BU football kicks of 2009 seasonSept. 2, 2009
By Derek Smith
That's head coach Art Briles at the end of last season, looking forward to this one on Inside Baylor Sports. On the surface, a 4-8 record in Briles and his staff's first season in Waco wasn't a cause for celebration. But solid play against some top tier teams, talented players on both sides of the ball, and a year for the new staff and players to gel under their belts have given Baylor fans legitimate hope--something that hasn't always been in great supply.
Senior safety Jordan Lake, one of the leaders on the team, said the process of learning new coaches and a new scheme is one that naturally slows things down a bit. This year, he sees the improvement that comes when coaches and players are completely in sync.
The final month of the last season had people hopeful. But sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin has them buzzing. The Copperas Cove product dazzled with his ability to both throw and run the ball, and pull off some of the most athletic plays Baylor fans have seen.
It wasn't only Baylor fans taking notice, but the sports nation as well. Griffin's antics appeared on numerous highlight shows, and helped spur ESPN The Magazine to do a four-page story on the program. It's pretty rare that a magazine of that stature devotes one page per win to a program, but Griffin knows it will all dry up if he doesn't elevate his game.
As the national media takes note, the Baylor Athletic Dept. sees a surge in interest as well. John Garrison is the associate athletic director for marketing.
Garrison says ticket sales have greatly exceeded prior years, and season ticket sales may actually set a program record if the pace continues. But with increased attention comes increased expectation, and Art Briles feels his program has growing to do before it becomes a truly respected opponent on other teams' schedules.
Jordan Lake says that as the team strives to meet those expectations, they're buoyed by the support they're receiving.
The season kicks off Saturday at Wake Forest, with the first home game September 19th against UConn, a chance for the fans to look for signs of improvement, dream about bowl games, and maybe enjoy a few more plays like this one.
For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.