Aggies prepare to face No. 20 Baylor’s Griffin
Texas A&M has allowed two quarterbacks to set school records
for passing against its nation’s worst pass defense this
This week the 21st-ranked Aggies are in for another challenge
when they face No. 20 Baylor and star quarterback Robert Griffin
III. Griffin is the second most efficient passer in the nation and
his 360 yards of total offense a game rank fifth.
The Aggies allowed Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden and Arkansas
quarterback Tyler Wilson to set school passing records against them
and are yielding almost 348 yards passing a game.
When Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter was asked
about the challenged Griffin presents this week, he shook his head
and chuckled before answering.
”I think he’s a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate,” DeRuyter
said. ”He affects the game and is as important to his team as
anyone in the country. The way he can stress the defense by moving
in the pocket or running the football, he’s an extremely difficult
person to try to defend. Our guys understand that and we’ll be up
for the challenge.”
Though the Aggies have certainly worried about Griffin in past
meetings, they’re much more concerned with him this season because
of his increased passing accuracy.
”He’s throwing at an 82-percent efficiency,” Texas A&M
coach Mike Sherman said. ”He has one interception and 19
touchdowns. Last year he had 22 for the whole season. He’s hitting
on all cylinders. His accuracy as a quarterback has been the
biggest thing. They are a big downfield play-action team this
But the Aggies know better than to ignore his skill as a runner
after he had a 71-yard touchdown run against them last year in a
42-30 win by A&M. The 92 yards rushing he had last season
against A&M were the second most he had all year.
”He’s a very fast player and we’re going to have to try to
contain him,” senior defensive back Terrence Frederick said.
Sherman, the former Green Bay Packers coach, compared Griffin to
an NFL quarterback known for his versatility.
”Anytime the ball is in his hands he can throw it for a
touchdown or run it for a touchdown,” he said. ”So you have to
respect both aspects of his play. When he starts to run he’s like
Michael Vick. You don’t know what to expect. He’s more accurate,
Griffin’s speed and willingness to run the ball makes blitzing
him a scary proposition. But DeRuyter said the Aggies won’t change
their game plan drastically because of the opponent.
”We’re going to do what we do,” he said ”You have to be
judicious with someone like him. We’re going to mix things up. I
think you have to do something to disrupt him. When he’s
comfortable in the pocket he’s extremely accurate. We have to do
some things to get him out of his comfort zone, and that’s
hopefully through some disguised coverage and some pressure.”
DeRuyter has noticed an increased confidence in the Bears this
season and he’s hoping his defense can find that kind of confidence
soon. The Aggies were struggling after two straight losses where
they gave up big first half leads, but bounced back with a 45-40
win over previously undefeated Texas Tech.
DeRuyter has been trying to stress to his team the importance of
forcing turnovers with the Aggies ranked 119th in the country in
the category after forcing just three this season.
”We’ve been horrible this year,” DeRuyter said of their
inability to cause turnovers. ”The other day we were close on four
different plays. We had two passes hit us in the hands. Twice we
get sacks on the quarterback, the ball is out and we weren’t there
to get it. You can have momentum-changing plays when you get
takeaways, and I think we’re really close right now … it will
continue to be an emphasis for us.”
The Aggies plan to have a one player on defense in specifically
in charge of keeping tabs on Griffin on each play on Saturday. So
far, DeRuyter hasn’t decided who that will be. He joked that he
wished he could bring back a former player for the job.
”I’d probably make a call to the 303 area code and try and get
No. 40 back here,” DeRuyter said referring to former A&M
linebacker/defensive end Von Miller, who was taken by Denver with
the second overall pick in this year’s draft. ”I don’t know. We
are in the middle of discussions right now. He’s a guy you have to
take account for. He’s a game changer. We’ll have a plan for