Art Briles has taken a sort of c'est la vie approach to the atmosphere, and what his team will face on the field, at West Virginia. That's not to note Briles doesn't have a healthy dose of respect for the Mountaineers. It's just that the veteran knows there are some aspects one can control, and some one cannot.
"Well, it's another road game," he said. "Nothing on road trips ever goes exactly how you planned. We'll load up and go to West Virginia and load back up and come home. … Any time you go on the road and have an opportunity to get out of there with more points than the other team, it's a big deal. They are going to have a good stadium, it's not like it's going to be a big first-time deal for them. They have been doing things right up there for a long time. The only significance is that it's their first Big 12 game. … Just West Virginia football in general, I think, especially over the last decade, they have been a pretty dominant football program. They have not dropped off since Dana (Holgorsen) got there."
Briles did mention the early kickoff time as yet another challenge in a host of them for a Baylor team that has played on three different days of the week in as many games.
"(The noon kick time) coincides with what has really been going on since we started the season," he said. "It's been tough to get into any kind of routine playing on a Sunday, Saturday, Friday. So we've had to really adjust our schedules. It's part of it. It's going to be an early kickoff to our bodies Saturday morning, no question. It'll be a little bit of an adjustment. We will do a good job making sure our guys are fresh come game time."
Both teams will pit offenses averaging about 50 points per game each against defenses designed for the spread, pass-first style of play. It will be the most similar-looking opponent of the season for Baylor and West Virginia, and the game should serve each program as a measuring stick for the remainder of Big 12 play.
"There are some similarities, scheme-wise, when you think about Oklahoma State, Texas Tech," Briles said of WVU's Air Raid. "Talent-wise, they are as talented as anybody in the league. That's reflective of them winning a BCS game last year and being No. 7 this year. … Dana is a great coach. He has done a great job everywhere he has been. He is very passionate, very attentive to detail, and very intelligent. Very good schematic mind. No nonsense-type of person. I am certainly not surprised at all where he is at right now. I could see it back in 2000."
As might be expected, Briles was asked to compare West Virginia's Geno Smith with Baylor-turned-Washington Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III. Briles made an apropos comparison between the Heisman race and another sport.
"It's constant. It's like golf," he said. "You make one bad shot and everybody is talking about the one bad shot instead of the 68 you hit right. You can be in it one week, and not the next. That's what happened with Robert. We were hot early, cooled back off and then came back at the end. … (Geno is) phenominal. He's why they are where they are at, No 7 in American. He's in control of what goes on on the football field. Production, I see a lot of comparisons, and that's the bottom line. Whatever business you're in, that's what it's all about, production. And he's been very productive."
Other Opposing Insights:
"We have a lot of growth ahead of us. We are still learning and growing, and there's things out there we feel we can do on both sides of the ball."
"Let's go to West Virginia and have some fun," Briles said.