Art Briles was the first coach up on day two of Big 12 Media Days, and he didn’t disappoint. After winning two Big 12 championships in the past two years, Coach Briles relayed to the media that he considers this time of year to be the highlight.
“I was at a luncheon a few days ago, actually here in Dallas, and somebody asked me, What’s your highlight, Coach? Could you give me a highlight over the last couple of years or something? I said, Hey, a highlight to me is this time of year. This time of year, when there’s so much anticipation, so much energy, so much hope and vision, that it just kind of makes you be excited. Makes you be happy. Makes you be fired up because everybody’s got aspirations and dreams, and it’s our job to help people fulfill them.”
ON REPLACING TALENT
Briles was asked about replacing leadership and productivity and seemed quite confident in the abilities of his current roster to continue Baylor’s success.
“We like our people that we got there. We feel very good about Grant Campbell, Taylor Young, Raaquan Davis, Aiavion Edwards. We’ve got young people that we have a lot of confidence in that have made plays for us in the past. The only way to get an opportunity to have game day experience is to play on game day. Once these guys get a chance to play, then you have an opportunity to prove yourself.”
On Baylor’s 400+ lbs Tight End
Yes, you read that right. Baylor’s monster lineman has been moved out to tight end for 2015.
“I don’t think he’s just the biggest guy in college football. He’s probably the biggest guy in football in general. He’s 6’8”, 403 pounds right now, slimmed down to that. So he’s really doing a good job. The reason that we did move him is that he can help our football team. I mean, that’s the bottom line.
“Everything we do is for the big picture. How can we get our guys in position to help us win? It’s a chance for LaQuan to play 14 to 25 plays a game and be effective. We weren’t sure that he could be effective playing 88 to 100 plays a game, which we would like to run offensively at a guard position.”
ON BAYLOR’S PROGRESS
When questioned about Baylor’s progress as a program, Coach Briles provided a crystal clear and detailed response. Art expressed that he has maintained a narrow vision, focused solely on making the Baylor program the best program it can possible be.
“I don’t know if pleased would be the right word. I just think that we’ve kind of been on a mission, and our mission has been to create an atmosphere of excellence, of championships, and of guys that can play at a fearless attitude and a fearless level. That’s just kind of been our goal. We didn’t jump in it there and say we want to do this and be better than that. We just want to be the best that we can be.
“So what we’ve tried to do, or what we have done is we’ve just maintained a fence around our program, and we haven’t looked at anybody else. We’ve just worked from within and said, this is the way that we’re going to do it. This is Baylor’s way. We’re going to concentrate on what we do, and we’ll see how it turns out.”
ON SCHEDULING AND THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
In discussing the disappointment of not being selected for the inaugural College Football Playoff last season, Art was asked about possible adjustments to Baylor’s non-conference scheduling as a result.
“So our job is to win. My job is to win. And if we line up and we win 12 games this year, we’re going to be in the final four. I think you can put that in ink right now. Because we will have beaten many ranked teams in this conference, and last year we beat more top ten teams than anybody in America.
“So we come through there without a blemish, we’ll be in good shape. So will be the Big 12.”
ON FINDING MOTIVATION
Despite winning two Big 12 titles in a row, Baylor is still not considered the favorite to win the conference. Voted number two behind TCU in the Big 12 Media Poll. Coach Briles was asked if that provides motivation, and if the Bears still have a chip on their shoulder.
“We’re never going to lose that. Getting chosen second, I mean, that’s okay. Like I said, it’s better than getting third. I guess you’ve got to win it three times in a row to get picked first.
“We understand how we’ve been able to get to this point, and to get to this point has been through trying hard to earn respect, never earning respect, understanding that people don’t know our names. So we want to make people know our names by our actions, by our performance on the field.
“So that’s something that will continually stay with us because. Even if you do achieve what you’d like to achieve, there’s always going to be doubters, and doubters are motivators.”
Oh, and This Happened!
— John Elizondo (@john_elizondo) July 21, 2015