Redskins

Baylor QB Florence has comparable numbers to RG3

201211101646603664657-p2.jpeg

Baylor QB Florence has comparable numbers to RG3

WACO, Texas (AP) Take a glance at the total offense leaders in the Bowl Subdivision and there is a Baylor quarterback at the top. Same for passing yards per game.

Without looking at names, it'd be easy to think those are leftover lists from last season, before Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy and left early for the NFL.

Nope, those are the latest statistics.

While Nick Florence has never tried to be like RG3 - ``I'm not 6-3, 6-4, and I don't run a 4.3,'' the 6-foot-1 senior said - his numbers this season are very comparable to what Griffin did with the Bears.

``He's been masterful quite honestly, and not surprisingly to us because of his personality and his demeanor and his mindset,'' coach Art Briles said. ``We didn't ask him to be Robert, because nobody can be. What we asked him to do was just take his drive and his talents and fit it into our system.''

Through nine games, Florence has more yards passing (3,191 to 3,093), one more rushing touchdown (six to five) and has been sacked five times less than Griffin at the same point last season. The wins just haven't come as frequently for the Bears (4-5, 1-5 Big 12), who are still trying to get bowl eligible.

They play Saturday night at home game against second-ranked Kansas State (10-0, 7-0), the No. 1 team in the BCS standings. It is a matchup of the quarterback who replaced the Heisman Trophy winner against Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein, this year's Heisman front-runner.

Griffin, the Washington Redskins rookie starter, said he's proud that Florence is having his chance this season as Baylor's quarterback.

``He's put in a lot of hours. He was there just as long as I was, so it's good to see that,'' Griffin said. ``They've got K-State coming up, so it'll be interesting. I look forward to seeing him go and be successful.''

While Baylor has certainly made some changes in an offense that lost Griffin, along with the leading rusher and leading receiver from a 10-win team that sent five offensive players into the NFL draft, the basis of Briles' system stayed intact.

``It's little things here and there that we've changed and morphed,'' said Florence, who averages 395 total yards per game. ``It's not drastic, there's all these little things that make other things better now. ... We still do a lot of the same stuff, but it's just adding different wrinkles and shades to it.''

Florence started seven games as a true freshman in 2009 after Griffin sustained a season-ending knee injury.

The original plan was for Florence to redshirt last season and have two years of eligibility left. But when Griffin had concussion-like symptoms against Texas Tech, Florence threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns after halftime as the Bears won that game.

``Just knowing him as a person and knowing where his mind is, I think that he was probably one of the few candidates that could come in and have done what he was asked to do, which is replace the most prolific player ever in the history of this school,'' Briles said

Like Klein, Florence has accounted for 31 touchdowns this season. Florence has thrown 25, with at least two in every game until last week, and run for another six scores. Klein has 19 rushing TDs, including two last week at TCU, and 12 passing scores.

``He has experience, that's what gets overlooked. He has so much experience in that system and has been through it year in and year out, he understands the system, he manages the ballgame quite well,'' Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. ``He's a very balanced quarterback. He can run it, he can throw it.''

Even after receiver Kendall Wright was a first-round draft pick, Baylor has the nation's leading receiver in Terrance Williams (159 yards per game).

``Nick has handled himself very, very well, because to me, I don't really see a big drop off from Robert from the passing standpoint,'' said Wright, who worked several days a week with Florence this summer after they had been on the second-team offense in practice in the past.

Florence, sporting a beard that he started growing in May and hasn't trimmed for two months, is working on a master's degree in business administration that he's scheduled to complete in December 2013.

As far as his Baylor football career, he has at least three games left. Hopefully four.

``The fans here have been great, I don't think they've compared me to (Griffin) once. I'm different,'' Florence said. ``If I try to compare and try to be like him, I'm going to fail completely. ... It just comes from my faith and my identity in Christ. For me, whatever I do on or off the field, I'm a winner in Christ, so I think that's the way I approach the game.''

---

AP Sports Writers Joseph White from Ashburn, Va., and Dave Skretta from Manhattan, Kan., contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

jay_gruden.jpg
USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

alex-cobb-orioles.jpg
USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.