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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, September 25, 2003

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Legendary prep coach finds a home in Houston


Houston coach Art Briles is taking no solace in East Carolina’s 0-4 start. The first-year skipper says the Pirates are talented, well coached and ready to break a string of turnovers and rough starts that have plagued them through the month of September.

Briles’ Cougars will finish the month next Tuesday night with his first ever trip to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Until now, his only experience with East Carolina came in the 2000 Houston Bowl when he was the running backs coach for Texas Tech on Mike Leach’s staff. ECU defeated the Red Raiders that night by a score of 40-27.

Briles has taken over a program many felt had great left over talent from the Dana Dimel era. But he has had to call on the experience from his days coaching high school quarterbacks this season. Both of Houston’s returning quarterbacks transferred in the off season, leaving Briles with a true freshman in the starting role. 6’3 Kevin Kolb has answered the call completing over 60 per cent of his passes and throwing for nearly 200 yards per game.

“He’s a very intelligent, highly competitive young man”, Briles says of Kolb. “He just came in and worked hard and he has done a great job so far."

Perhaps Kolb was aided by the system he learned at Stephenville (Texas) High School. It is a system left in place by Briles himself. Briles coached Stephenville in the legendary Texas high school football system from 1988 to 1999. During his tenure Briles brought home four state championships making him a hot commodity and ultimately landing him a job on Leach’s staff at Tech.

Other than the obvious, Briles feels there are a lot of similarities in actually coaching at the Division 1 level and high school.

“You’re still dealing with personnel decisions, game management and so forth”, he says. “Coaching is coaching to me. It’s all about motivating people, giving them direction and giving them hope.”

Briles, who is off to a 3-1 start and coming off a huge win at home over Mississippi State, says people who underestimate East Carolina could be in for a shock.

“I really like what they’re doing on both sides of the ball”, Briles said. “They’ve got tremendous talent. I hope we’re intelligent enough to realize they have played a really tough schedule. When they get their turnover problem solved they are going to win some games because they get after it.”

Unlike a lot of coaches who have found the Tuesday night game to be a hassle, Briles says he actually is enjoying the variety this week of preparation has brought to his program.

“I kind of like it because we needed a break”, he said. “We’ve been doing the same thing since August 5th.”

Briles is off to one of the best starts ever as a first-year head coach. Pirate fans are hoping their team can spoil his party next Tuesday night. If last year’s three overtime thriller is any indication, a national television audience may get its money’s worth.

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02/23/2007 10:12:22 AM


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