"I feel like I've been running sprints. I already got the cotton mouth."
Those were the first words out of Art Briles mouth as he took his seat, and his session with the media was very much laced with that sardonic Texas wit.
Discussing Baylor's position as defending champions, Briles asked, "How can you defend something that can never be taken away?" He noted that Baylor's not going to sneak up on anyone this year, and the first question continued the theme. "We need to prepare as the hunted, not the hunter."
Briles suggested that being nationally relevant heading into the season is much better than being outside the top 25. History hasn't proven that to be the case unless there are a bunch of undefeated teams, but we'll let him slide.
Asked about Bryce Petty's Heisman chances, Briles took the opportunity to express his displeasure at Petty not having been invited to New York last year, and said he expects Petty to win it this year as long as he "takes care of business."
Before the next question, Briles had some fun at the expense of the Big 12 logo helmet sitting next to him on the table, saying "I guess they went $59.99 for the Big 12 helmet up here. They need to shine it up a little bit."
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After a brief discussion of the new stadium, Briles was asked about the impact of Baylor's success on recruiting in North Texas. He was optimistic about that, but was also careful to note that it helps in Houston and San Antonio and everywhere else in Texas.
Asked who'd be the Bryce Petty of the Baylor defense, Briles immediately began talking about Bryce Hager, the Bears' linebacker who went down to injury last year. But it may be the defensive line, Briles suggested, that will be the key to whether Baylor can dominate in 2014.
Briles was asked about the Fiesta Bowl loss, saying "the truth hurts" and calling it an "eye-opener."
And then Berry Tramel dropped the non-conference schedule bomb, but Briles Bill Snydered it, saying that if you run the table in the Big 12, you're going to get into the playoff. Asked about the lack of a championship game, Briles didn't seem concerned.