Big 12 Media Days: Baylor

DALLAS - Baylor head coach Art Briles seemed very comfortable Monday and was calling all media members by name. Briles, as expected, is feeling better about his Baylor program as quarterback Robert Griffin is back from last season's knee injury and ACL surgery. His team experienced high stress last season in losing Griffin and may be better at this stage going into this season.

Some prognosticators are picking the Bears to escape the Big 12 South cellar and they have Oklahoma State slipping into that spot. Briles sees no satisfaction in that and neither do his players. They have designs on more than a bump out of the cellar.

"What I don't want to do is make it seem like some of the players we had before might not be as talented as some of the guys we have now, which may not be the case," said Briles.

"It may or may not be. I'll tell you why I feel we're better now than we were in 2008 or even 2009, is because, you know, if you live with somebody for a certain amount of time, you either like them or you dislike them, either appreciate them or don't appreciate them, either work with them or you work against them.

"So we've been around these guys for 2 1/2 years, and the ones that are still with us and hanging around and part of our program, we appreciate them, and we've been working with them, and we've been working on common goals since we've been with them," continued Briles.

"The more people you've got stepping in the same direction, the more force, and the more power you have. So that's why I feel that we're better now, is because, you know, early on we were operating on a little bit of a high, a little bit of smoke and mirrors. We were trying to make things happen instead of expecting things to happen. Right now we've got a pretty calculated decision-making process into figuring out what we think's going to happen on each play.

"That's where you got to get as a football team. You've got to know, when something happens on either side of the ball or special teams, that you have a pretty predictable outcome."

Briles said he'll know for sure on Griffin when he takes that first snap in the first game. Baylor should be better on offense.

The defense will really be reliant on two key players to pick it up from last season in jumbo defensive tackle Phil Taylor, the transfer from Penn State, that after a disappointing season has lost some 30 pounds, and safety Tim Atchison, who played with a broken arm last season and will need to be the head hunter to replace Jordan Lake in the secondary.

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