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No playbook necessary in Kendal Briles’ high powered offense

Wait, what? At just his second practice Florida State’s new offensive coordinator is calling plays off the top of his head? While that may seem odd, that has been his approach for years. And it works.

This time last year, Briles took this exact same approach while installing his offense at Houston. His approach is basic but effective. Find out who your playmakers are and put them in position to go fast.

“Once we figured out who our best people were, we tried to fit our formations to how they can line up quickly and play fast,” Briles told Sports Illustrated last fall.

From there, Briles began installing his offense and did so without any physical playbook. His philosophy is simple. This generation of college athletes most effectively learns from seeing things in action. Not some old school piece of paper with a bunch of X’s, O’s and arrows.

“Most of the kids these days we’re working with, they’d rather go home and play Fortnite than they would go to the local library and pick up a book,” Briles said in his SI interview. “If you show them video and they learn visually like most of these kids do—they’re staring at an iPad, staring at a phone, staring at a TV, playing Playstation—they see movements and engagements.”

Briles does have a play sheet with him at all times, but it lives in his back pocket while his offense is on the field. During possessions, Briles calls plays based on how he feels each drive is going.

“You can’t have a crystal ball, but you try to think what is going to happen on that play if this happens,” he says. “I’m always knowing that if the ball is handed [this direction], [the spot is] going to be right hash [for the next snap] and I know where my guys are lined up so I can make another fast call. That’s why you try not to look down at a play sheet and tell someone else to signal. I try to see it and have everything in my head and rip off another play.”

That type of tempo can be deadly and cause major issues for opposing defenses. Just ask any of Houston’s opponents last year as the Cougars averaged over 40 points per game on the season.

That tempo is what Willie Taggart wants his offense to look like. Taggart and former FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell tried running that tempo last season with little success. With Bell moving on, Taggart pounced on the opportunity to bring Briles to Tallahassee and run his offense.

The emergence of Briles’ high tempo offense goes back to his days at Baylor with his father, Art. Kendal’s father told him that he wanted his offense to go fast and it was up to him to figure it out.

“We said, ‘Yessir,’ and started trying to figure out how we could eliminate verbiage and get lined up quickly,” he says. And the rest is history.

Briles has a well-documented track record of installing and operating a high powered offense with instant success in previous stops. A history that should excite Florida State fans everywhere.


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