"They're Still Baylor"

Bait was dangled in front of the faces of several Longhorns on Monday, the chance to take a swipe at Baylor there for the taking.

While no Steve Edmond-like sound bites arose, at least one player teetered on the line of trash talk.

“They’re still Baylor,” senior wide receiver John Harris said. “Just because they started playing better in this era, that’s good for them. But we are who we are. We’re still Texas.”

That statement didn’t gain the national steam that Edmond’s off-season comments did when he was asked how much the loss to Baylor, which cost the Longhorns the Big 12 title, still bothered him.

“We could have won the conference. Even though I didn’t get a chance to play in the Baylor game, I really feel like we should have beat Baylor,” Edmond said after Texas’ spring scrimmage. “I really don’t like Baylor. I still think they’re trash.”

Edmond was sidelined with a lacerated liver at the time and watched the game with other injured teammates in Austin.

“I’m mad as I can be. I knew we were a better team than they were,” Edmond said. “And then… Baylor gets the win and acts like they had never won before. Even in high school, you know how to react when you win a game. It’s not like you never won a game.

“I’m like, ‘They won it, so what?’ They still suck to me.”

Edmond did not attend Monday’s news conference.

While players wouldn’t say if his feelings were mutual throughout the locker room, there is no secret that these two teams don’t like each other.

It seemed as though Texas players were holding back what they really wanted to say about their rival from 100 miles north on Interstate 35. They probably never envisioned being asked questions about Baylor like they were, about a team UT has dominated for so long who will walk into Darrel K. Royal Texas-Memorial Stadium no less than a two-touchdown favorite.

Texas leads the all-time series 74-25-2 and has won 17 of the last 21 meetings, including 13 of the past 16. But Art Briles’ bunch has won 3 of 4, including a 30-10 victory in Waco last season that clinched their first Big 12 title.

“Anybody that beats me, I don’t like,” Quandre Diggs deadpanned. “It’s not just because it’s Baylor; it’s because we lose. Those guys have a great team, and I think we have a great team too. We’re just going to go out and throw body blows.”

Texas has won 10 of the last 11 meetings in Austin, including a 56-50 shootout in 2012. Charlie Strong, though, knows that a shootout like that isn’t likely to end in the Longhorns’ favor.

“No, we can't get into a track meet, and we know that as a staff,” Strong said. “There's no way. We can't generate the points to get into a track meet with Baylor at all because like I said, we can't allow them to just take the ball and go drive and score within two minutes and then we come back over.”

Texas is averaging just 21.2 points per game, which is second-fewest in the Big 12. Baylor leads the country averaging 56.8 points per game.

“Just their consistency with how good they've been over the past few years has been tremendous, and that's a tribute to them and their coaching staff and the players they have,” Jordan Hicks said. “They're a great offense definitely.”

One of the main reasons for Baylor’s success is the Bears’ offensive line and the quickness/accuracy with which quarterback Bryce Petty releases the ball. He hasn’t been sacked all season.

Hicks knows that disrupting the pocket and getting to Petty is the key for Texas’ defense.

“If you keep Bryce Petty back there unprotected through the whole game, he's not going to feel any pressure,” Hicks said. “If their offensive line is doing that great of a job, he's back there just making every throw he can. We've got to make sure we don't let him get in a rhythm because once they get in a rhythm, they're stacking points on us. It's going to be huge for our front seven this game.”

Cedric Reed said the defense was going to play with a chip on its shoulder and will do what it can to get that first sack on the elusive Petty.

“I think the offense hasn't given up a sack,” Reed said. “Bryce Petty hasn't let anybody sack him. He gets the ball out fast. If anybody gets close to him, I think he's throwing it out of bounds - he definitely doesn't take any hits. I think it's going to be a big challenge just for us to get after him. In our game plan, Coach [Vance] Bedford will have a lot of blitzes dialed up for him just to make him uncomfortable, and I think that's the formula to win this game.”

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