Baylor coach Art Briles said son and assistant coach Kendal Briles will be promoted to offensive coordinator after Thursday’s Cotton Bowl.
“He’s going to be the OC,” Art Briles said Friday at a news conference coinciding with the Bears’ arrival at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, where Baylor will reside until after the 79th Cotton Bowl.
“But I’m not big on announcements, so we’ll just kind of ride through it and let it happen.”
No. 5 Baylor (11-1) and No. 8 Michigan State (10-2) play at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Art Briles had said previously that his son would call the plays for the Cotton Bowl after former offensive coordinator Phil Montgomery, who guided the nation’s top-ranked offense in 2014, left this month to become head coach at Tulsa.
Kendal Briles, a Bears assistant the past seven seasons, including passing game coordinator the last three, played for his father at Stephenville High School in the late 1990s. He transferred to Wolfforth Frenship in West Texas when Art Briles joined the staff at Texas Tech.
Kendal Briles began his college playing career at Texas but transferred to Houston, where he played wide receiver.
For the Cotton Bowl, Kendall Briles will probably remain on the field to call plays rather than move to the coaches’ box.
Art Briles and quarterback Bryce Petty said there will be some adjustments to make for the game, though one will be in flow and tendencies, which will be something Michigan State will be forced to adjust to on the fly.
“We’ve had a great week of practice,” said Petty, a senior who will be playing in his last college game. “I haven’t felt like we slowed down or missed a beat at all. He knows the system in and out. And we have already had a good relationship.”
Remember the Fiesta
Petty and defensive lineman Beau Blackshear said the team has no lingering emotional hangover from being excluded from the inaugural College Football Playoff.
“After that day, there was nothing we could control with that,” Blackshear said. “It happened. It’s done. We got Michigan State.”
If any game or event motivates the Bears, it’s last year’s 52-42 loss to underdog Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. That game was a coming-out for Baylor on the national stage. And it was a lesson learned.
Petty threw an interception to kill a Bears drive and nullify the last of three consecutive Central Florida turnovers.
It’s important to finish this season with a victory.
“I don’t want to have that feeling again,” Petty said. “We are here to do one thing and that’s win.”
Petty and Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook are friends through their association with George Whitfield, who runs a private player development academy.
“Unfortunately,” Petty joked when asked if they were friends. “I’m just kidding. I love him to death.
“Any time that you get that matchup that you actually know the guy, worked with the guy, you get to put them on the field, it kind of adds to the competition factor.”
When in Rome
Michigan State offensive lineman Travis Jackson arrived at the Spartans’ hotel in Dallas wearing a cowboy hat he borrowed from coach Mark Dantonio.
“I’m excited to be in Texas,” the senior said. “I want to get into the culture, and I want to really enjoy it. I have heard nothing but great things about the people down here. I want to embrace that. So we’ll start with the cowboy hat.”
Bigger still was the news that Jackson’s high ankle sprain is fully healed and he’ll be 100 percent at left guard.
▪ Art Briles will join Ken Hatfield and David McWilliams as those who have played and coached in the Cotton Bowl. Briles played receiver in Houston’s 30-21 win over Maryland.
▪ Mark Dantonio said Big Ten leading receiver Tony Lippett will also start at cornerback for Michigan State.