Florida State is very close to naming Houston Cougars OC Kendal Briles as the replacement for new UMass head man Walt Bell. But what can we expect from Briles? Let’s take a look at the man and his offensive ideas.
Briles is everything that FSU fans hoped Walt Bell would grow into – an offensive guru known to churn out high-powered offenses at every coaching stop. What does it look like and what can we expect? Honestly, the best way to describe it is a term that Willie Taggart likes to use often – “Lethal Simplicity”.
What is it?
I’ll give you another description. It’s the Ricky Bobby offense. The “I wanna go fast” system. The system moves faster than what Taggart envisioned for his offense last year. The key is execution and having guys who can adjust on the go by understanding concepts, not plays. There is no playbook.
The offense is a true RPO (Run-Pass Option). The QB and WRs have their cues, and the O-Line and RBs theirs. It’s designed to keep the defense guessing, generally incorrectly. The key is having a QB who makes quick decisions and fast, athletic WRs. FSU has that. It also requires physical offensive lineman that move guys around. FSU, currently, does not have that.
Does it work?
From 2012-2016, the Baylor offense averaged ~600 ypg. They boasted the #1 offense three separate years, and a #2 offense another year. At FAU and Houston, both for one season, he averaged just under 500, then over 500, respectively. It’s obvious that it’s not that hard of a system to pick up. Don’t get hung up on yards, saying, “Yards don’t matter, points win games!” You’re right, they do. But yards are a more reliable indicator of success than points scored. Just how are those yards gained?
Most think of the Baylor system and see “Air Raid,” but Baylor was amazingly effective at running the ball. A more effective run game with Akers, Laborn, Grant, and Rasul should see a more exciting offense than the ‘Noles have offered since 2014.
What can we expect?
The major key in all of this is buy-in, both from the players and Taggart. Running this system completely changes your approach and how you run your practice. There is no script and it’s even more uptempo than what was attempted in 2018. It means your defense has to be ready to practice at this pace and completely changes the practice schedule. A typical practice runs about 24 periods, or 2 hours. You cannot practice at this pace for 2 hours.
The other key is recruiting. You’ve got skill players that can fit into this mold, but it’s imperative that FSU focus on getting the right players for this system. Taggart has done a good job of bringing in ace recruiters and the 2014 Big 12 Recruiter of the Year fits right in. Briles was also a finalist for the Broyles Award, awarded to the nation’s top assistant coach.
FSU’s 2018 offense scored less than 30 points more often than a Briles offense has since 2012 – his first year as an OC. If and when Briles is hired, expect to see “Lethal Simplicity” unleashed.