When Kendal Briles came to FAU as Lane Kiffin’s first offensive coordinator last season, he brought with him the Baylor offense designed by former Baylor head coach Art Briles. It’s a scheme so simple, the younger Briles told players, that they didn’t issue a playbook.
Briles spent one season – one prolific season – in Boca Raton before taking the same position at Houston.
In his place FAU hired Charlie Weis, the youngest offensive coordinator in FBS history. The Owls then set about creating a playbook.
“Briles, it was just his offense,” Owls’ tight end Harrison Bryant said. “He knew what he wanted to do and you memorized what he wanted, but now there’s kind of the set terms and stuff where you know where to line up and you know what to do. It’s a lot easier.”
FAU averaged 498.4 yards and 40.6 points last season, both tops in Conference USA.
Long regarded as an offensive guru, Kiffin incorporated aspects of Briles’ offense, most notably the high tempo and formation simplicity, into the volumes of offensive schemes and plays he banked from previous coaching stints that included stops at Alabama, Tennessee, and Southern Cal.
He and Weis then put that offense on paper. Call it the blended Baylor offense.
“It’s not Brile’s offense, it’s Kiffin’s offense,” starting quarterback candidate De’Andre Johnson said during spring drills. “It’s a different offense from last year.”
No one appreciated the physical playbook more during fall camp that graduate transfer quarterback Rafe Peavey.
Coming from SMU, where the Mustangs’ offensive scheme and plays are given to players on an iPad, Peavey arrived at FAU with less than a month to learn the offense before Saturday’s season opener at No. 7 Oklahoma.
He described FAU’s offense tome as a “huge playbook,” but says having it allowed him to pick up the offense quicker than many expected.
With a decent grasp on the offense’s principles, Peavey began to master some of the offenses’ nuances once the Owls pivoted from fall camp to Oklahoma game preparation.
“It kind of becomes easier because you start narrowing down the playbook and your play selection a little more to kind of target your play selection at what the defense is doing,” Peavey said.