Tech Game A Family Affair For Briles

Like most coaches&#146; sons, redshirt freshman FS <B>Kendal Briles </B>has received ample advice on how best to defend an opponent -- just maybe not this week.

That is because for the first time in Briles’ promising young career, he is lining up against his father’s team when the Longhorns travel to Texas Tech this Saturday. Art Briles, Kendal’s father, is the second-year running backs coach for the Red Raiders.

"I can’t imagine what will be going through Kendal’s mind," head coach Mack Brown said, "but it will be different for him than the other kids."

Before arriving at Tech two season ago, the elder Briles spent 12 years as head coach and athletic director at Stephenville where his squad won four state championships. His 1998 state champ team registered a national record 8,650 yards of total offense. As a high school junior, Kendal quarterbacked his father’s crew to an undefeated season and another title in 1999. That year he threw for 3,137 yards and 28 touchdowns, and added another 1,331 yards en route to Texas 4A Offensive Player of the Year honors. When his father became a Red Raider assistant coach in 2000, Briles repeated as 4A Offensive Player of the Year while also playing free safety at Lubbock Wolfforth Frenship High.

Despite his father’s close ties to the Tech program, Briles accepted an athletic scholarship to UT. He was followed one year later by high school teammate David Thomas, a true freshman who had touchdown grabs in both the Kansas State and Tulane games. Thomas’ father is superintendent of Lubbock Independent School District.

Brown said that coaching against his brother (Watson Brown) on three occasions wasn’t easy but was especially difficult on their mother. Art Briles, however, also has close connections with Texas coaches as a former staff member at Texas’ summer football camp held annually in Austin.

"Art will have so much pride in his son for playing at Texas and Kendal loves his dad," Brown said. "Art has coached at our (Texas Football) camp as a high school coach. All of our coaches know Art really well. There’s no animosity between the two. There are no fights."

Briles had just won the starting nod at free safety last August but went down in the middle of two-a-days with an ankle injury.

"When Kendal hurt his ankle this year the first thing we did was get on the phone and call Art and his wife to let them know exactly what was happening," Brown said.

The day before his 20th birthday, Briles returned full strength to the playing field for the first time this season against Baylor Saturday. His two interceptions in Texas’ 41-0 route helped earn him the team’s Weekly Defensive Player of the Week award.

Junior Dakarai Pearson (who also started as a freshman) quickly solidified himself in the Texas secondary with savvy play and four interceptions (NCAA No. 17). Pearson has been slowed by a leg injury as of late, but the fact that both can step in for the other exemplifies the astonishing depth available on Texas' league-leading pass defense (125.1 ypg/ No. 2 NCAA).

It won’t be the first time this season family members faced each other on opposite sidelines. OG Beau Baker squared off against his brother when Texas traveled to Tulane. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Greg Davis has a son who is the running backs coach for the Green Wave.

"I asked (Davis’ wife) if she had any emotions about it," Brown said. "She said, ‘Yeah. We get paid by Texas. That boy’s on his own. We better win. That boy’s younger than we are.’"

Brown recalled last season when Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden beat his son Tommy’s Clemson team 58-7. After the game, the younger Bowden was asked if he still loved his father. "Yes," he said, "but not as much."

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