Coach Briles Discusses Baylor Football

On Wednesday, Baylor Head Football Coach Art Briles discussed the start of Fall camp, the players he expects to make an impact, and expectations heading into the season. Here are the highlights of what he had to say.

On Conditioning coming in to Fall Camp:

"We feel like our guys, through the strength and conditioning program that Kaz [Kazadi] has them under, can backup their mental tenacity with physical strength. So that's an encouraging aspect. You can think tough, think physical, but if you can't back it up, it doesn't do any good. Now they can back it up because we are becoming a more physically strong and fit football team."

On how much the conditioning has changed in the last couple of years:

"My deal with the key to success is consistency. If you wake up and know what you are going to do everyday, and you do it well, you have a chance to get better. Now we are getting into the program a little bit more, our players are, they are seeing the benefits of being in a consistent atmosphere for a couple of years."

On the importance of keeping the coaching staff and strength staff together in terms of consistency:

"It's critical. It is. You know the strengths of all your coaches, you know what fits them best as far as helping our football team dealing with student athletes. And the student athletes know. We all understand each other a little better than we did 18 months ago."

When will the team practice in pads?

"Saturday. You have to go two days without pads."

Any key areas that the staff is looking at the next few weeks of camp?

"I mean there are a bunch of key areas. I would say cohesiveness in special teams, making sure the fine points of being a good special teams unit are touched on. Overall, I guess, tempo and knowledge are critical factors we will be looking at. "

On who will call plays this Fall (Briles worked hands on with special teams while co-offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery called plays this Spring):

"You know, right now, I am going to start back out running the offense with the help of everybody else involved. I am going to do it from the standpoint that we are at the tempo level that I think we need to be at. Strictly from that standpoint only. Philip [Montgomery] did a great job in the Spring. Those guys did an outstanding job, but I want to make sure that we are being as fast a football team as we can offensively. As Fall camp builds on, we will see where it leads from there. But right now, I will be calling the shots."

Will special teams be coached by one coach or by several coaches?

"We are all kind of split up. But everyone understands the importance. We would like to think that if you are a stud, you are on special teams. That should be a known fact. But what we are going to do is be a little more diversified in our special teams."

Is the kicker position an open competition?

"Right now, [Ben] Parks will kick-off, and Aaron [Jones] will do extra points and field goals. But we will see if anything changes with that through the Fall camp."

On Aaron Jones' Spring:

"He had a great Spring. He is a good kicker. He was good in practice. "

On 4 guards rotating on the offensive line, Robert T. Griffin, John Jones, Cameron Kaufhold, Cyril Richardson:

"I think they will all play. They are all good football players. Our emphasis is going to be staying fast and fresh. There's not a drop-off between any of those guys. They are all good Big-12 caliber football players. So, they will all see the field."

On the possibility of red-shirting Robert T. Griffin if he is still recovering from off-season surgery:

"We will just see how he progresses. Right now we are going into it like he is going to play, and we will see how his shoulder responds. "

On the plans this season for Freshman QB Bryce Petty:

"I would love for him to redshirt. I think it is the best thing for him, and I think it is the best thing for us."

On the freshmen that have an opportunity to play early:

"We'll look at a few guys. In the secondary, Ahmad [Dixon] and Tyler [Stephenson]. Those are probably the top two right now if we are talking about true freshmen. Tevin Reese is actually a freshman, but Tevin will play this year. To us, he is not a freshman."

On how good freshman (mid-term enrollee) defensive back Prince Kent looked in the Spring:

"Real good. Really physical, rangy, and eager to get better. "

Any key position battles where the staff is unsure who the starter might be?

"We have a pretty good idea of who the starters should be. Now, there is always the possibility that those could change. We have got to go into practice putting somebody out there. Whether they are going to be there on September 4th or not remains to be seen. That's the thing we feel the best about is the depth on our football team. We think we have quality Big 12 people across the board 2-deep. So, there will be some good battles. They are going to have to do it through intelligence, effort, anticipation, and instinct because our physicality will be monitored pretty closely throughout Fall camp."

How much is put on how someone does in practice in terms of playing time during games?

"Players make plays in a game, but to have the opportunity to make plays in a game, you have got to show it in practice. So what you do is give yourself an opportunity to get on the field on Saturday, and when you are there you have got to produce. That is a week to week deal throughout the season."

Will Robert Griffin III be limited at all?

"I think he will be limited some, especially early from a precautionary basis. He will gets reps but the situation will be kind of like normal anyway. We will roll in 1's and 2's, so there is built in rest in the workout anyway. We certainly think he is at full speed."

On whether the coaching staff will let Robert Griffin III be put in any contact drills in Fall camp:

"Oh yeah. We will. We have got good football players right now that we have been around for a couple of years. Our job is to evaluate 365 days a year, not 29 days in Fall camp. So, that's what we have been doing. So, our decisions need to be made by intelligent awareness. The guys that are on the field, if we put them on the field, they better be football players. There shouldn't be any questions on whether this guy can play or not. Like I said, we have been evaluating them for 2 plus years."

Is the team pretty healthy going into Fall camp?

"Not really, no. Not going in. Brad [Taylor] is still out, Tim's [Atchison] back still hurts. Jay‘s [Finley] ankle is still a question mark. Robert is still a question mark, both Big Rob and Little Rob. I am sure I am missing a few others, but those are kind of the main ones. So we will monitor that ,and once again, it is a situation where who can go will be ready to go. If we need people to fill in and play, we have good people that will be ready to play."

Whether he is excited about the condition Phil Taylor is in:

"You know, excited is not the word. I am proud that he has disciplined himself, listened, and abided by the methods that Kaz put in front of him. He has, up to this point, taken on a tough mentality, leadership, and productive role. Once again, we will see. But, right now, I am proud of the progress he has made."

With the conference realignment issue fresh in everyone's mind, what can the Central Texas community do to help ensure a successful season for Baylor?

"Be passionate about supporting Baylor football and Baylor University. From a lot of standpoints, the hands never need to let go of each other; Baylor University and Waco, Texas. If one doesn't support the other, then we have a Central Texas city that is not going to be as strong as it could be. So what we have as a university and as a city is an opportunity to embrace each other, protect each other, and fight for each other. Because, that's what we got. I mean, Baylor ain't moving to another town, and Waco ain't moving. So let's shut the door and take care of each other. That's the only thing I can think of. We got what we got, and that's each other. So, be a teammate."

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