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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Briles' offense built around each QB

By Mark Schlabach

WACO, Texas -- Seven weeks into the 2013 season, No. 12 Baylor leads FBS schools with an eye-popping 714.4 yards of total offense per game.

The Bears are averaging a Football Bowl Subdivision-best 63.4 points per game, and until last week's 35-25 win at defending Big 12 champion Kansas State, they had scored at least 69 points in every contest.

Here's the really amazing thing: The Bears have done it without the use of a playbook.

Baylor coach Art Briles abandoned the playbook several years ago, and he and his assistants teach their players the fast-paced spread offense through countless repetitions in practice and by watching hours of film.

"When I was at Houston, the first thing everybody wanted was the playbook," said Briles, who coached the Cougars from 2003 to '07. "A guy's not going to read or study it. Kids play video games, so we show them the plays on video. Everything is on an iPad, and we label it and number them. A playbook is something we don't do.

"I'm a visual learner, and people learn differently. If you can see something, you remember it. If you read it and try to interpret it, it's a little different. We do a lot of repetition on the field so guys can learn it."

That's one of the reasons attributes like intelligence, comprehension and maturity are as important as arm strength and athleticism when Briles and his assistants begin to evaluate quarterbacks on the recruiting trail. Many of the Bears' starting quarterbacks since Briles arrived on campus in 2008 weren't highly recruited because of their lack of size or other concerns, but they were each able to absorb the nuances of his high-octane offense and flourish.

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