As we sit now, over two hours out from the end of his highly-anticipated leadoff performance at the Big 12 Media Days, the reviews of Baylor Head Coach Art Briles are starting to come in. They are universally positive, praising his charisma, wit, and down-home folksy goodness. In truth, the Brilesisms flowed like wine this morning, and in this post, I will attempt to do the impossible: narrow down everything he said into my Top 5 quotes. To do so, I'm going off the official transcript provided by the Big 12 shortly after Briles concluded, which I highly recommend you read at some point today (the link will open it as a .pdf, so be forewarned).
#1 -- Baylor is swinging for the fences.
Despite the fact that we come from very different backgrounds and are separated by a generation, at least, in age, Art Briles and I are united in at least two things: 1) our mutual disdain for station-to-station baseball, and 2) the belief that punting is for sissies (No disrespect intended to Spencer Roth. I mean the decision to punt, not the actual, very necessary, act of punting itself.). Stated more simply: no -unting allowed.
This morning, in the leadoff position for the coaches following Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Briles laid down the following:
I guess we're batting lead-off today.
Well, the thing that's a little different is I don't know what the commissioner expected, but we're not going to try to bunt or get a single. I promise you that. We're swinging for the fence.
So maybe he should have put us fourth because that's just the way we approach the game.
I know it is, Coach, and I love you for it.
#2 -- Good nutrition is key to a healthy program.
This response came after the questioner asked how Baylor feels being the "heavyweight" of the conference coming off the first Big 12 Championship in program history. Briles talked a bit about the program's persistent underdog mentality, how they'll have to prepare to play as the hunted, not the hunter, then:
So heavyweight, you know what I mean, I try to eat as healthy as possible, so I don't know about all that.
#3 -- Briles gets philosophical about the 2013 Big 12 Championship.
This is one of those situations where the transcript doesn't reflect exactly what he said. I'll try and correct it as best I can from having listened to it five times now:
You ask me, Coach, are you defending the Big 12 title, protecting it? How can you defend and protect something that nobody can ever tell you is gone? That title is ours.
If Sun Tzu hadn't died 1500 years ago, could understand the English language, and knew how to express his approval in modern American culture, he'd give this a thumbs up and slow nod, a la the gif below. You need not defend something that cannot be taken!
#4 -- Briles cares about seatbelt safety.
You might read this and think "Why is this here? Is it about the stadium?" The answer is yes, it's about the stadium, which is amazing. But the real reason I put this quote on the list is that I think you got a window with this quote into the mind of Art Briles, particularly with the way he says the children looking at McLane Stadium will hopefully be buckled up. He's talking about the Palace on the Brazos built with funds he helped raise, and we get a nice little PSA about seatbelt safety. I appreciate that, Coach.
It's going to be as unique stadium as there is in the United States of America. What it has done in my mind is that those 44 to 60 million people that drive down I-35 every day, some eight-year-old girl or boy is going to be sitting in the back seat buckled up hopefully and look out the window to the right or the left, depending on which way they're going, they're going to say, Momma or Grandmother, man, look at that place. That place is beautiful. Where is that? And she's going to say, Baylor. And then so for the rest of their lives they're going to associate Baylor with excellence.
Plus, I enjoy the specificity of the statistic.
#5 -- Hiding time is over.
I could have chosen about a dozen different quotes for this last spot. At one point, Briles put an Oklahoma writer on the spot as to Oklahoma's record the last time they won the Big 12. That was hilarious. Another, he thanked a questioner for bringing up the Fiesta Bowl, as if he'd forgotten. Before that, he talked about how he likes recruiting small town kids because they're used to having people look at them. I'd never thought of it that way before. But this is the one I chose for spot #5:
So we're just kind of geared up and ready to go. It's that time of year. The hiding's over. It's time to come out of the shadows and play.
This quote resonated with me for some reason from the first time I heard it live (or close to live, anyway). If I wrote for OrangeBloods, I might say that it represents confidence, yet mystery. It is foreboding, yet hopeful. Contemplative, yet inspirational. It evokes the darkness giving way to the first light of a new day.
The time for getting lernt is over. The time for getting turnt has begun.
Honorable Mention #1 -- Briles throws shade at a helmet.
This wasn't actually in the press conference portion itself, so it's not in the transcript above. But it happened.
Briles: "I guess they went $59.95 for the Big 12 helmet up here. They need to shine it up a little bit."— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 21, 2014
He then went on to say that they needed to "throw a little flavor on the table." That might actually be my favorite thing any one person has ever said in recorded history.
BAYLOR FOOTBALL: THROWING FLAVOR ON THE TABLE.
Honorable Mention #2 -- Bryce Petty should have been in New York.
I included this one as an honorable mention because it's not actually that great of a quote, I just agree with it so much that it had to make the list. The question concerned Bryce's performance in 2013 and whether he should be considered a Heisman candidate this year. This was the beginning of Briles' response:
You know, honestly, personally and professionally, I'm a little upset about the way it all transpired last year. I certainly felt like he should have been in New York without question.
FORGET WHAT I SAID IN DECEMBER; YOU'RE 100% RIGHT, COACH. THERE IS NO GOOD ARGUMENT SUPPORTING AN OUTCOME WHERE A.J. MCCARRON GETS SECOND IN THE HEISMAN VOTING AND BRYCE PETTY DOESN'T EVEN GO TO NEW YORK.