Sooners Await Challenge from RGIII

NORMAN, Okla. — There's a lot of great quarterbacks in this league.

Landry Jones. Brandon Weeden. Ryan Tannehill. Collin Klein.

Just to name a few.

But there's just something different about the one the Sooners are set to face on Saturday.

What is it?

OU cornerback Demontre Hurst sums it up in one word.

"I could probably say his athleticism," Hurst said.

That particular athleticism is what allows Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III to beat defenses in multiple ways.

"He can throw the ball, he can run, he can make plays when he's scrambling," Hurst said. "You know, a smart defense has to lock onto their guys when he's scrambling because he can still throw the ball down the field, make plays, so that's pretty much what stands out is his athleticism is amazing."

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who has cooked up great defensive game plans time after time and held Griffin to just 207 total yards last year in a 53-24 Sooner rout, used as another word to describe him.

"He's a very explosive player," Venables said, before making a comparison OU fans can well relate to. "He's like having a bigger Ryan Broyles at quarterback. So, he's a great, great danger. He's got incredible speed, great burst to him, great short area quickness, can make you miss in space. You know, he's kind of got it all unfortunately."

Unfortunately for the Sooners, anyway.

So far this year, Griffin has thrown for more than 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns, completing 224-of-302 passes--that's 74.2 percent, good for third in the country--with just five interceptions.

That's good for an incredible 188.6 quarterback efficiency, which ranks him third in the nation behind only Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Houston's Case Keenum.

Then, throw in 478 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns, and Griffin has accounted for 3,571 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2011, a defensive coordinator's nightmare.

"Just his style and again, the style of offense that they run [make him difficult to defend]," Venables said. "Again, he's not just a runner, but he's not just a thrower. He does both and when he's under duress, he's got great, great poise and composure to continue to keep his eyes down the field."

From that, it just comes back to the original point.

"Just because his athleticism and, you know, his quickness, [he's really tough]," said defensive end Frank Alexander. "This year he's trying to be more of a pocket passer. He's completing a high percentage of his passes, and, you know, if you can do that and be a running quarterback, that makes you just as big of a threat. So, we just got to do a good job of getting after him and containing him and not letting him get out of the pocket."

He has been sacked 20 times this season, including five times each in 55-28 and 36-35 losses to Texas A&M and Kansas State, respectively.

So, teams have been able to get some pressure on him, but otherwise he's been very potent back there in the pocket.

And that will make for a good battle between OU's defense and Baylor's offense come Saturday.

"Going against him is going to be a pretty good challenge and we're ready for it and we just got to keep grinding hard in practice and get ready to get their best," Hurst said.

Griffin hopes to continue his 2011 success; the Sooners hope to once again go into Waco and derail it.

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