One and done

After three years behind RG3, Nick Florence is out to define his legacy

Updated: July 25, 2012, 2:48 PM ET
By Sam Strong | ESPN The Magazine

Nick FlorenceSarah Glenn/Getty ImagesNick Florence says he's always been a Cowboys fan, but he's still going to root for RG3.

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Your career has been dictated by Robert Griffin III: In 2009, you started as a true freshman after he tore his ACL. Your redshirt was yanked last season when he had a concussion. Do you ever think, What if I hadn't played with RG3?
FLORENCE: It's tempting, but I don't know that I would trade anything. When he won the Heisman, I was pumped. We started a winning tradition at Baylor, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to carry it on.

What's your relationship with him like?
FLORENCE: We didn't hang out a ton outside of football, but in the locker room, on the field, we were right there. Growing up near Dallas, I've always been a Cowboys fan, but I'm still going to root for him.

Entering last season, it was clear RG3 would be the starter. Did that make the decision to redshirt easy?
FLORENCE: I obviously wanted to play another year, and I knew that I would likely be the backup last season. But I didn't know what life would look like if I redshirted as a junior. My wife and I thought it was the best decision for us, and Coach [Art] Briles agreed.

When Griffin went down with a concussion against Texas Tech on Nov. 26, why not preserve the redshirt with just one regular-season game left?
FLORENCE: I didn't even know he had a concussion. But when I saw his eyes coming out of the locker room after halftime, I knew it wasn't good. When Coach Briles told me to go in, that it was best for the team, I did. No question.

The team was clinging to a three-point lead and went on to a 66-42 win. Did that serve as vindication?
FLORENCE: It was a huge confidence booster. I hadn't really played a meaningful game in two years. You practice every day, but in the back of your mind you wonder if you still have it in a live situation. It goes to show that we were a team, and it wasn't a one-man show. Griffin would say the same thing.

How does the team change with you under center?
FLORENCE: I don't run a 4.4, and I can't hurdle guys like Griffin. But we're not going to stop running the same offense that puts up points. Despite what everyone thinks, we're not taking a step back.

Do you feel shortchanged knowing you have only one year to prove yourself?
FLORENCE: I want to be successful more for my teammates and Baylor Nation so they can have another memorable season. At least I get a shot. There are only 124 starting FBS QBs, and I'm one of them.

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