Art Briles, Baylor Bears Prepare for Gridiron Road Battle Against No. 4 TCU

Denton Ramsey@DentonRamseySenior Analyst ISeptember 15, 2010

This Saturday (Sept. 18) will be the first major test for Baylor football head coach Art Briles and sophomore quarterback sensation Robert Griffin III as the Bears prepare to battle the highly touted TCU Horned Frogs on the road.

Both teams are 2-0 entering Saturday afternoon’s contest, although No. 4 TCU has a lot more riding on this game than Baylor.

But don’t overlook the Bears, regardless of whether a majority of the players on the team were just kids (on not yet even born) when Baylor faced TCU annually in the old-school Southwest Conference (SWC).

“If I said ‘SWC’ [our players] would have no idea what I was talking about and rightfully so,” Briles told Baylor’s Official Athletic Site. “Is it a rivalry? I don’t think it is. When did it begin and how long has it been going on? I guess a long time playing throughout the Southwest Conference for years. 

“If we’re looking at it that way then you’ve got a bunch of rivalries because we’ve played a lot of teams through the years. It’s an attractive game from a fan standpoint in that it’s regionally located. We’re 80 minutes from there and they’re 80 minutes from here. It’s a lot of the same people wanting the same thing.”

And that same thing means “winning,” for both the Bears and Horned Frogs alike.

“I think it definitely tests how deep we are and how focused we are,” Baylor junior linebacker Elliot Coffey said. “[We need] to be focused every play and make sure that we’re playing our game and our defense all four quarters.”

So what are Briles’ overall thoughts on the 2010 TCU football team?

“They are very sound on both sides of the ball,” Briles said. “I’ve always been impressed with them offensively. I like what they’ve done schematically for a while. We’re talking six, seven or eight years.

They throw the ball well and they run a little option and stuff. Andy Dalton is a four-year starter that really does an outstanding job for them. He protects the football and is a very accurate passer. He went to Katy High School and won a lot of games. He’s been around and done a lot for a long time. He was Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year last year.

“Defensively, I think when you talk TCU, everyone thinks great defense. I think that’s the thing that comes to mind. That’s what makes them so impressive now is that they are really good on both sides of the ball.

They’re always going to be good defensively; that’s always kind of been their trademark. It’s what they’ve hung their hat on particularly in the last eight to 10 years. They are just a good, sound football team with guys that play very hard with a lot of confidence and believe in what they’re doing.”

Defense will definitely be a key to victory for both teams, as the trademarked TCU secondary battles a new-look Baylor football team intent on reaching a postseason bowl.

“I haven’t been able to watch a lot of film on [TCU] yet, but Coach Briles is saying what we need to do is stop the run,” Baylor sophomore defensive back Chance Casey said. “I’m counting on our D-line and our linebackers to do that and once we do that, then we’ll just have to start airing it out.”

If the Bears defense can in fact shut down or limit the TCU offense, look for Baylor to come away with a remarkable and national attention-getting victory this Saturday on the road.

Either way, look for Saturday’s showdown between Baylor and TCU to be a barn burner from kickoff to the final buzzer.

Watch out, NCAA football world; the Bears are about to be re-introduced to the nation this Saturday afternoon at TCU…

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at