After playing in bowl game, Art Briles, Baylor looking for more
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Monday, July 25, 2011
7/25/11 at 3:43 PM
DALLAS — Baylor coach Art Briles had a revelation last season.
The Bears were on their way to their best season ever in the Big 12 era and in the middle of what would become their sixth victory — a 47-42 victory over Kansas State that made them eligible for a bowl for the first time since 1995 — the game was halted because of lightning.
“I was thinking, ‘Boy, it’s hard to get bowl eligible at Baylor,” Briles said Monday during Big 12 Conference media day at the Westin Galleria. “They’re making it hard on us.”
Baylor won the following week to start the year 7-2, but lost three in a row to Big 12 South tri-champs Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, then lost the Texas Bowl to Illinois (its first bowl appearance since 1994) to fall to 7-6.
Briles and his team want to take the next step.
“That was big,” Briles said. “It was big from a recruiting standpoint, and then from just a belief standpoint from our fans, our players and everybody that loves Baylor University. So that part of it was big to get over.
“We’re over it now. Now we need to keep growing from it, learn from it, which we have and will.”
Quarterback Robert Griffin, who lost a season to a knee injury, is back for his junior year and completely healthy, “so there won’t be any question when we jump on the field Sept. 2 concerning that,” Briles said.
Also, the hiring of Phil Bennett as defensive coordinator, and Bennett has brought to Waco the same fire he brought to places like SMU and Kansas and Kansas State.
“I’m really excited about Phil Bennett. I really am,” Briles said. “It’s been, I hate to say, a breath of fresh air. That man is a football coach. . . . Because he’s got one thing money can’t buy, and that’s experience.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin is totally healthy, coach Art Briles said. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World file