Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Q & A

After seeing that my blog had been discussed, I decided to do a Q & A session for the fine folks over at Often it seems like fans are left in the dark regarding the happenings of the football program with the exception of 12 Saturdays in the fall. Hopefully my responses will shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes and leave you with a better appreciation for Baylor football.

1) What has been the most challenging aspect of your preparation?
The most challenging aspect has been being away from my wife, Lauren. We've only been married 2 months and its been hard not waking up next to her everyday. With regard to the training aspect, I have complete confidence in my trainer and never question or second guess his recommendations. Obviously the idea with a Combine/Pro Day is to ensure that all of your physical abilities and systems crest simultaneously to allow the best performance possible. This requires a bit of sophistication in the planning and periodization and I'm very happy to have placed that responsibility in the hands of my trainer, Carl Valle.

2) Did your experience at baylor prepare you well for the next level?
I believe it did. I can say that I've played against the best of the best in college football for the past four years (I think I've played against nearly half of the projected Top 32 players in the country). I've played in three very different offensive systems and picked up unique techniques and skills as a result. While I've heard some lament the fact that we play in the Big 12 South, I can say that it has been a fantastic experience and not ONE player on the team would have it any other way. Few, if any, conferences can boast the talent and competitiveness of the Big 12.

3) Does baylor have a good strength and conditioning program?
Yes, we do. The methods and techniques are effective and the team stayed strong and healthy throughout the season. The main thing is that the team has bought into Coach Kaz's system and vision. Coach Briles (who has a rare ability to diagnose weight and BF% by sight) is very adamant about having a strong, fast, well-conditioned football team and on any given day you can see the man himself practicing what he preaches on a power rack.

4) Why did we all cramp up against TCU at home a few years back??
An event that will live in infamy! Honestly the answer had NOTHING to do with our conditioning! We conditioned harder that summer than any that I've been a part of during my time on campus (I have the workout logs to prove it!). The coaches and staff hammered hydration all camp long and throughout game week. The general consensus was that it was related to nerves and excitement as it didn't occur in any practice or game before or after.

5) Does anyone on the team want to strangle ol' Johnnie Mo/John Morris for his sunshine pumping, "you almost got 'em" antics?
I've had the pleasure of sharing a few car rides and a flight to Big 12 Media Days with John and I can tell you that he bleeds green and gold! I think that the issue that you are referring to is not isolated to a certain group of people but rather is a part of the paradigm we have worked so hard to change. I can't tell you how many times people have patted me on the back and congratulated me with an "well at least we ALMOST beat XXXXXX." While I appreciate the gesture, it is time that people in Baylor Nation realize that losing isn't acceptable, not now or ever! I can tell you that it is much more than a "game" to everyone who is at the Highers Complex! For all the blood, sweat and tears along with the sacrifices that our players and coaches make on an ongoing basis, losing simply isn't a justifiable result. We aren't trying to be competitive or play close, we are trying to kick down the door and take the Big 12 by force! As soon as the fanbase and student body embrace this vision we will see a much needed change in the culture of Baylor sports.

6) what was guy morris like and what do you think of briles?
Coach Morriss was/is a very intense coach, a man of few words who demands that his players take a work like approach to the game and are self-motivated. I think it is unfair that he shoulders the majority of the blame for our lack of success during his tenure. At the end of the day, players have to play and I believe that we underachieved quite a few times in both '05 and '06.

Briles is a guy who makes football fun while at the same time getting the most out of his players. I can remember a few plays in practice and games in which I broke out a long gain with some great after the catch running only to be asked why I didn't score! He demands that his players take their game to the next level and go from "good to great." Practices are also a lot of fun, I recall a November practice where I pulled Romie out because I saw a one on one opportunity in the red zone:
Coach Briles: "T-Diddy, what are you doing?!"
Me: I'm about to score.
Coach Briles: Ok, I like it! (audibles from a running play to an inside fade to me for the touchdown)

Coach loves the game and takes care of his players, I know that everyone who wears a BU on their helmet wants to win for him.

7) Is Szymanski's neck really that long up close?

Yes it is but if you mention it you will receive a quick volley of insults in his West Texas drawl! Can't say enough good things about Blake, great teammate and individual.

8) Why the reference to the Top Gun volleyball scene on your blog? That's kinda conflicted, if ya know what I mean.
Well I am married and very secure in my sexuality! As I said on that entry, I love that movie and sand volleyball. Furthermore, I happen to like Kenny Loggins! In seriousness, any time you talk sand volleyball you can't help but think of that very scene. As some of you know, I am a FIJI, although not nearly as active as most fraternity members(i.e not really active since '05 or so) and the White House tournament is coming up in April. I haven't ruled out making a run for the title this year!

9) What were the biggest internal changes Briles brought about, and how did they impact the teams attitude/performance.
The most measurable change was the energy and excitement he brought to the program. From day 1 he made it clear that we were about one thing: WINNING!

10) What is your fondest memory of BU football?
This season's rout of A&M in my final home game is the most memorable game to me. Frankly, the relationships I built with my teammates over 3-4 years is something that I treasure just as much. I've lived and shared life with these guys and I already miss them.

11) Describe the growth you saw in Robert Griffin - from a leadership, maturity, and performance standard - from spring drills last year through the end of the season - and where you think he might lead this team in the future.
Robert brings an intensity and business-like approach to the game that I haven't seen in any other freshman in four years. I think that his development as a true dual threat QB over the next few years is going to strike fear into head coaches and coordinators across the country. He's not content with being called a scrambler or running quarterback and I think he's eager to prove his chops as a dangerous pocket-passer along with his apparent gifts when the play breaks down. The sky is the limit for Rob.

12) From your perspective, what is it that sets Baylor apart, and why should the top talent want to play here.
I think that the confluence of being a top academic school, Big 12 athletics and a Christ-first mentality makes Baylor a special place. Talented players want to play with talented players and coaches and for winning teams. A recruit to Baylor University can expect to play for one of the fastest rising teams in the country and in the top Division in the top Conference in the NCAA. In addition, they can expect to receive a unique college experience that will prepare them for life in the 21st century while instilling timeless values and virtues.

13) Which team did you really get up for - in a visceral, want to drive them into the ground and rip out their throats kinda way - and why?
While every game on the schedule was the biggest game of the year, I can say that in my time at Baylor we have developed a legitimate rivalry with the folks in College Station. This game was always special for me due to the fact that the majority of my family are TAMU grads. I'm excited to see where this rivalry goes and I can't wait until the Bears go to Kyle Field next year.....

14) Who were all the ladies that attended the games wearing your number? I assume one was your mother, but there were many others who looked roughly similar. Great, enthusiastic fans. Will be tough to replace - just like Trent Shelton's dad.
The ladies that you saw are my mother and aunts along with my now wife, her friends and mom. I can say that we had a lot of fun over the past four years and it was a pleasure to be able to play in front of my family every Saturday.

15) What are your plans for life after a hopefully long career in the NFL?
I want to play football as long as I can and raise a family with Lauren. Lee Hays always told me that I'd make the perfect pushman for a bobsled so maybe I'll make a run for Olympic Gold at some point as well! Perhaps law school in the future, although I prefer to keep my learning out of the classroom from here on out! I've always been intrigued by politics and current events and eventually I could see myself stepping into that arena, Lord knows we need it now! I'm open to whatever the Lord leads me to do, I just want to make an impact with my life and make it count in a major way.

16)Who are the best up-and-coming receivers (people that didn't play last year but you saw them pratice) for our next season?
Lanear Sampson and Romie Blaylock come to mind, both are very talented and capable of making plays. Also don't forget Mikail Baker (fastest on the team BAR NONE) and Ernest Smith who are NFL talents.

17)Do you think we can replace our tackles on offense and if so, with whom?
Let's be honest, it's going to be hard to replace Smooth and Dan. Both are top notch and Smooth is a legitimate #1 overall pick. The good news is that Hearvey, Griesenbeck and Bradley have spent at least a year learning from Smooth and Dan and will most certainly benefit from another off-season under Kaz. I'm not sure about the recruits that we are bringing in but I do know that Briles won't leave any stone unturned, we will be fine at the tackle position this year.

18)What are two of the best things Coach Briles did this year to make playing at Baylor better?
I have three: Energy, belief and swagger!

19)If you could change anything about the way the program is currently set up, what would it be?
The opening of the new facility goes a long way but I think that an on campus stadium would be unbelievable. I know that this may be decades away from a reality but I know that it would make a measurable difference.

20)Did you feel like you got a quality education at Baylor?
Ya I think I gots a good edumacation! 

21)If you don't get drafted and you had the opportunity to try out for any NFL team you wanted, which one would you choose?
Being from Dallas I have always been a Cowboy fan. I would love to play with a star on my helmet!

Sic 'Em,


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