Friday, July 25, 2008

Mission: possible

Like KU in '02, Briles inherits struggling program

Baylor football coach Art Briles speaks to reporters during the Big 12 Football Media Days on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. Briles enters a situation much like Kansas football coach Mark Mangino in 2002, when the Jayhawks' coach took over a struggling 3-8 program.

Baylor football coach Art Briles speaks to reporters during the Big 12 Football Media Days on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. Briles enters a situation much like Kansas football coach Mark Mangino in 2002, when the Jayhawks' coach took over a struggling 3-8 program.



Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

Baylor football coach Art Briles speaks to reporters during the Big 12 Football Media Days on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. Briles enters a situation much like Kansas football coach Mark Mangino in 2002, when the Jayhawks' coach took over a struggling 3-8 program.

— Art Briles doesn't have to look far for proof Baylor really can turn around its football fortunes.

Briles, the Bears' first-year coach, inherits a team that has won a combined eight Big 12 Conference games in the past six years, hasn't won more than three league games in a season in the history of the conference and has four seasons without a Big 12 victory.

Briles' current challenge is not unlike the one that faced Mark Mangino, when in 2002 the current Kansas University coach inherited a Jayhawks team coming off a string of six straight losing seasons.

Under Mangino's direction, the team overcame a tough start and a losing culture to finish 12-1 and earn the school's first BCS bowl game trophy last year.

And in the aftermath of such success, teams like Baylor are pointing to the Jayhawks as proof that, under the right direction, significant turn-arounds are far from impossible.

"Look at Kansas," said Baylor defensive lineman Vincent Rhodes. "Who would have thought Kansas would do what they did last year - just busting out? You see that and you think, 'Why not us?'"

In the case of Baylor, it's a fair question.

But Briles has turned around programs before.

At the University of Houston, Briles turned one of the country's worst units into a perennial bowl-bound team. He led the Cougars to their first 10-win season in 16 years, and in 2006, when Houston won the Conference USA title just five years removed from an 0-11 season, it represented only the fifth time in the past 30 years that a Division I-A team has gone from winless to conference champion.

As head coach at Stephenville (Texas) High School from 1988-99, meanwhile, he took over a program that hadn't been to the state playoffs and proceeded to win four state championships in 12 years.

Cut from the same cloth?

Baylor's year-by-year record in the Big 12 Conference era:1996: 4-7 overall (1-7 Big 12)1997: 2-9 (1-7)1998: 2-9 (1-7)1999: 1-10 (0-8)2000: 2-9 (0-8)2001: 3-8 (0-8)2002: 3-9 (1-7)2003: 3-9 (1-7)2004: 3-8 (1-7)2005: 5-6 (2-6)2006: 4-8 (3-5)2007: 3-9 (0-8)2008: ? (*Briles first year)

Kansas' year-by-year record in the Big 12 Conference era:1996: 4-7 overall (2-6 Big 12)1997: 5-6 (3-5)1998: 4-7 (1-7)1999: 5-7 (3-5)2000: 4-7 (2-6)2001: 3-8 (1-7)2002: 2-10 (0-8) (*Mangino 1st yr.)2003: 6-7 (3-5)2004: 4-7 (2-6)2005: 7-5 (3-5)2006: 6-6 (3-5)2007: 12-1 (7-1)2008: ?


Rivethead 9 years, 11 months ago

How can anyone for write an article about Art Briles and not even mention the fact that Coach Mangino's KU Jayhawks thrashed a poorly-prepared Houston team coached by Art Briles just three years ago. I mean, that's not exactly ancient history. Granted I've seen little of Coach Briles work, but the little I did (the Ft. Worth Bowl) doesn't get me excited. His team was not prepared for that game (tv announcers made this comment several times). From what I can tell, all Coach Briles has done in his career is ride the same talented QB all the way from Stephensville HS to Houston. But that kid is now in the NFL and not a Baylor Bear. I guess we'll see.

Rivethead 9 years, 11 months ago

weaglehawk:Yes, I understand it's about Baylor. But it's posted on Thus making a connection from Briles to KU athletics, in any way, is logical and useful info, imho.For example: "At the University of Houston, Briles turned one of the country's worst units into a perennial bowl-bound team. This incudes a 2005 match up in the Fort Worth Bowl against Coach Mangino's KU Jayhawks."This tells the reader: oh, so Briles is no stranger to Coach Mangino or the KU Jayhawks. They've been matched up before. I think most readers would be interested in that. And a few may not even have been aware of that.

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

It's Friday afternoon ...why are we all here bickering?!?GET OUT, GRAB A BEER, KISS A GIRL, OR SOMETHING!!Ryan, go to a casino and put five bucks on number 15 at a roulette wheel for me, in honor of Mr. Mario freaking Chalmers! :D

LAJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Ryan, you are certainly not an ass, and I definitely understand your instinct to back up your guys, so to speak. And, like I said, a lot of things that appear on these boards are unwarranted criticism and, quite frankly, disrespectful. Unfortunately, that is the blogging world in which we now live.As someone from the "inside" you certainly know what these guys go through to get the story. I, for one, greatly appreciate your insight on these boards, and I'm very pleased to know you will continue to post even though you no longer work for the LJW. Your knowledge base is important to a lot of us that come to this site.Once again, good luck on the new job. And enjoy Vegas!

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

On the other side of this site, there is a very cool poster from Balyor, bubear09, he actually works in the athletic department, and we've spoken offboard ...I'm excited for that program, they've been down even longer than ours.Their football tradition is a little odd though, instead of rushing the field after a game, they do it BEFORE!Maybe someone else can 'splain ...

Kyle Cornish 9 years, 11 months ago

Because this article is about BAYLOR, not Kansas, Rivethead... It is supposed to be a positively written article about Baylor, not a bash piece. These are articles written about each Big 12 school so that you can have info about them. Not everything has to be an entire article written about KU. It is KU related due to being a conference foe.As for Briles, he is going to turn that ship around. He knows Texas better then any other coach and has so many connections for recruiting. If Kansas can have a great year and develop football, trust me, Baylor can too.

Rivethead 9 years, 11 months ago

Approx - the mistake I made was combining two points into one comment:1) Briles has a past connection with KU football omitted (oddly) from the article2) Briles hasn't done anything but ride a great QB all the way from HS to Houston.

rgreene 9 years, 11 months ago

And, Rivethead, I see what you mean about Briles coaching against KU in the past, but it was one game. One game which, given the context of this story, doesn't apply at all. If Dugan were to, in passing, drop in the fact that KU smoked him, that's just poor journalism. It's rubbing a guy's face in the dirt when uncalled for. The Journal-World is not about 'homer' journalism. It's about objective journalism.

Eurekahwk 9 years, 11 months ago

After Baylor and their funky Briles option spread offense beat Missouri in Waco, the complaint will be that we didn't have to face Baylor or Ok State! The cowboys are this year's dark horse. After a year of fluckie and close losses, they break out big time. I'm glad we don't have to face them.

Rivethead 9 years, 11 months ago

Ryan Greene I don't think I'm that far off base. If I read the article as presented above in say, the Austin American Statesman, then yes it would be great. But it wasn't presented in the Stateman. It's on the website. That's where I come for KU Football news. So, linking Briles to our current coach is a logical connection that was not made in this article. But you're correct - If I don't like it, I don't have to click on it and read it. And with attitudes like that, it won't take long for advertising sponsors to pull their funds ("Hey if people don't want to read the content, they're not going to come to And if they don't come, why the hell are we spending money advertising there?)

GoGators 9 years, 11 months ago

I didn't even read this article. But you know what isn't a Mission:Possible? Kansas fans writing something intelligent.

rgreene 9 years, 11 months ago

No, Rivethead, you're wrong. is making an effort to cover the entire conference. It makes you a more informed fan if you take it for what it is, so, as has been said here before, if you don't want to read it, don't click it.

rgreene 9 years, 11 months ago

LA, I feel you. Thank you for the well-thought out response. I see your points. I don't mean to come across like an ass, but I'm commenting as someone who's been in the trenches with these guys for the better part of three years, so I have the utmost respect for everyone in that sports department. Maybe I'm biased in that sense :)

rgreene 9 years, 11 months ago

In the end, you guys all just need to lighten up and realize you're getting all this content for free. While other sites (slant, phog) charge you for content, and some newspapers are starting to do the same, you guys take this site completely for granted. They're trying to keep you covered around the conference. Lighten up. Until you pay for the content written by hardworking folks, keep the uncalled for criticisms to yourselves.

Keith Kienzle 9 years, 11 months ago

Rgreene, why don't you give the guy a break? His approach may have been wrong, but I concur with him that I'm more interested in KU football than the conference, and a connection between the two makes sense on this site. Maybe his approach was aggressive, but I think many people that visit here can sympathize with his request. If approach rather than subject matter makes him wrong, then by those criteria you can say "No Ryan Greene, is wrong. Rivethead is making an effort to find interest in an article written about the bottomfeeder in the big twelve. It might make the article slightly interesting, but no such connection could be found. If you don't have a connection to Kansas football, don't write it."

LAJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Ryan,I respect you quite a bit (and good luck on the new job by the way), but you are coming across as a bit defensive here regarding your previous employers. I can't speak for others, but I certainly realize how hard these guys work to bring us news and information on our favorite collegiate team. For that I am grateful. And the unwarranted and unnecessary criticisms that all of you guys (sports reporters) get in this business is very unfortunate. However, while Rivethead came across as perhaps a bit too negative, his ultimate request is not that unreasonable. And definitely not bad journalism.I was completely fine with the article as is, but if Mr. Arnett mentions something like "this is his first season in the Big 12, but he is no stranger to Kansas' head coach Mark Mangino. The two faced off in the Fort Worth Bowl in 2005," it certainly would not taint the article as negative or "homeristic." There is nothing negative there, so "rubbing the guys face in it" doesn't apply. Also, I, personally, had forgotten that was coach Briles at Houston and would have found the reminder very informative and helpful. This newspaper and website is in the business of bringing local news to the Lawrence area. When a story exists that may contain a link to local interest, it clearly behooves the journalist to include it. Ultimately, this is Rivethead's request, and an understandable one at that.Now, as to the "free content" argument: Ryan, come on. We're not that naive. Are you telling me that and the Journal World do not see a profit from the advertisers on the website who are enticed by the internet traffic and the eyes that read these stories? This is no different than television. Viewers can get the 5 network TV channels for "free" as well. Are you telling me that ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW simply give their product away and see no profits from the shows that cost millions to produce? Of course not, and your argument sounds just as silly.Finally, if KUSports really does not wish to hear feedback from the readers, then simply eliminate the comment boards. Of course, this won't happen, because you know as well as I do that the increased traffic generated from these boards increases the ad buys for the LJW, therefore increasing revenue and profits. Nothing about this is free, Ryan.

GoBadgers 9 years, 10 months ago

Please everybody, for your safety, watch this YouTube video. Badgers are not to be messed with. I'm just trying to get the word out. Since you kU fans support a team with a fictional bird as a mascot, I feel you don't fully appreciate the danger of a real live tearing-sh*t-apart machine like the badger.

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