Russell Pursues Perfection

Art Briles checking in with his new quarterback, junior Seth Russell, during the Bears' game against SMU on Sept. 4 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Photo credit: Trey Honeycutt

Baylor junior quarterback Seth Russell described his performance against SMU last week as “sub-par” after throwing five touchdowns, one interception and running for 62 yards and a touchdown against the Mustangs.

“We weren’t quite sure what SMU was going to do but we completed a couple deep balls, we did a lot of things right but a lot of things wrong,” Russell said. “Overall, I thought it was a sub-par performance [for me].”

Russell made his personal assessment on his performance looking forward to Saturday’s game. Russell expects improvement from his play. Senior receiver Jay Lee described Russell’s performance in a different way.

“[Russell] did a great job,” Lee said. “He sat in the pocket, was comfortable, and when he needed to extend plays with his feet, he did. He [did a good job] spreading the ball around. We’re just excited he got his first win as starting quarterback.”

Another receiver who advocated Russell’s impactful play was junior receiver Corey Coleman.

Coleman praised Russell after the SMU game. Coleman said he was also impressed with Russell’s ability to spread the ball around.

Head coach Art Briles disagreed with the notion of Russell’s performance being below average.

Briles believes his quarterback had a noteworthy game, and was surprised at Russell’s 50 percent completion percentage upon discovery of his quarterback’s stats in the postgame presser.

“I really thought [Russell] was right on cue, it was exactly what we thought we’d get from him,” Briles said. “He’d been really sharp the last week in practice and he was really sharp in the game. I thought he did a great job in a completely different scenario than probably any other Baylor quarterback has ever had in the history of this university.”

After going back over the game film, the Bears evaluating their production from the SMU game. Lee admitted that half of Russell’s incompletions against SMU were his (Lee) fault.

Russell, on the other hand, wouldn’t allow Lee to take the fall and stated that his quarterback play has to improve.

“I have to make the ball a little easier to catch,” Russell said. “I have to leave it low where he can protect his body. So [the interception is] all on me after looking back at it.”

Russell said everyone makes mistakes and, with the first game jitters, they can be expected. However, Russell said he will work to correct his issues from the first game and use it as a learning tool.

“That’s 15 out of 30 [against SMU] and in a big game, 50 percent is a big deal,” Russell said. “If I throw a quick five yard pass and dig it into the ground, then it’s second and 10 instead of second and five. I have to get more consistent.”

The first-year starter said he is always working to improve his craft.

Russell will look to make those corrections evident when the Bears take the field against Lamar at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium for their 2015 home opener.