Kendal Briles shares insight into Arkansas offensive scheme, what he looks for in a quarterback
Sam Pittman made an impressive hire when he selected Barry Odom to run his Arkansas defense but that move made a ton of sense considering the relationship the two coaches had going back to their early coaching careers in Oklahoma.
Just when Odom’s hire looked to be the move of the offseason for Pittman’s Razorback program, the first-year Arkansas coach turned around and hired a coach he had no experience coaching with in offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. According to Briles, the two didn’t even know each other until he called Pittman to inquire about running the Arkansas offense.
After leading offenses at Baylor (the Bears ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring offense in 2015), FAU (the Owls ranked No. 8 nationally in scoring offense in 2017), Houston (the Cougars ranked No. 5 nationally in scoring offense in 2018) and Florida State in recent seasons, Briles is now tasked with turning around the Razorback offense in 2020.
Briles recently sat down with Pig Trail Nation to discuss his role in Fayetteville and it wasn’t long before the coach was asked to break down his offensive scheme.
“We’re multiple, as far as scheme-wise, you know? Philosophy, you can state a lot of different philosophies, I mean, you want to win. That’s the bottom line. You want to win. We would like to be able to play fast, we want to run the ball, want to be very physical. We’re going to have wide splits. And we want to tempo. We feel like tempo gives you the advantage offensively, just try not what defense line up and see exactly what’s going on. So, we want to play with a lot of tempo, want to run the football, want to throw the ball down the field, so try to take the defense gives us.”
With Coach Briles on board and running the Razorback offense, the biggest question in Fayetteville revolves around the quarterback for his unit. Arkansas is actively in the market for quarterbacks via the transfer market and recruiting, in addition to evaluating the signal-callers already on the roster looking ahead to the spring.
So what kind of QB does Briles prefer in his offense?
“Well, there’s so many things that come involved with being a quarterback. You know a guy that can lead your team on and off the field that has the respect of the guys in the locker room. That does everything right that has all the intangibles.
“And then, obviously, you gotta have some physical attributes that make you a good Division 1 football player. A guy that can throw, I like to have a guy that’s mobile enough that he can extend plays, don’t necessarily want to run a guy, I think you try to do that too much in the SEC West, you’re going to beat him up.
“But it is good to have a guy that you can rely on to make some yards when needed. So there’s a couple guys out there that have, you know, total package. I think we got some on campus here too, so we’ll see what happens.
One note of interest Briles shared during his interview was the fact that he’s hoping to stick around in Fayetteville for a few years. That’s big considering Briles has been somewhat of a coaching nomad in recent seasons.
If he gets an opportunity to be a head coach next offseason he may have to take that opportunity but it appears unlikely that he would leave for another OC job based on this comment.
“This is my fifth stop in five years. So for my family and me personally, I’m really hoping that we can stay here and be here a while. Just because, you know, I feel really good about the vibe of the city, and the players and coach Pittman, so hopefully we can put in some roots,” he added.