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11/05/2013

A former Art Briles protege defines the Baylor coach's genius

Way before there was RGIII and Bryce Petty or Kevin Kolb there was a guy like Kelan Luker. 

Luker was one of Art Briles' quarterbacks at Stephenville High School in the '90s. He scored points and threw the ball all over the map much in the same way RGIII, and now Petty, do at Baylor. Outside of Texas, you likely had never heard of Art Briles or Kelan Luker.

Art+Briles+Baylor+v+Texas+atGGH_pvU0Ll(BTW - Baylor is ranked No. 6 in latest BCS standings and hosts Oklahoma on Thursday night. May want to watch - kind of a big game.)

For the past few years the college football world has been enamored with the success Briles has enjoyed at Baylor, but he was doing the thing in Texas high schools for more than a decade.

Beyond that of schemes Luker has an idea why so many quarterbacks have been so successful playing for Briles.

"He allowed you to be a part of that creativity," Luker said in a phone interview. "He makes it really fun. He gave you a lot of responsibility, and not to be afraid. Coaches normally like control, and that was the big thing - Art was not about control. He wants things to be fast and entertaining. He likes to entertain fans."

Back in the '90s, what jumped out about Luker was not that he could play but the amount of trust his high school coach put on his head and right arm. This was not a typical high school offense that ran it on first and second down and then threw it if they had to. Briles designed a sophisticated passing offense for high school that required a tremendous amount of practice, and trust, on 16 to 18-year olds to both create and find space.

Luker is 32 and a high school quarterbacks coach in Florida. He watches Baylor as much as he can, and said he spoke with Art Briles this week. 

"I watch them and it's the same offense. I think we had more formations back then," Luker said.

For the guys who played for Briles at high school or college, they all racked up massive numbers. It's the same thing as the QBs at Texas Tech when then coach Mike Leach had his best teams. And it always begs the question, is it the quarterback, or the system?

"It's the system because it is so unconventional," Luker said. "He will put you in a position to be successful. You have to give the quarterbacks credit but he is the guy behind it, including me. I don't know the word to use but he was an integral part in my success. He just does the same thing over and over and over with different guys. It's self evident."

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