By Evan Mohl
The Cove Herald
Robert Griffin III will not defend his Big 12 400-meter title this spring.
The former Copperas Cove standout and Baylor sophomore quarterback chose to focus on football. Coach Art Briles and Griffin's dad, Robert Jr., confirmed the decision.
"Coach Briles wanted Robert to be there, to get everyone on the same page and so Robert can get stronger," Robert Jr. said. "They can taste a bowl game. Robert went to Baylor to play football and he wants to honor that commitment."
Griffin also reached the U.S. Olympic Trial semifinals, just missing the finals heat. He finished the season ranked No. 4 in the NCAA among 400 hurdlers.
"That to me shows a lot of vision for Robert, a lot of focus and a lot of team togetherness," Briles told the Dallas Morning News. "What he's doing is sacrificing an opportunity to defend his Big 12 title in the 400 hurdles for this football team and for the other players on this team. That's part of being a great leader."
Weight played a major role in Griffin's decision making. The Big 12 (football) Freshman of the Year played most of the season at 205 pounds en route to 843 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. The true freshmen 18-year old also threw for 2,091 yards and 15 TDs while setting the record for most pass attempts to start a career without an interception.
Briles, however, wants the phenom to bulk up around 215, according to Robert Jr. Griffin's ideal track weight is 195, and ran last season at 198.
"He's much stronger physically," Briles said. "It's unquestioned in that capacity. I think without a doubt we're going to see plays made this year that might not have been made last year because of his physical presence, physical strength."
Griffin has always said he'd like to compete in the 2012 Olympics. But with a bowl game and the restoration of the Baylor football program in clear view, Griffin chose football. For now.
"He's not going to give up on track," Robert Jr. said. "It's just something he needed to do for now, for the football team. I think if Baylor goes to a bowl game this year, in my opinion, he'll run track."