TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three days into fall camp, Florida State’s offense under Kendal Briles is still a work in progress.
But Briles, Florida State’s new offensive coordinator, likes where the Seminoles are headed.
And, appropriately, he intends to get there quickly.
“All gas, no brakes,” Briles said Sunday in his first meeting with the local media. “We’re full-throttle right now.”
Watch: Kendal Briles interview, August 4
Hired from Houston late last year, Briles came to Florida State with one goal in mind:
“To get this (program) back where it needs to be,” he said.
Briles figures to be a big part of that.
Just 36 years old, Briles has been around football his entire life and has already logged an 11-year coaching career that includes stops at Baylor, Florida Atlantic and Houston.
And wherever Briles goes, yards and points seem to follow.
In four full seasons as a primary play-caller – two at Baylor, one at FAU and Houston – Briles’ offenses have averaged more than 535 yards and nearly 42 points per game.
That can’t help but sound enticing to Florida State fans, who are anxious to see the Seminoles’ offense get in gear.
Briles brings a different style of hurry-up offense to Tallahassee but believes the speedy foundation the Seminoles laid in Year 1 under coach Willie Taggart will be a benefit.
“I think them transitioning from (a “pro-style” offense) last year has helped us from a tempo standpoint,” he said. “Obviously, we came in and it is a whole new terminology and a whole new system with the way that we call everything, the way that we signal.”
But that doesn’t mean that Briles expects a difficult transition.
For one thing, he’s found his new players to be as sharp as they are talented.
And seeing glimpses of what this offense can do seems to have a way of making players want to learn the ins and outs as best they can.
“They want to be successful. They are eager to learn,” Briles said. “I think they are having real fun. We are in a good spot now. We just have got to continue to get better.”
He’s already made believers out of players on both sides of the ball.
Receiver Tamorrion Terry called Briles “a great OC” who “brings the energy” and “brings the swag.”
And defensive tackle Marvin Wilson recalled a story from spring camp that showed exactly how devastating Briles’ play-calling can be.
Wilson had just brought down running back Cam Akers in the backfield and looked over to the offensive sideline to let Briles hear about it a little bit.
“I try to trash-talk him every now and then,” Wilson said with a smile.
Briles, though, had an answer.
“He was like, ‘Yeah, watch this,’” Wilson continued. “And he threw an 80-yard bomb down to Terry.”
Dialing up 80-yard touchdowns on-demand might be a big ask, but Briles is plenty confident in his offensive philosophies.
And he believes that, over the next few weeks, his players will be confident in what they’re doing.
But first, he intends to dial up the intensity – mentally and physically – as the Seminoles enter their first full week of fall camp.
“We’re going to start putting a little bit on them,” he said. “It’s going to make it a little bit tough on them, but that’s going to pay off later.”
Especially since, in Briles’ estimation, the Seminoles’ skill positions are loaded with top-tier talent.
And Briles would know, having coached future NFL draft picks Terrance Williams, Corey Coleman and Kendall Wright, among others.
Asked specifically about Florida State’s receiving corps, Briles admitted that the Seminoles aren’t quite as deep at the position as he’d like.
But in his next breath, unprompted, Briles said that the receivers he has are, “really, really good ones,” and that, when factored in with the running backs and tight ends, the Seminoles might have the most talented group of skill-position players he’s been around.
“We have really, really good skills,” he said. “So it’s up to us to put them in position to make plays.”
Extra highlights: Keith Gavin had an active day, making one of the day’s early big plays with a toe-tapping grab on the sideline. … Freshman Dontae Lucas is off to an impressive start. He’s consistently drawing steady praise from teammates during and after practice, and the Miami native has already worked his way into the rotation for first-team reps at right guard. … Nolan McDonald is on the move. The former quarterback – and the brother of FSU tight end Camren McDonald – is now working with the defensive backs and wearing jersey No 41. … The Seminoles devoted a significant amount of time to punts and punt returns, with Logan Tyler really getting ahold of a few attempts. Keyshawn Helton and freshman Travis Jay rotated return duties. … Jordan Travis and Adarius Dent connected for one of the better plays of the latter portion, with Dent beating his defender one-on-one, then making a pretty over-the-shoulder catch as he fell into the back of the end zone.