Commentary

Baylor offense more than RG3

The dynamic Bears' quarterback has speedy receivers at his disposal

Updated: November 29, 2011, 2:32 PM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- At Baylor there is more than a groundswell for Robert Griffin III, there is an all-out Heisman campaign.

[+] EnlargeBaylor's Robert Griffin III
Sarah Glenn/Getty ImagesBaylor's Robert Griffin III has greatly improved his passing skills.
It's complete with the website (bu-rg3.com), a promotional video (no, all the highlights are not against Kansas); academic accolades (he graduated No. 7 in his high school class); and of course, stats (way too many to list here).

All Griffin and Baylor lack in their quest for the school's first ever Heisman is one more stat-packed game and one more win for the Bears.

"That's not going to happen," Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson said. "We're not going to let that happen."

Yeah, well, there is saying, and then there is doing. No one has stopped Griffin this season. In fact, the only thing to temporarily sideline the quarterback was a concussion against Texas Tech last week.

That blow, from which Griffin has recovered, had Texas coach Mack Brown joking there should be a mandatory one-week suspension for all players who suffer even the slightest ding to the helmet. If only.

Where there were no jokes being thrown around was in the office of Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Brown poked his head in there Monday morning and found Diaz scratching his.

"I've never seen this many deep touchdown passes in my coaching career," Diaz told Brown. "It is unbelievable to watch these guys. They just sling it deep. They're just amazing. They can just score so fast."

Everything with Griffin appears to be done with alacrity. The junior came to the program from Copperas Cove as one of the top track athletes in the state.

"A beast," was the way Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro described him in high school.

"We raced and raced, and it has been like neck and neck, and I couldn't beat him," Vaccaro said. "Brutal."

Back then it was the 400 meters. He set state records in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. His time in the latter was one hundredth of a second off the national prep record. So while it is not exactly tall buildings in a single bound with this guy, he's got the faster than a speeding bullet part.

"He is a guy, when you go into the game, he is such a dynamic player that he changes the game," Brown said. "And when you look at a football team when you're preparing for them, you see who can dominate a ballgame, and he does that."

Griffin has done it by evolving.

"There was a time, when he was a true freshman, we would really game plan for his legs and really dare him to beat us through the air," Texas safety Blake Gideon said.

Don't even think about trying that now. Griffin is top 10 in passing efficiency (191.10) yards per attempt (10.6), passing touchdowns (34) and passing yards per game (334.4).

[+] EnlargeKeenan Robinson
Patrick Green/Icon SMIKeenan Robinson and Texas' linebackers will have the tough task of containing Baylor's rush attack.
Over the past two seasons, Griffin has 40 touchdowns of 20 or more yards. That's seven more than the guy in second -- Boise State's Kellen Moore. Texas doesn't have to go much farther than co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to find out how good Moore is. Which is why Harsin, who knows how devastating a solid passing game can be, is imploring his offense to lend a hand to what is sure to be a defense pulled taffy-thin by Griffin.

"We're going to have to extend drives," Harsin said. "Field goals are not going to be the way to go in this game. It's going to have to be touchdowns."

The thought being that no matter how good the Texas defense is, Baylor is going to score. How much and how often is where the worry comes in. To the Longhorns' credit, they are the top team in the country when it comes to defending the long touchdown pass.

Texas hasn't allowed a touchdown pass of 20 or more yards. The Longhorns are third nationally in the fewest plays of 20 or more yards allowed. On top of that, the last five weeks, only LSU and Alabama have allowed fewer yards per game.

But, again, Texas has not faced an offense like Baylor's.

"This is not a 'We will take a shot a quarter,' " said Diaz of Baylor's propensity to throw the bomb. "They are relentless in their pursuit of explosive plays."

Down and distance mean nothing. Some might say Oklahoma State is of the same mold, and that is true to a point. But Baylor has a triple-threat quarterback who can beat a team with the pass, the run or passing on the run. Baylor is also faster at wide receiver.

"The other [opponents] didn't have a 4x100 track team on the outside on every play," Diaz said.

One of the others, Oklahoma, did have a Heisman candidate at its quarterback position, Landry Jones. At least he was until Griffin and the Bears raced past him and the Sooners.

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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