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Monday, August 29, 2011
Who's got what when Frogs, Bears meet?

By Jeff Caplan

The last time the Baylor Bears saw the TCU Horned Frogs a year ago in Forth Worth the game was over so swiftly and decisively that Bears speedster quarterback Robert Griffin III barely got out of neutral before everything else was inconsequential.

Andy Dalton diced the Bears for 11 consecutive completions to start the game and touchdowns on TCU's first five drives. By halftime the Frogs had racked up 558 yards and led hopeful, yet woefully overwhelmed Baylor, 35-3.

The teams meet again Friday night to open an intriguing 2011 season for both. This time the game will be played in Waco. This time the Bears return the experienced QB in Griffin as the 14th-ranked Frogs break in Dalton's replacement, sophomore Casey Pachall.

So what did the Bears take away from last season's 45-10 spanking?

"I guess you can't take a lot away from it because we didn’t leave much there," Baylor coach  Art Briles said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. "We haven’t really discussed it that much."

Maybe not, but TCU coach Gary Patterson certainly doesn't buy that Bears have forgotten that September pummeling. Why else, Patterson noted, would the Bears, eager contenders in the Big 12 South, supposedly sign "Beat TCU" on posters during a meet-and-greet with fans?

"We know this, when a team plays with hatred, which is what they are going to be, then you have a caged animal," Patterson said. "You’re going to have to go in and take the ballgame. They signed every one of their posters down there, “Beat TCU” at Meet the Bears Days. We get online. We see what’s being said and I hear everything that’s below the line. You don’t hear anything from us because we’ve been where we’ve been and we understand we have to be the best football team we can be."

You also don't hear anything because for more than two weeks Patterson has had his practices locked down to outsiders and his players' mouths under lock and key as far as the media is concerned. The lone voice emanating from TCU practices for most of this long, hot month has been that of the head coach.

That's Patterson's M.O. before playing in-state opponents. He doesn't want to give his players an opportunity to fire up a foe with words. But, it's also because Patterson isn't exactly sure what he'll see from a team with plenty of new starters that don't get as much attention as the one under center.

As for Briles' bunch, he's certainly hoping that after rebounding to finish 7-6 and end a 16-year bowl drought last season that his team will more prepared to handle TCU this time around.

"Quite honestly, I think our mentality will be better possibly than what it was a year ago," he said. "Last year, certainly we were in a stage of wondering where we were as a football team. I think we grew a little bit as a team as the year went on as most teams do. But this year, I think starting out we’re farther along than what we were a year ago at this time."