One of college football’s most productive offenses got a new leader on Saturday, when the Baylor Bears promoted Kendal Briles to offensive coordinator. Briles, son of Baylor head coach Art Briles, will immediately take over those duties, as he will be the coordinator in the Bear’s Cotton Bowl matchup against Michigan State.
This move is not overly surprising, as they needed someone to replace former offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, who took the Tulsa head coaching position on December 11.
The 32-year-old Briles is in his seventh season on the Baylor staff, where he coaches the wide receiving corps. He has also served as the team’s passing game coordinator and is the team’s offensive recruiting coordinator. Briles has made a name for himself in two key areas: grooming wide receivers and being a tenacious recruiter.
Baylor has become ‘Wide Receiver U’ under Briles’ look, as he has repeatedly developed players who were not highly recruited into NFL draft picks. Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams, Josh Gordon, Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley were all three-star recruits or less coming out of high school, according to Rivals, but they have all thrived under Briles’ tutelage.
As the Bear receivers have improved and the team has gotten better overall, Briles has been even more effective on the recruiting trail. He coaxed four-star receivers Casey Coleman and K.D. Cannon to Waco, and he has assembled some pretty impressive classes as well.
Briles has been rewarded for his recruiting efforts. He was named the Big 12 Recruiter of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and is ranked as the 13th-best recruiter in all of college football, according to 247Sports’ “Recruiter Rankings.”
Maybe a signal that the recruiting is on the verge of going from good to great is the recent commitment of dual-threat quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who chose the Bears after decommitting from Texas Tech.
The Bears are already one of the best teams in the country, and if the younger Briles can have a little more sway with recruits now that he is a coordinator instead of a position coach, the potential is limitless.
However, there is going to be a bit of a learning curve for the new coordinator. The Briles duo will eventually become a well-oiled machine, but Montgomery has with Art Briles ever since the two were coaching Texas High School football at Stephenville in the late 1990s, and there could be a layer of rust in the Cotton Bowl.
Either way, the Bears are going to be fine on offense going forward. Art Briles is one of the brightest offensive minds in the country and has built Baylor into an offensive monster, and he has undoubtedly rubbed off some of his wisdom on his son. Kendal Briles starred as a wide receiver for his dad at the University of Houston when Art was the head coach.
Expect Baylor to continue flummoxing defenses with its fast-paced style of play, sending boatloads of athletes to the NFL and winning big games. The Bears have a plethora of young, speedy skill position players who will contribute for years to come, and Baylor has a good chance to qualify for the College Football Playoff in the near future after missing out this year.