Feb. 6, 2008
Here are comments from Baylor Football Head Coach Art Briles' signing day press conference Wednesday afternoon at Floyd Casey Stadium:
"Well I feel like a kid who got turned loose in a candy store. I am very excited, very happy, and very pleased and very confident with our class. With what we look for we look for the same type things that we looked for with our coaches when we through the process of hiring them. We want guys with a vision. I want guys that want to start a new path and not follow down an old one. We want student athletes that are confident, determined, disciplined and have vision. We have visionary people and I am just proud that they are on board with us. Because it shows a lot of faith and belief in Baylor University and Baylor Football and that is the way we are going to make it and that is the way that we are going to drive forward. This is a great day for Baylor University, a great day for Baylor Football, and a great day for a lot of families across the state of Texas and the nation. These are great opportunities for these young people and we are just proud that they are part of our family now."
On the holes that needed to be filled with this class signing class:
"We actually held back about three or four scholarships that we are going to use later on and most of those will be on the defensive side of the ball. Out of our signees there will be some changes before August when these guys report as far as who reports and who doesn't. So it will change a little bit over the next few months, but our philosophy was that we are going to take guys that are going to come in here to play and not take guys just to take up spots. We felt like we would be better off saving a few [scholarships]. We felt like we signed some quality people. We have people that we believe in and believe in us. I am very excited about this class."
On the loaded quarterback class:
"The [quarterback class] was loaded to begin with. It was loaded when I stepped in here on December 1st, and is even more loaded now. That is one of things that we need to process through this spring and this summer and try to get that down to a workable number, because right now it is not. That is why they call me coach. That is something that we will figure out over the next few months and it is an issue right now, but in the next 12-18 months it will not be an issue. I am not a heavy quarterback coach. I like to keep 2, maybe 3 on scholarship and go from there because I would rather use those scholarships for offensive and defensive linemen."
On the impact that this class will have in the 2008 season:
"That is a hard question for me to answer. We are still in the evaluation process of our players on campus. What I will have to do is go through the spring and see how our needs fill up throughout the spring and then look at what we have coming onto campus this summer. Now we do have some impact players I will tell you that. We have some big time players that are also very dynamic. Performance will determine who plays, not age. We are going to play our best people. Our goal, our job, and our mission is to win football games. If Johnny is better than Joe, Johnny will play."
On the competition between the current players on campus and the incoming signing class:
"Our player's understand on campus that we are not just competing against the guys on campus. It is not our goal to be the best left guard at Baylor University. We are competing against everyone else in this conference and in this country so we have to be better than being the best on this campus. It is not enough to just be a starter here. What we have to do is fulfill the completeness of our potential so we can rise above whatever we think we can do. As far as our direction with our guys on campus about the competition, they know that. If they were not competitive, they wouldn't be here because it is a competitive world. They have to understand that if they are sitting, someone else is walking. If they are walking, someone else is jogging. If they are jogging, someone else is sprinting. Someone is always trying to outwork you and out hustle you. They will understand that mediocrity does not apply with Baylor football."
On recruiting battles with other schools:
"We traded some blows with some folks. We jumped in there and got our feet wet. I am proud of our coaches. Our coaches did a great job on recruiting. They got out there, they worked, they formed relationships in a short time, and we benefited from it as a University. We would have like to been a little bit heavier in the secondary because we are thin on campus in the secondary right now, but if you are a DB, and you are at Baylor University or a signee of Baylor University, you better be good or you better get good, because you are going to be playing."
On impact players that could play immediately:
"Our philosophy has been that we don't recruit Junior College guys unless they can help us immediately. These guys that we are recruiting are coming here to play. I do feel like we have some true freshmen that due to our needs, defensive line and the secondary, that there will be some opportunities for some of the young guys. We do have some difference makers on the offensive side that if you like jumping up and down and smiling, these are guys that you will like a lot. I am really excited to get these guys in the green and gold, and blow the whistles and to get them turned loose."
On the last few days of recruiting:
"You just try not to let your heart get too involved. You feel like as a coach and an ambassador and employee of the University that you know what is best for the young man. So you just hope that they can see how you feel. Fortunately, we were able to land a couple of big [recruits] late. You can put Brandon Garrett in that mix as well. He is an unknown offensive lineman that if he would have played this year we would have been recruiting against the likes of Southern Cal or whoever else is supposed to be considered good in the country We hit some big players and I am proud that they have belief in Baylor University."
On anxiety of waiting for spring practice to start:
"What recruiting does to you is it throws your world out of sync. At the same time, we have to understand as coaches that we have to take care of our guys on campus as well because the majority of them are going to be the guys that line up against Wake Forest on August 30th. Now that recruiting has just finished, we will take care of the guys that we just signed and then we will start spring ball in 3 weeks."
On the signing of Place-Kicker Ben Parks:
"We are just looking for competition everywhere. I understand that a lot of games come down to the kicking department. We have to have a guy that we can rely on and believe in. We may have that guy on campus. If we have 4 kickers and we have to choose 1, we have a better opportunity to find the right one."
On Jeremy Sanders:
"I look at him as a man. If someone is after me, I am going to go find Jeremy. He is a man. I like what he brings to Baylor University. We have to have tough minded people, and these guys are pretty serious about being good. Jeremy will come in here and work at the quarterback position, compete at the quarterback position and we will see where it leads."
On prioritizing recruiting classes:
"Our first priority is always going to be offensive line, defensive line, and then secondary. After that we look for the dynamic players. With the way the game has changed, you need to have a really strong secondary. So we targeted those guys. But when you have a guy sitting out there like a Robert Griffin, Jarred Salubi, Kendall Wright, Lanear Sampson, those are target guys. If you want to know what those guys have been doing in the last 6 weeks, I can tell you. If you like jumping up and down and smiling with a green and gold hat on, you like those types of people, so we are thankful that we signed them. Coach [Randy] Clements actually recruited Kendall Wright and did a great job building relationships [with his parents] and that is what it is about."
On Kendall Wright:
"He can do it all. Right now we are looking at him as an inside receiver. You devise schemes to get him the football; you want him to handle the football."
On Fredric Plesius and recruiting in Canada:
"It is all about relationships. We have actually coached some Canadian players over the last few years at the University of Houston, so we have an association with these guys. What All of these guys are prep school guys. It is a really beneficial situation. These kids come in here very mature, very hungry, and very grateful. Coming from Canada to the United States and the Big 12 is like walking out of Luby's and finding a $100 bill, so all of the sudden you feel good. [Canadians] are just very grateful, very humble student athletes to coach."
On recruiting dual-sport athletes:
"We always look at [dual sport athletes]. These guys are phenomenal athletes and it does make a difference when you get them on the field because we are going to play a space game, a tempo game and we are going to get the ball to our guys and let them make plays. What you want is guys that can make somebody miss. That is why I like Jarred Salubi. I will take a guy that is 5'9, 190lbs over a guy that is 6'3, 214lbs if the guy can make somebody miss. A lot of the bigger guys have a harder time in college because in high school you are running over linebackers that [are much smaller than the college level]. You have to find somebody that fits what you are looking for. Jarred [Salubi] fits what we are looking for. As far as playing other sports; yes, if you can point in a Big 12 meet, go. That is not easy to do, that eliminates a lot of them in a hurry. If Kendall Wright wants to put on the shirt that doesn't have sleeves on it, let's go. Get out there and let those people [cheer] for you on the basketball court. If they are talented enough to do it, let's play."
On recruiting the DFW Metroplex:
"All of these guys are really going to benefit us. We are going to hit the DFW area very hard. We are going to have a summer camp up there every year and we will get a lot of guys to come up that way. Baylor has always been strong in the Metroplex. With the DFW area you have to get in there, grind, and fight hard because there are 119 DI schools and there are 119 in there. We will fight hard and find the players that we need to fit Baylor."
On recruits enrolling early:
"I think it is an individual choice without a doubt. It depends on the student athlete and his parents and how they feel about the process of not going through their senior year of high school. In the spring you get to coach and adjust and see what everyone can do. In the fall the next thing you know you are playing games week to week. It gives them the opportunity to get looked at on a slower pace."
On his first Big 12 recruiting class:
"At Baylor we have a great opportunity because we have a great format, we have a great location, and we have a great conference. Now we need to put a football team on the fields that expands all of the positives that are already going on at Baylor."
On Brandon Garrett:
"He will definitely be involved. When you have a guy that is 6'7, and 290 lbs that looks like a wide receiver; that is a good starting place. He is going to start out ahead of a lot of people. With him sitting out it has made him very hungry and determined. I hope we are as a football family because that is how we have to be as a football family. We are glad that Brandon is on campus, and he has a great future in front of him."
On Gary Mason:
"Gary is a phenomenal athlete. He is special. He is coming into a position in which there are needs. He flew in under the radar for a little while, but during the last 6 weeks he had everyone talking to him this side of South Dakota. We are pleased that he is here. He will continue to get better as he continues to specialize in football."
On recruiting a local athlete like Jarred Salubi:
"It is vital. If we can find a local kid that can play, that are Big 12 players, they are going to have a hard time going to H-E-B during contact period because we may be there handing out Baylor players. We need to get on them, and we will get on them because when you are in your own backyard, you fight a little bit harder. We want a guy that feels like he is in his backyard, protecting."