“We’re gonna show up. We’re gonna be fearless. We’re gonna be dynamic. We’re gonna play ball.” That’s how Art Briles describes his philosophy about Baylor football.
What Briles has done at Baylor is nothing short of remarkable. Bill Snyder pulled off the Manhattan Miracle at Kansas State. And now Briles has engineered the Wonder of Waco at Baylor.
Bears football was a wasteland before Briles arrived on the scene in 2008.
Now in his eighth season, Briles has won two Big 12 titles, got an on campus stadium built, and has one of the most exciting programs in college football.
Yes, Baylor, the ugly duckling of Big12 football, is sexy now. Talk about an extreme makeover, this one is way up the list.
As the Sooners head to Waco Saturday to battle the Bears, it’s hard not to think back to November of 2011, when Baylor announced its presence (with authority) on the national scene.
When Robert Griffin III scrambled and found Terence Williams in the end zone, Baylor beat Oklahoma for the first time in 20 tries.
It was at that moment when Baylor football merged into the fast lane of big time college football.
RG3 went on to win the Heisman. And Baylor football has never been the same.
Briles called the 2011 win over the Sooners “monumental” at his Monday press conference. And curiously said it was really big since the OU program was the standard “at that time.”
It’s the kind of comment that might just be totally innocuous. Or it could just be typical of the self assured architect of one of the greatest resurrections of a program in football history.
Briles talks with a cocky, Texas twang and backs it up with results on the field.
Briles built his reputation by taking a downtrodden high school program at Stephenville, Texas and leading it to multiple state championships.
Then he went to Houston (where he played) and made the Cougars a formidable program again.
However, his Baylor success is off the charts impressive.
This was a school that many people even questioned getting an invite to the Big12.
Now, Baylor is a league terror, with a juggernaut of an offense, and skilled players that can match up with most blue blood college football factories.
And Briles personal journey is another amazing story. His parents died in a car crash on the way to see him play a game when he was at UH. It’s the kind of tragedy that sends a lot of people down a pretty dark path.
It didn’t beat Briles.
The guy is an absolute fighter. Sure, he’s an offensive football savant, but he’s also tough as nails.
Say what you want about allegations of dirty play, questionable recruiting practices, the Sam Ukwuachu debacle or anything else, Baylor football is a player on the national scene for years to come.
As long as Art Briles is there, (Texas drawl) Baylor “ain’t goin’ away.”