SPORTS ADDICT: With a bye-week on the horizon, Bears can take a momentary sigh of relief…

by dentonramsey

SPORTS ADDICT: With a bye-week on the horizon, Bears can take a momentary sigh of relief…

By Denton Ramsey, NCAA Sportswriter/Big 12 Fans Baylor Correspondent

WACO, Texas – A bye-week couldn’t come at a better time for the Baylor Bears football team.

Following a Friday night heartbreaker in Connecticut, all the Bears needed after a safe ride home was some time off to reflect – as well as prepare – on a season on the brink of Big 12 action.

Just ask head coach Art Briles, who’s welcoming the off-week with open arms.

“It is a real good time [for a bye week],” Baylor football head coach Art Briles said. “I think it is good because the inconsistency of the schedule to start our season. With the Thursday, Saturday, Friday and Friday [games], the bye allows us to get on a consistent basis and look at what we have – and what we have is eight Saturdays ahead of us.”

Not only eight Saturdays, but eight Big 12 Saturdays… Either way, coach Briles is happy his Bears will be hitting the field on a routine basis.

“I think consistency is the key to success,” Briles said. “That is in everyday life and not just football. Whatever you do, you have to form good habits. That is what we are in the process of still doing here. We are excited about playing on Saturday [for the rest of the season].”

Briles is right on the money, because consistency is definitely a key ingredient to winning games.

Another key ingredient would have to be fan support. As an example, let’s look back to the Baylor road game at Connecticut last Friday night.

“I give them [Connecticut] credit for knowing how to get ready for a football game,” Briles said. “For their fans, they know how to get ready for a football game. What we can’t let happen here is to show up on October 4th against Oklahoma and have more people out in that parking lot that have OU on their car than we do Baylor people.

“We have to show up and we have to be ready before the game starts. [When the Connecticut fans showed up at 3 p.m.,] that is how you do it; that is college football. They make it a big time event.”

Team effort has also been vital to the Bears success thus far – and win or lose, Baylor aims to keep that tradition alive.

“Nothing has changed since Friday night [against Connecticut],” Briles said. “What I am proud of is the effort and attitude that our players played with. We are not going to be a team that is intimidated by anything, anywhere or anyplace. Our guys rose up and put themselves in a position to win the football game. That is what we have to do; now we just have to cross the bridge and win it.”

Protecting freshman quarterback Robert Griffin will also be a necessity as the Bears prep for a Big 12 showdown with Oklahoma to kickoff conference play.

“I have got to do a better job of taking some of the load off of him [Griffin]; that will help us as a team,” Briles said. “[Pressure on the quarterback] will be one of the things that we will assess in our open date. The open date comes at a great time for us, both mentally and physically.”

The bye week also comes at a time when the Bears seek to grow from a challenging road game at Connecticut – a match-up where a momentary lapse of reason could shape the final score – and bounce back mentally prepared for the season ahead.

“I think it [a tough road game] certainly allows us to understand how important each play is – whether it is special teams, offense or defense,” Briles said. “How critical that change of field position might be, converting or not converting, stopping a drive or maintaining a drive… I think those things are glorified more in a close game because you certainly understand what could or could have been.

“I think we saw that when we play hard and fight hard for each other, we are going to have a good opportunity to win each game that we are in. We are going to continue to do that. If it is an intangible, we are going to control it.”

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at