Good break-down of what’s going on with the Briles offense in College Football. I’ve included the Houston section below, but they also discuss Tulsa and USF.
Kendal Briles emerges from Last Strike U
Not too many coaches or programs were lining up to be the first to give Kendal Briles a shot after the Baylor fiasco but Lane Kiffin, who’s been collecting fellow anti-heroes around himself at FAU, took the opportunity to bring him aboard.
Technically Kendal wasn’t pegged with any wrongdoing at Baylor but it’s just been difficult for anyone to believe that he (or Montgomery for that matter) could have been oblivious to the system of player discipline (or lack thereof) that took place in Waco during that period of time. The optics of hiring him certainly aren’t great, even after his year at FAU, but he’s managing to climb back up the ladder and his star is somewhat on the rise as a guy that can give a team access to the full Briles offense and who had real success in 2017.
However, it’s hard to tell how much of FAU’s success was really Briles and how much was Kiffin. On the surface it looked much like another veer and shoot install, the Owls started running lots of spread sets that had the effect of loosing a star RB (Devin Singletary) to run for nearly 2k yards while his back-up (Gregory Howell, Jr) added another 740.
If you watch the FAU game film though you’ll find that earlier in the year they looked more like a Baylor offense and later in the year when they hit their stride it’d come after replacing pocket passer Daniel Parr with dual-threat Jason Driskel to run something that looked much more like Lane Kiffin’s spread offenses at Alabama.
So technically we’ve not yet seen Kendal Briles successfully install and run the veer and shoot without either his father being prominently involved or another spread offensive HC overseeing and masterminding things.
Nevertheless, Kiffin was undoubtedly able to absorb some of the knowledge and tricks of the trade from the veer and shoot system for his own usage while Briles got his foot back in the door in the college coaching world and had a successful season that catapulted him into the Houston OC job.
This is where things should really get interesting. Major Applewhite just struggled through his first year as the HC at Houston after the Cougars had to land on him to replace Tom Herman after they didn’t bring Lane Kiffin aboard for one reason or another that hasn’t fully seen the light of day. The major issue for Houston was a Kiffin/Gulf Coast O-type spread scheme that had been dominant when Greg Ward, Jr was the QB but struggled when pocket passer Kyle Allen was at the helm.
After a 4-3 start with Allen and Kyle Postma, Applewhite finally turned to Ward-Facsimile D’Eriq King and subsequently defeated South Florida while finishing 3-2. King ran for 417 yards on the year at 6.6 ypc while reaching 1260 passing at 8.3 ypa and would have seemed to be positioning Applewhite and the offense perfectly for year two. Instead, Houston hired Kendal Briles and subsequently brought in transfer pocket passer Quinten Dormady of Tennessee. It was a suspicious chain of events in Houston and given the reports that have long floated around about the desire of some Cougar boosters to bring Art Briles back you have to wonder if this isn’t part of a plan to try and get that offense and perhaps Art himself back in Houston over and against any wishes on the part of Applewhite.
Meanwhile for 2018 it’s one more season in which a coach from this tree has to navigate the fact that most other “spread to run” programs involve QB runs and run options rather than the more pocket-orientation of the pure veer and shoot offense. If Briles can get Dormady up to speed in a single fall or otherwise figure out how to make the most of D’Eriq King’s not inconsiderable skill set within his father’s system, then this offense and coaching tree should be well positioned to continue to be a major influence on the game heading into the next decade.