baylor's final possession and said he would decide more on his starter for the Bears' game next week against Northwestern State on Friday.