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Across the Line of Scrimmage

It's not every day you are fortunate enough to interview a guy who practiced, scrimmaged against, and studied soon-to-be-Redskins QB Robert Griffin III every day at Baylor University. Sincere appreciation to BGO member BUwolverine29, a linebacker for the Baylor Bears who was gracious enough to answer our littany of questions about the guy Redskins fans hope is the future of their franchise

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As a linebacker for the Baylor Bears, you spent every practice session trying to defend against Robert Griffin III. What was that like?

BUwolverine29 said:
Robert is a dynamic player, no doubt. From the linebacker’s perspective, I was always worried about covering my “window” because if I were even one step out of it, Robert would hit the receiver. But what makes Robert such a threat is if I were to cover my window and no other receivers were open, he can just explode out of the pocket for a 4-5 yard gain, and that is huge for an offense.

From a defensive player’s perspective, what makes Griffin a special QB and puts fear into the heart of defenders?

BUwolverine29 said:
I would pretty much repeat what I said from a linebacker’s perspective. Robert has an awesome arm, and if he has a small window, he can thread it through. However, what separates Robert from other QB’s, other than his running ability, is his touch on the deep ball. I kid you not when I say that everytime Robert threw the ball deep, we expected and almost always had a reception. When you have a QB with all the weapons Robert does, it makes playing defense nearly impossible because we haven’t even mentioned how we are going to stop a dynamic runningback. Defenses who focus on Robert lose, and defenses who don’t focus on Robert lose.

The Redskins haven’t had a true franchise quarterback since Mark Rypien. As the #2 pick, obviously the Redskins believe Griffin is that guy. What did you experience with Griffin (both on and off the field) that leads you to believe he’ll be the kind of quarterback who can carry a franchise?

BUwolverine29 said:
First off, Robert is a hard worker. He is always competing. Whether in practice, workouts, runs-he wants to win. That hard work is what made him an unstoppable player. When someone’s deep ball accuracy improves from I believe it was 27% to 52% in one offseason, you know that person is a committed, hard-working individual. As far as off the field, he is a great guy. I just had fro-yo (frozen yogurt) with him the other night, and we just talked about life. He is just someone who you love to be around because he is real and engaging. So, all these elements tied into one person make for an unbelievable representative for a football franchise.

What’s Griffin like in the huddle and lockerroom? Is he the gregarious,’yes sir, no sir’ nice guy we see in interviews, a highly competitive and vocal 'take charge’ leader, or both?

BUwolverine29 said:
Robert is both. He is (as well as most players at Baylor) respectful of authority and teammates while at the same time carrying an air of authority. From my experience around Robert, he is a vocal leader, but that’s not why players respect him. We respect him because he works his butt off to improve at every single aspect of the game.

NFL fans are locked in a heated debate – is RG3 a 'run first’ QB who’s likely to take off as soon as the opportunity presents itself, or is he a highly athletic 'pass first’ QB who can use his feet when he has to?

BUwolverine29 said:
I think anyone who has watched a Baylor Bears football game could easily answer this question. Robert is, without a doubt, a pass first QB. Just look at the Oklahoma game. When the pocket collapsed, Robert used his feet to extend the play, but he didn’t just take off. He spotted a Terrance Williams in the end zone and made a perfect throw (with a D-lineman in his face) to win the game.

What’s the #1 trait Griffin possesses that will make him successful in the NFL?

BUwolverine29 said:
His work ethic.

What’s the thing Griffin will have to work on the most to make him successful in the NFL?

BUwolverine29 said:
I think he will have work on taking sacks. Sometimes Robert is great at this and sometimes he isn’t. He can makes plays with his feet, but his competitiveness sometimes gets the best of him.

In your time with RG3, what was the biggest adversity he faced, and how did he handle it?

BUwolverine29 said:
Robert tore his ACL in the 2009 season against Northwestern State. I think his resume for the last two seasons explains how well he handled the situation.

The media and fan spotlight on Griffin will be (already is, in fact) incredibly intense. We’ve all heard 'no pressure, no diamonds’ , but how do you think RG3 handles all those expectations?

BUwolverine29 said:
I talked to him about this when we were at fro-yo. Basically, he told me this: Some people can’t handle it, and I can see why. It’s tough. It’s demanding. Sometimes it wears me out. But I am enjoying it. This is what I worked hard for all my life.

Some question whether Griffin, at 6’2” 220 lbs and with a history of a knee injury, can stand up to the physical play in the NFL, particularly as a quarterback who’s not afraid to take off and run. How tough is Robert Griffin III?

BUwolverine29 said:
Robert is a tough guy. Sometimes he got criticized for getting up too slowly after getting popped, but he always got back up. A good example of his toughness, was this year’s Texas Tech game. He took a vicious cheap shot to the head and consequently sustained a mild concussion, but he came back in a few plays later and ran for a TD.

Lots of fans have pointed out that success of Big 12 Conference quarterbacks in the NFL, despite frequently gaudy numbers, has not been historically impressive. What makes Griffin different?

BUwolverine29 said:
I don’t buy into the Big 12 QB flop hype. I think the Big 12 has the best quarterbacks in the nation, top to bottom. Our league is fun to watch because every week it’s an offensive showdown. It’s not a matter of lacking defense, it’s just that our offenses are that good. But as far as what separates Griffin from the pack, its like I said earlier-he is a nightmare to prepare for. His accuracy is amazing, his feet are swift, and his athletic ability is unrivaled at the QB position. One thing is for sure; no NFL defenses have seen a QB this well-rounded.

Channel your inner Donovan McNabb and be a skeptic here – Griffin flourished in the spread offense at Baylor and hasn’t proven himself in a pro-style offense – how hard will it be for him to make that transition?

BUwolverine29 said:
I tried to be skeptical, but I just couldn’t keep a straight face. Robert is so gifted that he will have no problem transitioning to the pro.

Under center or in shotgun – from which spot is Griffin more dangerous?

BUwolverine29 said:
I would say shotgun-which was our primary set at Baylor. He is so good at the read option it’s scary.

It’s been years and years since the Redskins have had a great long-ball-thrower. How good is Griffin’s deep ball game?

BUwolverine29 said:
Rob’s deep ball is so good it’s unbelievable. Like I said earlier, every time he throws it deep, expect a completion. This is what makes him the most dangerous in my opinion. When you have a QB who can consistently hit WR’s in full stride down the sideline, your offense is pretty much unstoppable because you have a deep threat that opens up the running game.

You’re a Dallas fan, as are many of the Baylor Bear fans. What kinds of emotions will those fans be going through as you see Robert Griffin III run out onto the turf at Fed Ex Field in a Redskins uniform on opening day?

BUwolverine29 said:
I love Robert. He has been a great teammate and friend, so to me, the fact that he could be a Redskin is a non-issue. The only thing that burns me up though, is that if the Skins get him, they will probably win a super bowl before the Boys. Most fans I have talked to feel the same way. Basically, we will root for the Skins until they play “America’s Team”.

On a scale of 1-100, how great an NFL career will RG3 have?

BUwolverine29 said:
I think RG3 will develop well and be a threat to defenses for years to come. 88
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