BAYLOR FOOTBALL COACH ART BRILES
August 8, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
It's been a phenomenal year for Baylor athletics. In general, I think our national brand is probably as good as it's ever been on a national level.
And, like I said, I'm just thankful and happy to be a part of it. What we have to do now is maintain it, and that's where my inspiration, passion, and drive certainly is going to come from.
I wanted to ask you about West Virginia and TCU, two winners that came into the conference. You're doing pretty well with your recruiting. How do you think your vision of recruiting for Baylor, will it change or be the same, your concept and your coaching staff? By those guys coming into the conference? You know, first of all, you hit the keyword on it: They're both winners. Both those universities have won a bunch over the last decade, West Virginia in the Big East and TCU in the Mountain West.
So them coming into the conference and affecting recruiting, TCU's been recruiting in Texas forever. They're a Texas school. So I don't see much change in that. They might elevate their level a little bit by being put in the Big 12, you know, next to a name, as opposed to the Mountain West, because of the, first of all, major conference and, secondly, by being more regionally located.
West Virginia, you know, with some of their connections, with Dana being from?? coaching at Texas Tech, Houston for a while, and then Erik Slaughter, who is a guy I actually hired back in high school years ago, was on my staff at the University of Houston has, of course, some familiarity with the state of Texas.
They'll try to get into the state some. But we just have to wait and see how much effect it has nationally and with our Big 12 Conference.
Coach, I'm curious, how important do you see a new stadium at Baylor being to sustaining some of the success that you've had? Well, to ask that question so calmly about a subject that's so exciting at Baylor, I admire you. That's good. You hid your excitement well. I wish I could hide mine that well. But it's a big?time deal now.
I'm not kidding you. It's going to change the whole image of Baylor, I mean, to people that never really considered Baylor from now on, the next 50years.
There's 42 million people that drive down I?35 beginning 2014 that are going to see this beautiful stadium which is going to be one of the most beautiful stadiums in the United States of America on the Brazos River, and they're going to look over and say, okay, those people at Baylor are doing it right, because it's going to be unmatched in beauty.
And what it's going to do for us from an image standpoint, recruiting standpoint, both academically and athletically for people that want to get into Baylor University, I'm not smart enough to articulate how much difference it's going to make for our university.
But it's certainly a great vision by our board of regents and alumni without question. It's something that's a need as opposed to a want, and those are big differences.
Art, you guys had a pretty good quarterback last year and also pretty good running back in Terrance Ganaway. I wonder if you can talk about trying to fill Ganaway's void with the backs you have on hand and also where Lache Seastrunk fits in with that. We had five guys drafted off offensive side of the ball last year, which is the most out of any university over the last 30years.
So we've got some holes to fill. We understand that. The great thing about Terrance Ganaway is is we set here a year ago and if I said Terrance Ganaway is going to be All?Big 12 and rush for 1600yards and get drafted next year, everybody would have thought I was crazy. Because he was an unknown. He wasn't a guy that was returning that had a lot of yards. He had about 400 totalyards at Baylor University prior to last year.
So that's the great thing, is we've got some guys on campus that we feel very confident in to carry that role on. That's going to be a little different because Terrance was a different guy. He's 246pounds and could run and was very hungry and had a great vision and a great faith and passion last year.
We have Jarred Salubi, who I think is going to be an outstanding back that has a lot of the characteristics that we look for in a running back and that he can catch the football, he's able to make guys miss in space, and he's big and strong enough to be powerful inside. He's 212pounds.
Glasco Martin is a guy that's a downhill runner, about 222pounds, that will run just smooth run over you if he gets an opportunity. If you're in the way, something's going to happen either side of the ball. Somebody's going to be happy. We hope it's our side that's happy. Because he's going downhill.
And Lache Seastrunk, who you mentioned, transferred in, set out last fall, I mean, he is a very dynamic player that has three years left that we're anxious to see what he can do when there's people in the stands hollering, because he's got ability, and ability is certainly something that's hard to hide, and we're going to have him open up the jacket and let it show.
Obviously last year you had a Heisman winner. How do you plan to replace Robert Griffin? I know?? will your offensive schemes see any sort of significant changes, or do you think your new quarterback can just kind of keep up the tempo? And how do you adjust to not having maybe a player that will garner that type of hype? How do you adjust not having the best player football in the United States of America last year at the collegiate level? That's inspiration, okay? That's the thing that inspires us. That's the thing that makes our guys come together and fight for each other and work to prove themselves, because we're in the proving business. We're not in the business of getting close and saying "maybe" and "gosh, I wish." We're in the proving business. Our job is to win football games.
So what we have to do is figure out ways to fill in the gaps, because Robert created a bunch of gaps. His ability from somebody else's is a big gap. We have to fill that in with a variety of different methods, schematically, personnel?wise and motivational?wise and inspiration?wise that will give us an opportunity to stay at the level we finished at last year.
I asked you last year about Robert's impact away from the field. You said he's done a lot to help you build this program. Now that he's gone, what kind of things will you have to do to replace not only the physical ability that he brought but also as far as recruiting's concerned, the perception that Baylor football is on the way up? The football field deal gets it done. We gotta do that. Now, the other part, we're going to live on that as long as we can, and rightfully so. Because when I talk to recruits, they're not asking about, Coach, how are you doing, boy, sure would like to come visit, or saying, Coach, tell me about R.G. III, let me know me how's he doing, how's he going to be, how's he going to do in the NFL.
We're going to continue doing that. And by him being such a visible spot with the Redskins, playing in the NFC East against Dallas, which everybody is familiar with around here, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, so his name is going to stay hot through this area. And we're going to continue to thrive on that because it's something that he earned and that we earned as a university and that players respect, and they do respect the impact he's had off the football field as well.
With the Big 12 adding TCU, does that put programs like yours at any kind of disadvantage when it comes to recruiting the Dallas area in the future? Because now a kid can play Big 12 football without having to even go as far as Waco. No, I mean, really one of the toughest things I had to do when I was coaching at the University of Houston for five years is to get the players to stay in Houston. Great football players. I think it's the most heavily recruited city in the United States of America.
But it's hard to get those guys to stay home, because when you were 17 1/2 years old, 18years old, I mean, you were thinking, boy, if I could only live next door to mommy and daddy, you know what I'm saying?
So, no, those guys want to get away. And Waco is a perfect location because it's an hour and a half away. It's far enough away but it's close enough that they can come see them, they can enjoy them at the same time.
Do you expect to see considerable improvement from the defense this year? And what did you see in the spring that made you think that will happen? Two or three things defensively. First of all, when you're in the Big 12 Conference and you're on the defensive side of the ball, it's a tough, tough league.
Stats don't lie. You can read them however you want to. You can make them good, make them bad, the same stat, depending which side of the ball you're looking at. But they don't lie. They're fact. They're reality. This is a tough offensive football league. It was a year ago.
The thing we looked at from our defensive side of the ball, first of all, I have tremendous amount of faith and confidence in Phil Bennett and our defensive staff and our players on that side of the ball.
But our six last games where we went 6?0, which, by the way, is the longest win streak in the United States of America FBS, which shows you how hard it is to win games at the end of the year, our defense made critical plays at critical points of the games to help us win the football game.
So when we got in the dressing room, we weren't saying, oh, we want this many points, this many yards. We're saying, hey, did we make a critical play at the right time to help us win this football game? Is this a happy locker room? If both those answers are yes, we moved on to next week.
So our guys are going to be more experienced. They made plays at critical times in games to help us win, and they've been in the system a year longer.
So, yeah, we expect to be better and we expect to be better on offense, too. You think we're going to walk out there and think we're going to be worse either side of the ball? We expect to be a better football team this year than we were a year ago.
Last few years you guys have put some offensive linemen in the NFL. And I just was wondering if there's a guy on this team that maybe has that potential. Is it an Ivory Wade? Good question. I appreciate you bringing it up because for the fact that it gets me, first of all, to give Randy Clements a lot of credit, who is our offensive line coach and has been with me since 1990. He does an outstanding job. We can go back to the University of Houston, we were there, we had Rex Hadnot, who's still playing in the league, Sebastian Vollmer, who we recruited out of Germany. When we got him, he couldn't even speak English. We was the 52nd pick in the NFL draft. Probably going to end up being an All?Pro for New England.
And since we've been at Baylor, Jason Smith, the number two pick in the draft, Philip Blake goes in the third round this year. Danny Watkins, 23rd pick of the first round a year ago.
So we've had some guys that have come out and done well.
Who do we have this year that's going to be the next? Ivory certainly has a chance. You're talking about a four?year starter that's played two positions in the O line. He has the ability. He's got the genetic makeup mentally that he can do the job, and he's a guy that's a next?year player.
But right now what he's concentrating on is making the first good snap against SMU, because that's where his mindset's at. All the other stuff will take care of itself tomorrow if you take care of it today.
You've talked about R.G. III and your linemen. How deep is your receiving corps? Because you had a first?round pick there, too. We've been fortunate with receivers also. Not that we're talking recruiting, but since it's brought up we had the number one pick taken at Houston and David Gettis was actually a draft choice we've had at Baylor, Kendall Wright went 20th pick in this the draft this year, we have some great guys on campus. That's the great thing about it. We're very deep at receiver, as is everybody in the Big 12. Everybody in this league has guys that can make plays at the receiver position.
But we fortunately have stockpiled a little bit to where we have four, five guys that we have a lot of confidence in in Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson and Levi Norwood, Tevin Reese, Clay Fuller, Antwan Goodley, Jonathan Lee. We've got some guys that can make plays and that are players.
So I'm anxious for them to have the opportunity to pick up the slack where Kendall left because you're talking about a 1550?yard receiver last year, which, by the way, was the most anybody had in FBS last year.
The amount of transfers that you've brought in, is that something you've emphasized? Or what kind of role do you think those guys are going to play on this team? Talking about transfers, if a guy can play, we're going to look at him without question. I like getting guys that are mature. Not that 18?year?olds are not, but when you take a guy that's been through a few trials and tribulations and understands what's important, what's not, and has experience, because there's one thing money can't buy, and that's experience, you gotta live it, you've got to taste it, you've got to fill it, then we know what we're getting to.
And when you get down to both feet are standing on the edge of the cliff and you're looking off and there's a guy with his hand on your back behind you, you know, and you're feeling like, boy, if I mess this deal up I may get pushed, there's a situation there to where when you get toward the end of the rope you're going to hang on a little tighter.
So I like that. I like giving guys the opportunity that made it feel like that they have taken care of their business earlier, that they can play.
It's obviously going to be quite a challenge to replace R.G. III, but how much confidence does it give you coming into the season, the fact you've got Nick there, somebody who has replaced him in the past and also came up with a big victory last year for you? Great question. And I love Nick Florence. I love Bryce Petty. I love all the guys on our team. They bring different things to the table. We're not going to say, hey, Nick, this is yours, you're here for 12 games or 13 or 14, whatever it is, we're going to make him earn it. We're going to give him an opportunity early because he deserves the opportunity.
The thing I love about him is that salutatorian out of 516 high school and already married and already graduated. The guy is already a success story. Regardless what happens on the football field this year, he's going to be successful.
The thing I love about him is that he'd take all that and move it over here if he can make a first down against SMU. I mean, that's where his passion, that's where his drive is, is being a good football player that contributes to Baylor being successful in 2012.
I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the passion, the energy, the drive, the fearlessness that he's going to bring to the table for us, because I know him from inside out and I know how he feels. I know how he thinks, and I think I know how he performs.
The thing he's gotta do is stay within himself and not get caught up in listening to anybody else or anything else and staying focused in the moment, focused in the situation.
With how exciting that TCU game was last year as a nonconference game, is that one you guys are really looking forward to this year now that it's a conference game? To us there's no difference between conference and nonconference. I mean, every time you step on the field there's somebody trying to take a piece of your life away. So it doesn't matter if you're playing Stephen F. Austin or University of Oklahoma. You better go out there and play well, you're not going to come out with a smile on your face.
So it's not a deal to where we point at this game and say, boy, that's a huge game. We gotta win that game. We're not saying that. What we're saying is we got 12 games. We're going to play this first one and we need to win this football game. And then we'll go the second one and we need to win this football game.
Because, I mean, I can't sit in there and tell our players that it's more important to be team A as opposed to team B or vice versa. Because they're all important. They all matter.