Hundreds attended the rally, many of whom were members of local motorcycle clubs. Others were just longtime residents of north Tulsa who are sick of the brutality that’s grabbed hold of their neighborhoods.
“We’re batting lead-off?” Briles asked as he took the dais. “Well, we’re not going to try to bunt or get a single. We’re swinging for the fences. You should have put us fourth.”
Briles displayed down-home charm while answering questions about high expectations in the upcoming season for the defending Big 12 champions.
“It was a productive ‘13,” Briles said. “We’re excited about ‘14. Our guys have learned to win at the highest level and have worked diligently on and off the football field to keep our name good.”
A few thoughts about Briles’ session:
* Briles was asked where the program has come, following last year’s league title and BCS Bowl appearance.
“We see ourselves as a team fighting hard, scratching hard and trying to get recognition and respect ... we have to learn how to prepare as the hunted instead of the hunter. I don’t want to lose that edge and attitude. It’s something we’re trying to maintain.”
Baylor is trying to become the Big 12’s first back-to-back champio since Oklahoma in 2007 and 2008.
* Quarterback Bryce Petty is the Bears’ first returning quarterback in three seasons following Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence.
Briles said Petty’s numbers last season (4,200 passing yards, 32 touchdown throws, only three interceptions) — along with a Big 12 championship — should have warranted at least a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
“Do those numbers again this year and he’ll be in New York. He might win it,” Briles said. “His perception, his image is different than a year ago because he has one ... what he can bring this year is an attitude of when I talk, people are going to listen.”
* The Bears will open a new $260 million, 45,000-seat stadium with an Aug. 31 game against SMU.
“It’s going to be as unique a stadium as any stadium in the country,” Briles said.
* The Bears’ defense must replace eight starters from last year’s conference championship team.
“The thing that helped us last year is we played great defense in the Big 12. I think we had more three-and-outs than any school in America,” Briles said. “Those guys were the catalyst of our football team.
“The only way to get experience is get on the field and play. We have a lot of good football players that have been three two or three years waiting to play. This is their opportunity.”
* Baylor has had four straight years with 1,000-yard rushers. Sophomore Shock Linwood could be the player to make it five in a row.
Lindwood rushed for a school freshman record of 881 yards and added eight touchdowns last season.
“He’s an east Texas kid with great balance, vision and great heart,” Briles said. “We were very fortunate to have him and he really helped us last year when (Lache) Seastrunk got hurt.”