Art Briles: The Architect

October 23, 2013 at 11:23a    by DJ Byrnes    

Chris Brown, aka @smartfootball, posted this article to Grantland a couple of days ago, and it's still making its rounds because it's awesome.

Baylor, as many of you are aware, didn't always used to be the offensive smoke-show it is today. In fact, it was sort of a smoke-show, but that's because the program was a raging dumpster fire in the basement of the Big 12.

That's changed since Baylor hired away Art Briles from Houston. Brown details the rise of Briles and his dynamite offensive philosophy, and shows how Briles has channeled it and turned Baylor into the Big 12 force it is today. (Many have Art Briles on the shortlist of coaches Texas will make a run at if/when the Longhorns sever ties with Mack Brown.

Here's the lead-in:

The season before Art Briles's arrival was more of the same for Baylor. In 2007, the fifth year under Guy Morriss, Baylor went 3-9 — good for its customary last-place finish in the Big 12 South. Since the first football game of Big 12 play, in 1996, the Bears had finished sixth on their side of the conference 11 times. The last time they'd been to a bowl, the Big 12 conference didn't exist. The only time of the year Baylor was relevant in college football was when the other schools in the conference wanted to schedule their homecoming games.

Six years later, Briles has turned Baylor football into the state of Texas's answer to the Oregon Ducks: fast players, fast tempo, and even faster scoring, all infused with a long drawl and a gunslinger's mind-set. Over the past three seasons, Baylor — a 15,000-student private school in Waco — has gone 24-8 behind some of the best offenses in football, and it has done it with a revolving cast of players. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Baylor won 10 games in 2011 and finished second in the nation in total offense. In 2012, after losing Griffin to the NFL, as well as their leading receiver and rusher, the Bears finished second nationally in total offense, upset the no. 2 team in the country, and crushed UCLA 49-26 in the Holiday Bowl. Before this season, Baylor again lost its quarterback and leading receiver to graduation. So, of course, Baylor is undefeated and has college football's best offense by every conceivable metric, having scored 70 or more points four times (and 69 in another game). All of this has happened at a program that, before the 2010 season, hadn't gone to a bowl game in 15 years.

Briles has made believers out of players and fans conditioned by years of disappointment by having the audacity to expect success at a place that has never really known it. If this weren't happening at Baylor, Briles's approach would be something like arrogance: We are going to score, and we are going to win. "We do not try to go to the body to set up the knockout shot," Briles said at a recent coaching clinic. "We try to score on every snap."

I won't say the full article is "worth your time," because who am I to judge your time? But, the article is a fun, in-depth read you won't see from many other outlets. It's turned me into an outright Art Briles fan.



teddyballgame's picture

Texas should be all over this guy

ohiowhitesnake's picture

Yep, I've been saying it all season.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

If Tejas pulled Brilles in...with the talent that UT can attract...if they got a single stop out of their D per game, they would be absolutely unreal. Similar to RichRod chatter prior to taking the reigns at scUM, only this time I believe it.
They might legitimately hang 100 on Rice.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

Yeah they should. The guy knows how to coach on the O. He scores on anyone they play. The D is a different topic tho. Don't really know where they rank on that side of the ball but when it comes to the O side, he seems to be 2nd to none. The O puts butts in the seats, but the D is what will win you championships. 

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

d1145fresh's picture

Texas should (will) make a strong run at him in  the near future. I think it is a little odd though leaving a big program to coach another program within your own conference. I also worry that a great offensive mind very near and dear to our program (Mr. Mensa) could get an interview with Baylor if Briles does leave.

Spriggz's picture

Assuming Herman leaves the next season or two can anyone else see this guy being our new offensive coordinator? I would think going from head coach at a mid-level Big12 team to offensive cooridantor at a top 5 program would be a step up wouldn't it? Thoughts?

d5k's picture

Not even close.  He is getting paid more than Fickell to be HC at Baylor.  He would have to take a pay cut and a demotion.  Now we could hire away his assistants or guys in his tree like the HC at Eastern Illinois if you read the article to be assistants here for sure.

CincyOSU's picture

Never in a million years would that happen. It does nothing for your career to take a step back.
Think of it this way....where do most mid level schools get their coaches? They pluck coordinators from elite programs or head coaches from MAC level schools. Why would a coach like Briles reverse the process?

d5k's picture

We have been using some baby steps versions of his concepts, particularly the packaged plays where running plays have a passing option for the QB.  I love the idea of wider splits with our running game.  You have to be able to attack deep down the field with all 4 wideouts for it to be as effective as Baylor.  We have more specialized receiver roles.

Buckidelphia's picture

What Art Briles has done is remarkable. Can you imagine Illinois, Indiana or Purdue in the top ten?