Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Folksy Briles turns up Big 12 media-day charm - Fort Worth Star Telegram

DALLAS -- Texas coach Mack Brown brought in cheerleaders, but Baylor's Art Briles brought his sense of humor.

Briles stood out the most of any Big 12 coach by handling the print reporter's press conference Tuesday with direct, seemingly genuine responses that included several room-erupting humorous quips.Briles' first laugh came in response to a serious question regarding the Bears' plans for a new stadium."Well, to ask that question so calmly about a subject that's so exciting at Baylor, I admire you," Briles said. "That's good. You hid your excitement well. I wish I could hide mine that well. But it's a big-time deal now."Later, he got a big laugh explaining how it was sometimes hard to convince a Houston-area recruit to attend the University of Houston when Briles was coaching the Cougars."But it's hard to get those guys to stay home, because when you were 17 1/2 years old, 18 years old, I mean, you were thinking, boy, if I could only live next door to mommy and daddy -- you know what I'm saying? So, no, those guys want to get away."Lastly, he responded to a question about adjusting to life without Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III. Briles paraphrased the question for anyone who didn't understand."How do you adjust not having the best football player in the United States of America last year at the collegiate level?"Briles got his desired laugh, but no doubt believes what he said."I've been told ... "During off-season summer workouts head coaches are always careful to point out that they have little firsthand knowledge of player progress per NCAA rules.Texas' Mack Brown, TCU's Gary Patterson, West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen and Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy all responded to questions about player progress from spring to summer but first voluntarily added some variation of "I've been told."Like other coaches, Patterson mentioned his conditioning coach Don Sommer and said he'd been given positive reports of summer workouts.Thanksgiving plansThe Big 12 media guide has the TCU game at Texas listed for Thanksgiving, though nothing official has been announced. Texas coach Mack Brown said he hoped Texas' Thanksgiving game remains, regardless of the opponent."It's a good reward at the end of the season," Brown said. "The players can celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday and Saturday and have a long weekend."Baylor's resurgenceBaylor athletics, particularly in football after 10 wins and a bowl victory, had unprecedented success in 2011-12, helping raise the school's profile.Baylor gear is more available and has become cool, in part because of the success and the personality of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. The publicity has helped attract top recruits."Everywhere I go -- airports, stores ... we're happy about it," senior safety Ahmad Dixon said. "I thought it would happen a little bit later down the line, not so quickly. But I'm enjoying it and soaking it all in."Coach Art Briles is embracing recruits' newfound interest in the Bears."We're going to live on that as long as we can, and rightfully so," said Briles, who added recruits ask about Griffin, not the coach.Stefan Stevenson817-390-7760Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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