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December 31, 2013
THE MODERATOR: We'll have coach start with an opening statement.
COACH BRILES: Good morning. Good seeing Coach O'Leary and his entourage. Classy people as always. You don't arrive at this state in a program or survive as long as he has without having a certain amount of outstanding qualities which he certainly possesses. A lot of respect for him. A lot of respect for UCF.
A lot of respect for Valley of the Sun. An amazing venue, gracious people, unbelievable weather, which I don't know if y'all have control over or not. But it's pretty nice.
Big‑time atmosphere. We're just tickled to be a part of it. Take a lot of pride. Feel a tremendous amount of responsibility not only to Baylor, but to the Big 12, to the southern part of the United States to represent extremely well tomorrow night in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Ian yesterday said he expects maybe more than 20,000 Baylor fans to be here for this game. I saw on social media there's a group of fans that plan to dress up like you.
COACH BRILES: Bless their hearts. That's going to be some bad‑looking fans in the stands there (smiling).
Q. Have you gotten a sense of how beloved you've become by Baylor fans?
COACH BRILES: You know, not really. I don't think you pause to ever feel that way because that's not what it's about quite honestly for me or any of our coaches, for anybody in the profession.
I mean, you're in it for the thrill, the ability to compete in an arena that's an equal playing surface every time you get in it. That's the thing I love about football and really any team sport. When you cross over the lines, everybody's equal. That's the part of it that drives me. I'm humble and grateful for Baylor University, everything they stand for, what we've been able to do as a football program. That's going to come with it.
But I know we're going to have a great crowd. I was out last night at another hotel, saw the band. There's going to be a lot of green and gold in the stands.
Those folks that are doing that, if they want to dress up and look good, they need to pick out another person to emulate.
Q. After such a long layoff, you have a strong and timing offense. Any concern the layoff will slow you down a little bit at the beginning of the game?
COACH BRILES: You know, I hope not. It has been a while. This has a first‑game feel to it, like most bowl games do. Depends when you finish up, when you play.
Our concerns more are with special teams. That's an area that is always a concern. But anytime there's a layoff, you add a little bit to it. I think that's where it's at. The speed of the game is a little bit of a concern when you're off, I don't know how long it's been, 25, 26 days.
We practice at a pretty high pace, pretty good tempo in practice. That part of it actually, we don't feel like, will be an issue.
Q. Your thoughts on what the new stadium does for you, the program, how it will help you to continue to grow and recruit.
COACH BRILES: It's already helped tremendously. The great thing about our stadium, I mean, you can build a lot of stadiums across the nation, but the thing that's unique about ours is we can put it on I‑35 and Brazos River. They're saying 42 million people this year. I'm saying in two years, it will be 44 million that pass by there every year that are going to look over and see at this time Drayton McLane Family Stadium. I'm not sure the name they're going to go with.
Drayton's name is going to be on it, and deservedly so. He's been a driving force on that stadium the last four years and a few other people involved in Baylor. That's a big deal.
If you give a kid a choice between driving in this day and age a 2003 car or a 2013 car, he's probably going to choose a 2013. So it's a good thing to have a new stadium up ready to go.
Q. I talked to Coach O'Leary about it, the coaching stability. He was at Georgia Tech for a long time. Been at UCF for a long time. You've had your staff together for a long time. How important is that coaching stability to success?
COACH BRILES: It's critical. As you know, the great thing about having guys that have been together for a long time, especially on the offensive side of the ball, then defensively with Phil and them being there the last three seasons, the players don't walk around on eggshells. They know what they're going to get before they get it, how they're going to be treated, how they're going to respond when they're called out to do something. That's very comforting not only to the coaches, but to the student‑athletes.
I always felt like consistency is the key to success. A lot of people will flash, drive, commit, flow, go for a little while, but then they'll change, burn out, they'll lose their drive.
I think as long as you keep a strong, consistent effort to do things the same way at the same drive and determination and tempo with your intellectual ability, let the physicalness follow, then you have a chance to have continued success.
Q. Will you take your guys over to the stadium today? What do you like about playing in a dome?
COACH BRILES: To answer the first question, no, we're not going to do it. It's a little bit of a drive. It's about a 40‑minute drive. We have a pretty busy day with the walk‑through. Actually, I don't think you can walk through at the stadium. I think you can just go there and look, if that's correct. I've been told you can't actually walk through it. There's no reason to go today. We'll get there two and a half hours before the game tomorrow. I believe they pull the turf out, roll it back in today or tomorrow. We won't do that.
Playing in a dome, we feel like we really like it. Anytime we can play in an enclosed environment, we don't have to worry about the wind and the weather, we feel it's a big, big plus for us.
Q. The Washington Redskins' job is opening. Your name has been mentioned. Does the NFL pique your interest at all?
COACH BRILES: Kelly has my phone. I don't think I've got a missed call from Dan Snyder, do I? Okay.
It's all rumors and speculation. I haven't had any contact with anyone collegiately or NFL. My focus is on winning this football game, being a Baylor Bear. The six years I've been at Baylor, I've never interviewed while I've been there.
I love the job. I love where I'm at. I love the people that I'm involved with. I feel very fortunate, humbled and privileged to be at Baylor University.
You can't control what other people say or do, but you can live your life, and time always tells. That's kind of the way that deal goes.
For Baylor, and I think for the Big 12, that's a plus, that people would seek out one of our contemporaries in this profession, in this league, at this level.
As far as interest in the NFL, if we're just being honest, which I like to be, the thing that would interest me would be our style of play at that level. That's the only thing that would attract anybody I think in a position that I'm in, would be the style of play.
I like how we play from a philosophical, schematic standpoint. I know the rules are different. The limitations on the number of people available in a game. To me that works to an advantage. If they have 46 guys available, there's going to be a few of them getting tired on one side of the ball.
That would be the only thing that would spark my interest a little bit on that end. But it's not something I would pursue.
Q. What type of a message are you going to deliver to your team before the game tomorrow? Is that something you think about ahead of time? Are you an emotions guy when you deliver that?
COACH BRILES: I always think about it, without question. I think anytime in this day and age you open your mouth and talk, you feel like it's going to be repeated all over the world no matter what the situation is with the ability of people to have a phone to record everything ever said.
When you're talking about delivering the message, to me, our message is tonight in our team meeting, you know, when you get in the locker room before the game. It's not as structured an environment you have to attract people's attention.
We always have a real good team meeting before the game. That's when I'll have a chance to address our seniors, tell them how grateful I am for them, what they've done for this football program, going to four bowl games in a row, winning a Big 12 championship, leading us to a BCS bowl, setting the instead extremely high.
I haven't had the opportunity to do that before our last game of the regular season because it wasn't their last game. This is their last game. This is it. So that to me is when the message will be delivered tonight.
Q. UCF's defense has been exposed throughout the season. Is there anything you've seen on tape that you're going to look to take advantage of?
COACH BRILES: Can I respectfully disagree a little bit? I don't really think they've been exposed. They played extremely well this entire year. I think you can look at the stats to back it up.
They're a really good football team. When you think of Coach O'Leary, up here earlier, I've been around since 2005 minimum, that's his bread and butter. It's what they do. They've done it well for a long, long time.
Those guys are extremely well‑coached. There's different levels of what you consider exposure. But we have a whole lot of respect for what they do on both sides of the ball. Their approach to the game from a philosophical standpoint I think really is what allows them to be successful.
I could give some comparisons to people we play, but I won't. They're similar to some people we played this year from a philosophical standpoint, without question.
Q. Dino Babers said the program he's trying to run is a carbon copy of yours. What does that say about the success that Baylor has had, other teams are trying to emulate what you're doing at Baylor?
COACH BRILES: Dino is a heck of a guy. He's a heck of a football coach. I'm happy for him. He's a smart guy. He's got people on his staff that have been back with us since we were at the University of Houston.
No, I think it says that he was with us for four years, saw the way we handled student‑athletes, the way we approached the game from an intellectual standpoint, schematically, felt like that fit what he wanted to do.
He's been successful the last two years at Eastern. I think he'll do a great job at Bowling Green without question. I'm really happy for him.
Q. Can you talk about Tevin Reese's return, how he's looked in practice, how his return could impact the game?
COACH BRILES: I'll say those legs are fresh. He looks fast, I'm telling you. That's the thing you have to try to be careful with, making sure your guys are fresh. The thing about Tevin, since he hasn't played since November 7th, that was a built‑in plus for him.
He's at a great speed. It's certainly given us a spark. He's a guy the defense has to respect because of the threat he puts on the table, which can help create some other things for us from an offensive standpoint.
I mean, we're really, really excited to get him back. I've said it two or three times. It's not about what he does for the football team that excites me. It excites me that he gets to be back with his friends and teammates, gets to go through the process with them of preparation, getting on the field and performing. At the end of the day, that's what it's about. The other will take care of itself one way or the other.
When you get to get in the car to ride with somebody to the end of the road, that's where the journey is.
Q. It took a while for Bryce Petty to get his chance. His numbers are so impressive.
COACH BRILES: I think it's phenomenal, quite honestly. Waiting to get his chance, efficiency. Efficiency as a quarterback is a number one characteristic as far as production on the field. You have to have a lot of intangibles from other standpoints, like poise and trust and belief and confidence and character, all the things that go into making a person be efficient at that job.
But the way he waited for his opportunity. I mentioned it. He didn't start. If there's a ladder with 10 rungs, he didn't start up here, he started down here. He's waited. And when you do that, I think that's the way you do things, you appreciate where you're at, it makes you very determined, it makes you very humbled and grateful for how you land up here on rung number eight, which is about where he's at.
For him to come in as a first‑year starter, after not playing for four and a half years, to lead us to a Big 12 championship, have 31 TDs, two interceptions, and be the person he is on and off the football field, get us to a BCS game, I think it's unmatched in the nation this year for a first‑time starting quarterback.
Did Winston start last year?
It's almost unmatched for a quarterback in the nation, because he had a pretty good year, too (laughter).
But we're proud about Bryce, no question.
Q. Obviously the BCS is going to be gone next year. That was your last opportunity to get a bid into a BCS game. You made it happen. What does that mean to you before this system goes away, to be able to make history, get here for the first time in the last year of the system?
COACH BRILES: It's great. When we got there, four is done, that's a big deal. I don't know how long the BCS has been in existence, 13 years, 14 years. I'm not sure. That's all anybody talks about in a program, if you're a Division I‑A school, is being in a BCS bowl game, making it to a BCS game.
If you're in a non‑BCS conference, you're talking about being a BCS buster. That's been the talk for at least the last decade.
For us to be able to earn our way in there, because you don't just go out and choose somebody and say, We want them, unless you're an at‑large. If you're at at‑large, you're at risk. That to me is the part that's important.
We earned our way into it. Last year of existence, I don't know what we'll be saying next year. Be one of the top four. I don't know what the chance will be. We'll figure something out.
It is a privilege and honor to be able to get in a BCS game before it's all said and done. At least we made it.
Q. You mentioned the seniors and the four bowl games, setting that standard. You're now sitting here at 11‑1, chance to go 12‑1, most wins in Baylor history. Has a new standard been set in terms of what is acceptable, what you want to accomplish?
COACH BRILES: Without question. You've been at our practice field. You've seen the sign on our side. That's the thing we're proud of. We want to be the standard. We pride ourselves in no excuses, no complaints, no comparisons. That's our motto. That's what we go by. We're going to be who we are. We're going to try to be the very best we can be every day regardless of what's happening anywhere else because that's something we can control.
I think the standard has been set. I think it's got set extremely high, which is extremely good, in my opinion. I threw a quote out after our last game, I don't want to mess it up, someone told me, it wasn't Michelangelo. I love the quote because I think it fits a lot of people, myself included sometimes. You have to be careful.
I think it was something like, The problem is not that people aim too high and miss, it's that they aim too low and hit.
I love the fact that we set our standard really up there because the next go for us, the next reach for us is to go undefeated and win the national championship. We have to win tomorrow night. All these others have been accomplished if we win tomorrow night.
There's always something else out there. That's what motivates you and keeps you going.
Q. Baylor has been getting the press. UCF has flown under the radar. Are you having to guard regarding overconfidence?
COACH BRILES: I got posed that before we left Waco two or three weeks ago. That's never going to be an issue with us because of the way we feel, the way we act, the way we prepare, the way we talk to each other. We're never going to feel like we're the big dog. When you start walking around wondering who is looking at you is when you walk into a pole. You better make sure you are taking care of your business or someone is going to sneak up on you and get you.
We've lived on being the guy that's getting in there and making a name for ourselves by how we perform, how we play, how we get ready to play a football game, anything that deals with our program from a mental standpoint.
I don't feel like we're the big dog in this game. We could give a couple examples of so‑called upsets that have happened over the last two or three days. When you walk on the field, like I mentioned earlier, everybody is equal.
They're a good football team. They've won 41 games the last four years. Like I said, I don't know another team that's done it maybe than Alabama. Haven't looked it up, thought about it, other than saying that. That's the only other team I can think of that has won that many football teams in a four‑year span.
Under the radar, on the radar, who knows. When you tee it off, you play football, you see who's better.
Q. Regarding Bryce, you've had three different quarterbacks the last three years with different skill sets. Can you talk about what it's been like to coach three different quarterbacks, why they continue to have the type of success they've had?
COACH BRILES: That's a great question. We've been very fortunate. When I was in high school, we had six D1 quarterbacks. At U of H, we had Kevin Kolb, Case Keenum both great players, great quarterbacks, different skill‑set levels. Then you add RG3, Nick Florence, Bryce Petty, once again, all different skill‑set levels.
Roberts, he's a freaky athlete that can do anything. He's the X‑factor.
Nick, if you don't pull a book out here and ask for a word to be pronounced, what the definition is, because he can tell you. He's salutatorian out of 650 people in his high school. Extremely intelligent, extremely efficient like was mentioned earlier.
Then Bryce is just a great combination of everything. The two or three things that really surprised me about Bryce, not surprised me, but made me feel really comfortable, and you never know till you get on the field because experience is something you can have all the money in the world, but you can't buy it. You have to feel it, touch it, taste it, have it.
Once he got his experience, we got on the field with him, I saw how poised he was. I saw how much character he possessed as far as being patient with people around him and understanding that he's got to lead, but at the same time he's got to help, which is something that's critical at that position.
You have to have people play with you as well as playing for you. He's done a great job of mixing his personality with our team. I think it's really paid off.
But all three of those guys are different people. It's a little unusual in this day and age to go three years in a row with three different quarterbacks. It's not something that we'd like or not something we planned. But it's worked out.
Hopefully Bryce will have a great year again next year and will have another one in '15.
Q. You have a couple of guys who are possibly looking at leaving early for the NFL. Not just their decision in terms of the specific player, but how do you go through any position?
COACH BRILES: With Robert, I told him to go because we knew he was at that time at least a top‑10 pick, and we were talking about this time two years ago, right after we played our Alamo Bowl. If you're a top‑10 guy, first‑rounder, you know, go. I think that's pretty simple.
I counseled with Cyril and Ahmad last year. Both of them were contemplating maybe coming out. Both of them made a great decision to come back. I think it's certainly going to help both of them, our football team, but it's helped their draft status without question. I think both of them have the potential to be first‑rounders. Time will tell. We'll know when May gets here.
Then these guys this year, I mean, we'll look at it after the game. Bryce has mentioned he's going to come back. I think it's a really good decision for him. I think he's NFL‑ready, but I don't know if he's NFL‑ready. I think physically he's NFL‑ready. But with the number of snaps you got to take, when they draft a guy high, they want him to start.
It's tough now to walk in there as a rookie and be ready to play every snap straight out of the gate. I think the more reps he gets collegiately will help him at the NFL level.
How old is Peyton? 42. I don't know how old he is. 38. He's not young. He's been around a while and is effective. At the QB position, the lifespan is a little longer. You can come in there, play, go 10 or 12 years, take care of yourself, have a great career.
With Lake, we'll talk to him when it's over. I still think he's got a lot of growth that would certainly benefit him by staying as a football player, as a person. He's made a tremendous amount of growth over the last couple years. He's tremendously talented. Just a great human being.
When this game's over tomorrow, I'm sure I'll talk to him when we get back to Waco. We'll look at his draft status and make a determination from there.
Q. It's Sir Ken Robinson on the quote.
COACH BRILES: I thought Michelangelo was a painter, not the quote guy. I thought you were going to say Sir Jerry Hill.
Q. Drayton said you were one of the guys that encouraged him to use the name. Why did you feel it was important to have his name on the stadium?
COACH BRILES: I did not know he said that. I haven't seen the press release.
I mean, what are they going to call the stadium? McLane Stadium. Beautiful. It's great.
First of all, he's a man that's given to Baylor for many, many years, is very important in the Baylor Nation, the Baylor family and Baylor University. If he wants to have his name on the stadium, that's going to be a legacy for generations.
Like I said, people are going to drive by there, look, associate McLane Stadium with Baylor University. But to see his name up there as they pass those trucks right next to them that say McLane Trucking Company, I mean, that's his prerogative. It's kind of like the old Bobby Brown song. If that's what he wants to do, let's do it. That's what ought to happen.
I mean, something talks, something else walks. He's put the talk on there. Put it out there. Why not? I think it's great. I think it's great for his grandkids and from then on.
I'm proud and I'm happy that he made the determination to make that thing happen for Baylor University.
Q. You like to use that 'chip on the shoulder' mentality in players you recruit. With the success you've had recently, can you still have that chip on your shoulder?
COACH BRILES: I mean, I can because somebody there have knocked it off and knock me down, too. Yeah, that's always going to be there. I think that's just the personality of who we are as a staff, who we are as a team. I don't want to say who we are as a university, because we're in a pretty elite group academically and athletically, quite honestly.
I've always gravitated to people that felt like they had to earn their due, they had to earn their respect. They felt good about working extra, preparing extra, intellectually and physically, to earn people's respect. That is something that has always motivated me.
That's what we look for in student‑athletes, quite honestly. If I can find a guy that's hungry like Bryce Petty that will wait four years, Ahmad Dixon, come to Baylor after back‑to‑back 4‑8 season and believe in himself that he can make a difference, then you have a chance to have people that can make a difference.
That's what we talk about, be a difference‑maker. We can find normal. I don't want normal. I want somebody that's going to act different, prepare differently and play differently.
That's never going to be an issue. We won the Big 12 championship. Okay, what are we going to do next year? Great. Guess what, it's over. So we got to go back to work, we got to grind, fight hard to stay where we're at.
Q. You were talking about you'd like to see what your system could do in the NFL. Is what Chip Kelly has done this year suggest that your system could work?
COACH BRILES: Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to watch them that much. I mean, I didn't get to watch the Dallas game because of things that were going on here.
I don't know if he's using the same tempo in the NFL that he used at Oregon. That's a thing I really don't know, from not being able to watch and see. I think what you throw in there maybe is the mindset, the philosophy of, Here is how we're going to attack from an offensive standpoint. I would have to look at that on tape, talk to Chip, see if that's the same way that he feels.
Whether it's evidence or not that it could work, I don't know. But by them winning a division championship his first year in there, I think there's some indications there's a new kid in town. His name might be Chip Kelly. I don't know. But they've done pretty well first rattle out of the box.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.
COACH BRILES: Not to quote an Eagle's song either. I could cross genres on you (laughter).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports