A year after Chip Kelly took the NFL by storm with his fast-paced offense, another innovative college mind has pondered how his offense would fit in at the professional level. In an audio interview with Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, Baylor coach Art Briles said he is "intrigued" by the possibility of bringing his offense to the NFL, whether it's with him as coach or not.
Your name came up a lot last year with the Texas vacancy, and then it came up quite a bit with the Redskins' vacancy. How curious are you about how your offensive system would do against NFL schemes?
I think that would be interesting. It's kind of intriguing to me because, I think, as opposed to 20 years ago when there was always a trickle-down effect, I think it's a trickle-up effect now. I think everything's trickling up from high school to college to the NFL, and that's why the game's getting more open and more exciting and more diverse. To me, as a guy that deals on the offensive side most of the time, I think it would be very exciting to get to the NFL level with this type of scheme and see what happens.
When people talk about you, and obviously they have made a great commitment to making Baylor a big-time football program, do you say, 'you only live once,' do you say, 'five years down the road or sometime,' do you say, 'you know what, I'd like to see how it works in the NFL?' Or is it something you say the timing's just never going to be right?
I don't think you ever say anything. The only thing I say is that I'm very honored and proud to be at Baylor. And if you only lived once and you lived at Baylor, that's a pretty doggone good life. That's kind of the way I look at it. And I do think that when you look at it from a football standpoint — and that's the way I look at things, not from a personal standpoint or anything else — but I think when you look at it from a football standpoint, I think some of the things that we're doing now collegiately, I think sometime in the next four-to-eight years in the NFL, I think you'll see a lot more of it, there's no question, just because of the trickle-up-effect like I was talking about.
What do you think it would take for you to go up to the NFL? Would you want control over personnel, or what would be the idea fit for you?
To be honest, Bruce, I hadn't even thought about it, simply for the fact that I'm sitting here today trying to get ready to win our first game of 2014. So it's not anything that I've ever envisioned or something that I would say, 'Hey, it needs to be this or that.' My deal is, I feel like the most fortunate guy in the history of the game being able to be the coach of the Baylor Bears right now.
During Briles' tenure, Baylor has gone from perennial Big 12 doormat to a national power (Spencer Hall had a nice interview with Briles on that subject last year). He's done it with an offense that spreads the field like no other team, and as he puts it, "We do not try to go to the body to set up the knockout shot ... We try to score on every snap." Last year, the Bears set a school record for basically anything offense-related — two years after Heisman winner Robert Griffin III left — and scored 59 points or more seven times. Through the first month of the year, 40 percent of the offense's scoring drives ended in less than a minute.
Baylor finished with 618.8 yards per game and 52.4 points per game in 2013. They also finished with 699 more total yards than the second-best team — Chip Kelly's old Oregon team.
Would Briles' offense work in the NFL? It's worked in high school and college pretty darn well, so someone might give him a chance.