Kendal Briles opens up about TCU’s QB battle, installing new offense

New TCU offensive coordinator Kendal Briles spoke to the media for the first time Friday since taking over for Garrett Riley, who left for Clemson.

Midway through spring practice the focus for Briles has been getting adjusted to Fort Worth and has leaned heavily on his family to make a smooth transition.

“It’s been great, I grew up 60 miles from here,” Briles said. “I know Fort Worth well and I’ve got my family here, I don’t waste any time getting my family (here) when I’m taking a job. I got them here, got them involved with spring sports and everybody’s adjusted really well. The Fort Worth community is such a great community.”

As for the actual job itself, the spring has of course been about installing as the Horned Frogs shift from the guidance of one offensive guru to another.

Briles’ track record as an offensive coordinator is among the best in the country. In his last season at Arkansas, the Razorbacks ranked seventh nationally in rushing yards per game and 15th in total offense. Arkansas was one of just three teams to average 230 yards rushing and 230 yards passing.

When asked to describe what TCU can expect, Briles was straight to the point.

“Production,” Briles said. “People talk about putting their stamp on a program, I don’t really care, winning football game is what it’s all about. I don’t care if we win 3-2. I’ll say we expect to be really good on offense and how will we do that? Taking advantage of what the defense gives us.

“Whether that’s running the ball, throwing the ball, I really don’t care, it’s about winning the football game. We’re going to play with tempo, we’re going to play aggressive, we’re going to take shots down the field. However those things happen, in which order, as long as it counts to us having more than them, we’re good.”

As for who’ll be operating his offense, Briles may have surprised some when he said Chandler Morris and Josh Hoover are currently battling for the starting quarterback spot.

“They both understand there’s a position that’s open and they both want it,” Briles said. “They’re doing everything extra that they can, they’re both really hungry and enjoying what we’re doing right now installing a new offense. I think they’ve done a good job.”

Briles said he’s been trying to tailor the installation of the offense to both of their skillsets. Briles hasn’t been afraid to move the pocket with a more mobile Morris, while Hoover has experience with Briles’ offense from his time in high school.

While Briles said the job is open it should be noted Morris has taken an overwhelming majority of the snaps with the first team offense. The job is likely his, but it’s important to create an environment of competition to avoid complacency.

Morris beat out Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan for the job last year in preseason camp before being injured in the second of the season opener against Colorado. His talent is evident, but there’s still much he needs to show.

“He probably felt like it slipped away from him last year, obviously he watched (Max) and I’m sure was a great teammate,” Briles said. “I’m super excited to work with him, he’s got a great mindset, he’s wanting to prove, not just to his teammates and himself, but to the general public that he can be the guy that lead this program.”

Morris’ development and seeing how much Hoover can push him will be a key storyline to watch in the back half of spring practice.

As for the rest of the unit overall, Briles is throwing the full book at the offense to challenge the Horned Frogs mentally.

“The main thing we’ve tried to do, and have, is put a lot on them,” Briles said. “We’ve done that by design. We want them to go fail because now they’ve seen it all. We’re continuing to install more and more next week. We’re going to keep putting a lot on them so whenever we have summer workouts and player-led workouts, they’ll have seen the things we’ve run in the spring.”

The Horned Frogs continue spring practice on Saturday at 8:45 a.m.