Aside from the fact that Babers used to coach at Baylor, I'm sure a few of you are wondering why I took the time to post this relatively insignificant news. The answer is that Babers' tenure coaching under Art Briles is not his only connection to our Baylor Bears. When Babers took the Eastern Illinois head coaching job two years ago, after coaching stints at Arizona (1995-2000), Texas A&M (2001-2002), Pittsburgh (2003), UCLA (2004-2007), and Baylor (2008-2011), he took Briles' offense with him (with Briles' blessing, of course). From that piece:
"I'd been in [the coaching business] for 22 years before I met Art," said Babers, counting up that he was on 11 different college coaching staffs before linking up with Briles. "He changed my thinking. I never met a man like that before. He's so positive. So forward in his offensive thinking. He's completely committed to what he's doing and he gets people to drink the Kool-Aid."
"The system is not the easiest thing in the world to learn," he said. "It probably took me a year and half before I was comfortable with it. The cool thing about it, is the offense never stays the same. First, it's a caterpillar and then it's a butterfly and then. ... It's always green and grown."
After a rocky first year at EIU, Babers' team went 12-2 in 2013, losing last weekend to Towson in the FCS playoffs and showcasing probably the best offense in the entirety of FCS. That's Briles' offense. As Chris Brown mentioned in his Grantland piece, that means teams running Briles' system led both major divisions in offense this year. I'm not sure that's ever happened before. EIU QB Jimmy Garoppolo won the Walter Payton Award, basically the FCS Heisman, on the strength of over 5,000 passing yards and 53 touchdowns versus only 9 interceptions. The Art Briles' offense is setting records and winning trophies in divisions in which his team doesn't even play.
But really, aside from the obvious congrats that should go out to Coach Babers for getting a bite at the FBS apple in premium MACtion territory (Briles' offense in the MAC...), I'm most excited about this because of what it represents: the beginning of the Art Briles coaching tree. Before now, Briles had kept most of his assistants with him moving from place to place. Now he has Babers out there hopefully lighting up the MAC and helping build up his legend.
For more, check out HustleBelt.com, SB Nation's blog dedicated to all things MAC.