Friday, October 17, 2003

Fantasy players drool at Symons

B.J. Symons has been worth the wait. It took until Symons' fifth year for him to win the job at Texas Tech, and he has been brilliant enough for to name him its midseason national player of the year.

After six games, Symons leads the nation in eight offensive categories, including passing yards (2,954) and touchdown passes (27). He has four of the top five passing games in school history, including a 661-yard game at Mississippi, and he helped the Red Raiders set a Big 12 single-game mark with 775 total yards against Iowa State.

Symons is flourishing in the high-octane system designed by coach Mike Leach, a former offensive coordinator at Kentucky. Symons' predecessor, Kliff Kingsbury, set 17 NCAA records and tied four others during his three years as Tech's starting QB.

With a 5-1 record and a big game Saturday against No. 23 Oklahoma State, Symons took time this week to run the 2-Minute Drill with Enquirer reporter Neil Schmidt.

Q. What was it like waiting for your chance to play?

A. It was definitely tough. When you go to college, you don't expect to sit four years and play one. Things don't always go as you planned, but I've stayed positive the past four years. I knew I'd have my senior year, this opportunity.

Q. What do you think of critics who say your success is due solely to this system?

A. I will say, if (the system) was that easy, everybody would do it - put up 700 or 800 yards a game. But you don't see that. You've got to have the players. There's something to the fact this system has been run for a number of years. But we as a group this year have far exceeded anything that's been done before here.

Q. What are your thoughts on your pro prospects?

A. That's something I want to do in the future. But when you're a first-year starter ... my main focus right now is this season. Right now I'm just enjoying being on the field.

Q. You're a native Texan. How big are your games against in-state teams?

A. Those are huge games. Texas is a football state. Any time you face another Texas team, there's a pride factor that goes into it. Last year we were 5-0 in the state - we beat Texas and (Texas) A & M - so we took a lot of pride in that. We're looking forward to doing the same thing this year, hopefully.

Q. Your game with Oklahoma isn't for five more weeks, but people are already talking about that matchup of your offense against their great defense. What will that be like?

A. It definitely will be interesting. But we have to stay on track to get to that point. If we fall off, that matchup won't be as interesting as it looks right now.

Q. What has Mike Leach done for that program?

A. I can't say enough about Coach Leach. It's been definitely hard (building the program). There have been some bumps along the way, but we're going in the right direction. We had a 9-5 season last year and won some big games, but there weren't a lot of people looking for us to win this year. We took that really personal, like we don't get much respect, but we understand that. You get that respect by winning a league championship, and that's our next goal.

Q. You were a three-year starting pitcher in high school. Do you miss baseball?

A. I definitely do. I'm watching the playoffs right now. (Marlins pitcher) Josh Beckett, he was in my district, and we played against him twice my senior year. He shut us out both games. One thing I miss about baseball and pitching - it's like you're in control of the game. It's you against each hitter.

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