“He needs to worry about the ACC… Don't come to Texas telling me how to do my business.”
Art Briles is pretty chippy already in 2014, and it is not even August yet. In mid-season form before fall camp starts, that was his response to Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, who stated “I think every conference should have to have one. We got a championship where not everyone plays the same number of games and does the same things. I think it's ridiculous.” Let the games begin!!!
The Chip on Briles’ shoulder will never be confused with a piece of dust or lint. That thing is huge, and he uses it to give himself, his team, and his program an edge. This is a man that took on the Big 12 helmet at his Media Day session, saying "I guess they went $59.95 for the Big 12 helmet up here. They need to shine it up a little bit." He then went on to say that it needed some “flavor”. This is just who Art Briles is, good or bad and there has been very little of the bad in Waco.
The man is a fighter, one that is always trying to attack (again just see his offense). He is literally trying to score a touchdown on every play, and doesn’t even comprehend the idea of that NOT being the goal. He has claimed the 2013 season as the Bears, and they have a large trophy and a bunch of signs saying “Big 12 Champion” on it. However, they are not defending anything, since no one can take it away from them.
"How can you defend and protect something that nobody can ever tell you is gone? That title is ours"
“You ask me, Coach, are you defending the Big 12 title, protecting it? How can you defend and protect something that nobody can ever tell you is gone? That title is ours.” That is Art Briles explaining his stance on a title defense. The Bears will not sit back and defend their 2013 title, rather attack the 2014 season with vigor and passion.
Is this version of “Briles” different than other preseasons? Not really. This is a man that has said we just need to get a seat at the dinner table and start eating, because “We are HUNGRY”. Well, the Bears not only have a seat at that table, they are at the head of it. This seems more of an aggressive Briles, one that is being forceful rather than just optimistic and hopeful. There is very little room for hopeful expectations; they have now been replaced by simple expectations. Just like no Baylor player will ever win a Heisman, and no Baylor team will win the Big 12. Those “myths” have been broken, with hopefully more unicorns to be destroyed in coming seasons.
But can the attacking mindset for this year be traced back to the Bears futility in the Fiesta Bowl? “We've always been the hunter. And I don't want to lose that edge and that attitude and that's something that we're working hard to maintain.” Simply put, the Bears did not handle the “hunted” role there in pretty much their only opportunity. I wrote about this fact earlier in the summer (The Hunted Mindset).
It is not only Art Briles that is taking this approach, but his players as well. Bryce Hager said it was a slap in the face that OU was chosen as the preseason favorite. Shawn Oakman just referred to the 2013 game against OU as reason enough to believe that Baylor will win the Big 12. The team is openly talking about championships as the goal, something that was minimally mentioned last year.
So with a new season upon us, Art Briles in mid-season form, and his leaders talking about not only conference, but national championships…who else is ready for some football! Alright, now let us all sit down and wait another 33 days starting at the clock. Aren’t the offseasons the worst?