Briles picked to run Razorbacks’ offense
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Head coach Sam Pittman has named Kendal Briles as the Razorbacks’ new offensive coordinator.
Briles brings a wealth of knowledge and success to Arkansas as a play caller during his career. The 2015 Broyles Award finalist has led offenses at each of his four coaching stops – Florida State, Houston, Florida Atlantic and Baylor. Since taking over play-calling duties prior to the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 2014 season, when his Baylor offense set an NCAA bowl record with 601 passing yards against Michigan State, Briles’ offenses have averaged 39.5 points per game.
“We are very excited to have Kendal, his wife Sarah and their three children join us at Arkansas, they will be a welcomed addition to the football family we are building,” Pittman said. “Kendal brings an innovative offensive approach to our coaching staff. His offenses have been successful by both running and throwing the football in some of the nation’s most competitive conferences. He is well known for his ability to both recruit and develop young men into outstanding football players.”
At Florida State, Briles took over a struggling offense that ranked 103rd in total offense (361.2 ypg) and 113th in scoring (21.9 ppg) in 2018. In his lone season with the Seminoles, he engineered an offense that improved greatly in both categories gaining 403.2 yards per game and scoring 29.1 points per game. The Noles’ running game saw the biggest improvement going from one of the worst in the FBS (91.1 ypg) in 2018 to 133.8 yards per game this season. The FSU offense also saw huge turnarounds in the red zone (78.1% in 2018, 86.5% in 2019) and third down conversions (29.1% in 2018, 37.5% in 2019). Briles’ offense was led by a pair of All-ACC performers this season in RB Cam Akers and WR Tamorrion Terry. Akers ran for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season to rank 20th in the nation with 104 yards per game. His rushing yards are the sixth-highest in a single-season at FSU with his 14 rushing scores ranking seventh all time. Terry has 51 catches for 1,023 yards and eight touchdowns with the Seminoles yet to play in the Sun Bowl next week.
Briles called one of the most explosive offenses in the nation in 2018 at Houston, ranking in the top 10 in both total offense (7th – 512.5 ypg) and points per game (5th – 43.9 ppg). The Cougars were one of just three teams to rank in the top 25 nationally in passing and rushing, averaging 295.5 yards (16th in FBS) through the air and 216.8 yards (24th) on the ground. Houston’s offense was explosive, scoring at least 30 points in each of the first 12 games of the season, including a NCAA-leading 10 games of at least 40 points. The offense put points on the board in 47 of 52 quarters and opened the year with a program-best eight straight games of 40-plus points. The Cougars had 42 scoring drives of less than two minutes and ranked fifth in the country with 92 plays of 20-plus yards with the offense’s 44 plays of at least 30 yards ranking seventh in the nation.
Briles coordinated the offense at FAU in 2017 helping the Owls to the sixth-best rushing attack in the FBS with 285.3 yards per game. The same offense ranked eighth nationally with 40.6 points per game and ninth in total offense with 498.4 yards per game. The Owls’ offense helped lead the program to its first Conference USA championship and an 11-3 record, including a win in the Boca Raton Bowl. RB Devin Singletary became FAU’s first Associated Press All-American and was named C-USA MVP after leading the nation with 32 rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 1,920 yards before being picked in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
Briles spent the first nine years of his coaching career at Baylor helping the Bears to unprecedented success, including back-to-back Big 12 titles. He served in numerous roles for the Bears as the inside wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator and recruiting coordinator before taking over as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for his final two seasons in Waco. His recruiting efforts were recognized in 2013 and 2014 as the Big 12’s Recruiter of the Year.
He was a Broyles Award finalist in 2015 after leading Baylor’s offense to historic numbers, leading the NCAA with 48.1 points per game and 616.2 yards of total offense – the third-highest average in a single season in NCAA history. OL Spencer Drago was a consensus All-American and WR Corey Coleman won the Biletnikoff Award leading nine Bears on the All-Big 12 teams. Briles and Baylor ended that season with a win over No. 10 North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl racking up a NCAA bowl-record 645 rushing yards and a bowl record 756 yards of total offense. His 2016 offense led the Big 12 in rushing with 241.2 yards per game. Baylor’s 2013 offense produced the second-highest total offense season average in NCAA history with 618.8 yards per game.
He was an outstanding high school quarterback in Texas, earning Texas 4A Offensive Player of the Year in each of his final two seasons after generating 9,322 yards of total offense and accounting for 98 touchdowns. He began his collegiate playing career at Texas, where he redshirted in 2001 before playing seven games at safety and intercepting two passes in 2002. He then transferred to Houston and moved to wide receiver, catching 70 passes for 680 yards and a score. He was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Briles and his wife Sarah have three children: sons, Jaytn and Kru, and daughter, Kinley.
Briles joins defensive coordinator Barry Odom, cornerbacks coach Sam Carter, offensive line coach Brad Davis, linebackers coach Rion Rhoades and wide receivers coach Justin Stepp on Pittman’s initial staff.