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All Is Quiet In Waco

Robert Griffin the Third, hereinafter referred to as TRIP, says the Baylor Bears are no longer about Smack talk....

In a pregame AP Article, "Baylor ready, not hyped for rematch..." TRIP says Baylor isn't talking this year. Obvious reasons aside, TRIP and those for whom he speaks say, "That game changed the rest of our season. . . . We can’t let any opportunity at any stage get too big for us. I remember a lot of people on this team that wanted to go out and destroy TCU. You can’t go into a game looking at it that way. ... I think that the feeling this year isn’t as hyped for the game, but it’s more of a ready feeling.” Smart. I prefer the opponents be dumb, frankly.

So, TCU can expect a Baylor team that is a little wiser this year. Patterson expects the game to be much closer. His new defensive linemen and some new starters on the secondary will get tested. All the defense will have to remain disciplined and focused. The front four won't have unfettered access to get to the pocket any way they can. They'll have to stay in their lanes and be mindful they may have to chase. This will buy TRIP a little more time to throw. That puts pressure on the secondary to hold coverage, and their ability to hold coverage is hindered by the fact that they can't turn their backs on the quarterback completely. They will have to keep a watchful eye to see if TRIP gets flushed out of the pocket, or more likely, to see if he flushes himself.

But in a football game against multi-dimensional quarterback, the ones who will have to shrink the field are the linebackers, which plays to the strength of TCU's defense, which returns Tank Carder and Tanner Brock. They will be the two that have to make green pastures suddenly extremely black and purple. Last year, they did their job, holding Griffin to a 1.5 yard rushing average. With the help of what I believe to be the most disciplined and fundamentally sound defense in all of college football, they basically converted instances where TRIP fled the pocket into incomplete passes.

TRIP has one more year under his belt and comes into the game fully healthy, physically anyway. I can't help but wonder, however, whether his comments to the AP suggest he may still be a little rattled from last year. Jumping on them quickly again may be all TCU needs to bring back all the nightmares, and play to their insecurities. But if TRIP squirts out early for a couple of long gains and (on the other side of the ball) Paschall shows signs of how hard it is to replace someone who can start as a rookie in the NFL, then tonight could be a nail biter.