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Briles believes, even when his family might not

7/23/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- New Baylor coach Art Briles appreciates the concern of his oldest daughter, Jancy. But he's not always going to listen to her.

His daughter told him not to take the Baylor job shortly before accepting the immense challenge of trying to turn around the moribund program. Baylor has not made a bowl trip since 1994 -- the seventh-longest drought streak among Division I-A programs -- and has never won more three Big 12 games.

"I guess it's just a daughter being a daughter," said Briles, who directed Houston to four bowl games in the last five seasons before taking the Baylor job after last season. "I've got two of them. They are the only ones who like you as man. She's kind of analytical and there's not much grey in her. There is in me."

Briles said that the common perception that the Baylor program can't be fixed only made the challenge of resuscitating it that much more intriguing.

"That does inspire me," he said. "Is that stupid, dumb and ignorant? Probably it is. But it's also motivational and inspiring at the same time."

A new football facility and the forward thinking of Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw made the job tempting for Briles. But the biggest selling point was the excitement among Baylor fans.

"These people are hungry," Briles said. "There's something about going to a place where people aren't sitting back and yawning. I like people that are leaning forward and doing things. And that's the attitude that the Baylor people have."

The new coach understands that improvement might be measured in a series of baby steps. But he's still determined to start the progress sooner than later.

The Bears will have one of the most difficult nonconference schedules among Big 12 teams. They start the season with a nationally-televised Thursday night game Aug. 28 against Wake Forest and will also face Connecticut in another nationally-televised Friday night game on Sept. 19.

Those games will provide Briles with an opportunity he states is one of his most immediate goals for the program.

"What we've got to do is notch a couple of victories that make people look at the paper twice and say, 'That happened?,'" Briles said. "We've got to do something that's unexpected to gain a little credibility."

Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith said Briles has inspired him like any other coach he has ever played for. And he's not betting against him in his turnaround plans.

"Coach Briles is very passionate and brings a different passion and demeanor than any leader I've had," Smith said. "I actually thought a coach couldn't motivate me to play football, but when he speaks I get chill bumps. My theory was put to the test and Coach Briles can motivate me to play football better."