After his team’s second half comeback win against Sam Houston State on Saturday, head coach Art Briles was asked if he was more impressed with Sam Houston State in the first half or less impressed with his own players.
“I don’t think we know our team yet,” was Briles’ reply. “I think we’re still searching for our identity.”
Twice during the post-game interviews Briles mentioned the identity crisis his team seemed to be facing.
However, when quarterback Nick Florence took to the microphone, he seemed to have a different outlook on the situation.
“When you have a team around you, and it’s not all about you, you can do a lot of things,” said Florence.
Throughout his entire interview, Florence didn’t seem to have the same questions about the team’s identity as Briles. He seemed pretty confident in the fact that the identity of his team was now embedded in just that – the team.
Everyone knows how offensively dominant the Bears were last season. They averaged 45.3 points per game, with 4,569 passing yards and 3,063 rushing yards for a total of 7,632 offensive yards for the year.
And of course we can’t forget the three most anticipated NFL draft picks to come from Baylor. Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright, and Terrance Ganaway – all offensive powerhouses.
But Florence is the leader of the Bears this year, and his vision for the team is different.
“We have a team this year and I think it’s one of the best teams we’ve ever had as far as playing as a family, and playing for each other,” said Florence.
Florence admitted the offense was awful during the first half of the game, and largely relied on the defense in the second half to pull them out of the rut.
Now don’t take this the wrong way. This isn’t me saying Briles doesn’t think his team works well together. He also gave them credit for how well they played as a unit.
“I know we have a bunch of guys who will fight hard and believe in each other in that locker room that have a lot of character,” said Briles. “Honestly, what they did tonight under that circumstance was impressive.”
Unfortunately, this came right after he said his team didn’t have an identity, for the second time.
I’m not sure what kind of “identity” Briles is looking to fulfill. I don’t know if he wants to be the next LSU defense or USC offense. You have to build those legacies before they just appear. Or maybe he just got so comfortable with RG3 being the face of his team, he’s not sure how to move past that.
Whatever it is, I think his players have figured it out before he has. They understand the importance of teamwork. They understand the defense needs to go out and force turnovers, then the offense needs to capitalize on those opportunities.
And at the end of the season, isn’t that what it’s all about? A team, stepping out on a field together and winning?
-- Savannah Pullin