Kendal Briles returns to Big 12 as TCU offensive coordinator

Alabama v Arkansas
Getty Images
0 Comments

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kendal Briles is headed back to the Big 12 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at TCU, leaving Arkansas after three seasons.

The former Baylor assistant takes over for Garrett Riley. The younger brother of Southern California coach Lincoln Riley is taking over play-calling at Clemson.

Briles served under his dad, former Baylor coach Art Briles. The elder Briles was fired in 2016 because of allegations of sexual assault by football players.

Kendal Briles was a finalist for the 2015 Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach, in his first season as Baylor’s offensive coordinator. He stayed on for another year after Art Briles was fired.

TCU will be Kendal Briles’ fifth stop as an offensive coordinator since leaving Baylor. He served in that role for one season each at Florida Atlantic, Florida State and Houston before joining the Razorbacks in 2020.

Arkansas ranked seventh nationally in rushing last season at 237 yards per game and 15th in total offense at 471. The Razorbacks finished with 3,075 yards rushing, their most in 19 years.

Briles inherits an offense that helped the Horned Frogs to a 13-2 finish that included a College Football Playoff semifinal victory over Michigan before a 65-7 loss to Georgia in the title game.

Quarterback Max Duggan, the Heisman Trophy runner-up who threw for 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions and ran for nine more scores, is skipping a final season of eligibility to turn pro.

Briles was a Texas state championship-winning high school quarterback at Stephenville in 1999 before Art Briles, the head coach, took a job as an assistant at Texas Tech. The younger Briles led Wolfforth Frenship to the state semifinals as a senior.

Clemson hires TCU’s Garrett Riley as offensive coordinator

Getty Images
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hired TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to reignite the Tigers’ attack.

The school’s board of trustees compensation committee approved a three-year contract that will pay the 33-year-old Riley $1.75 million per season.

Swinney hopes the move invigorates an offense that had slipped the past two seasons since Clemson’s last College Football Playoff berth in 2020.

It’s the first time Swinney has gone outside his current staff for a coordinator hire since bringing in Oklahoma’s Brent Venables to lead the Tigers’ defense before the 2012 season.

If Riley can have the impact Venables did from the start, it could spark an group that finished 30th nationally in scoring and 48th in total offense this past fall.

“Garrett has an incredible track record,” Swinney said in a statement. Riley helped TCU finish ninth in scoring offense and get the Horned Frogs from a five-win team in 2021 to the national championship game this season.

“His body of work,” Swinney said, “speaks for itself.”

Swinney cleared the way for Riley when he fired long-time staffer and first-year offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter on Thursday.

Streeter’s offense helped the Tigers through a perfect ACC regular season and a 39-10 victory over North Carolina in the championship game to win their seventh league title in eight seasons. But Clemson was seventh in the league at 404 yards per game and struggled notably in a 35-14 loss at Notre Dame in November and a 31-14 defeat to Tennessee at the Orange Bowl last month.

Swinney said after a deep-dive into the offense, “this was just the right time to make a change.”

Riley will receive a $300,000 signing bonus. His contract also calls for bonuses of $10,000 for reaching ACC championship game to $100,000 if Clemson wins the national championship and the offense is ranked among the top five nationally.

“The opportunity to join a program with such a rich tradition and renowned culture was simply too good for me to pass up,” said Riley, the brother of Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley.

Riley thanked TCU coach Sonny Dykes, the Horned Frogs players, staffers and fans, saying the past season’s run created a “lifetime of memories.”

Riley, who’ll also coach quarterbacks, should have a talent-rich QB room to deal with. Cade Klubnik, who took over for two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei in the ACC title game, will be a sophomore while Chris Vizzina, ranked by ESPN.com as the nation’s seventh best quarterback, signed with the Tigers in December.

No. 1 Georgia bullies TCU 65-7 to win second consecutive title

Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores in the first half as No. 1 Georgia demolished No. 3 TCU 65-7 Monday night to become the first team to win consecutive College Football Playoff national championships.

The Bulldogs (15-0) became the first repeat champs since Alabama went back-to-back a decade ago and left no doubt that they have replaced the Crimson Tide as the new bullies on the block.

TCU (13-2), the first Cinderella team of the playoff era, never had a chance against the Georgia juggernaut. Unlike Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal, the Bulldogs would not succumb to the Hypnotoads’ spell.

Georgia turned in one of the all-time beatdowns in a game that decided a national title, reminiscent of Nebraska running over Florida by 38 in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, USC’s 36-point rout of Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl and Alabama’s 28-point BCS championship blowout over Notre Dame in 2013.

But this was worse.

Too much talent. Too well-coached. Two straight titles for coach Kirby Smart’s ’Dawgs.

No team has ever scored more points in a national championship game, dating to the beginning of the BCS in 1998.

With 13:25 left in the fourth quarter, coach Kirby Smart called timeout in the middle of an offensive drive so Bennett could exit to hero’s ovation in the final game of his circuitous college career.

Georgia offensive linemen were snacking on chicken wings on the sideline as the game wound down.

Smart is now 81-15 in his first seven seasons at Georgia with two national titles. His mentor, Alabama coach Nick Saban, was 79-15 with three titles in his first seven seasons with the Tide.

The Bulldogs were a different kind of dominant this season: not quite as stingy on defense, but more explosive on offense.

Earlier in Smart’s tenure at his alma mater, Georgia fans worried about whether the former defensive coordinator for Saban would be able to build an offense to match this high-scoring era of college football.

Under third-year coordinator Todd Monken, the Bulldogs have become prolific, creative and diverse offensively. They picked TCU’s 3-3-5 defense from all angles.

Versatile tight end Brock Bowers had seven catches for 152 yards. Receiver Ladd McConkey caught two TDs. Georgia ran for 254 yards with seven players gaining at least 10.

The Bulldogs scored all six times they touched the ball in the first half. Twice Bennett ran it in himself; the former walk-on turned two-time national champion was barely touched on the two quarterback keepers.

He hit a wide-open McConkey for a 34-yard score in the first quarter, a perfectly executed play out of a bunched formation that had TCU’s defensive backs in disarray. Bennett’s 22-yard score to Adonai Mitchell was a higher degree of difficulty, dropped in over a defender who had tight coverage.

It looked a lot like the Bennett-to-Mitchell touchdown that gave Georgia a fourth-quarter lead it would not relinquish against Alabama in last year’s CFP title game.

Georgia vanquished the Tide to break a 41-year national title drought last season, avenging its only regular-season loss in the process.

There was no such drama against the upstart Horned Frogs.

This year the Bulldogs never had to worry about Alabama. They rolled through the SEC, survived Ohio State in a classic CFP semifinal and then emphatically stamped themselves as a burgeoning dynasty.

Bennett hit Brock Bowers for a 22-yard score with 10:52 left in the third quarter to make it 45-7. The sophomore tight end signaled touchdown while lying on the turf at Sofi Stadium. Bennett flashed a wide grin as he tapped helmets with one of his linemen.

Georgia’s famous bulldog mascot UGA could not make cross-country trip to root in his team, but it still felt a little like Sanford Stadium in SoCal.

Many of the TCU fans cleared out with more then half the fourth quarter left, choosing to venture out into a rainy and chilly night rather than watch any more of the massive mismatch.

Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan threw two first-half interceptions in the final game of his roller-coaster TCU career.

A four-year starter who never played in a bowl before this season, Duggan led TCU on one of the most improbable runs in college football history. Unranked nationally after a losing season and picked seventh in the Big 12 for Sonny Dykes’ first year as coach, the Frogs won nine games by 10 or fewer points. They were within a victory of the program’s first national title since 1938.