HawgBeat - How much will Arkansas' offense improve in Year 1 under Kendal Briles?
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How much will Arkansas' offense improve in Year 1 under Kendal Briles?

Kendal Briles is in his first season as Arkansas' offensive coordinator.
Kendal Briles is in his first season as Arkansas' offensive coordinator. (Nick Wenger)

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Since leaving the program his father elevated - not without controversy - from doormat to national power, Kendal Briles has been a college football vagabond of sorts.

Including his final season at Baylor, Arkansas will be his fifth school in five years. Since leaving Waco, Briles had one-year stints as the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic, Houston and Florida State before landing the same job with the Razorbacks under first-year head coach Sam Pittman.

Despite not being anywhere long enough to establish sustained success, Briles has been in charge of some dramatic Year 1 turnarounds.

As illustrated in the graphs below, the Owls, Cougars and Seminoles each saw a jump in scoring and total offense - as well as yards per play and the SP+ offensive rating - with him calling the shots.

Florida Atlantic and Houston each saw drastic improvement while his time at Florida State was met with some criticism and head coach Willie Taggart was ultimately fired, but even the Seminoles’ offense improved under Briles’ leadership.

Arkansas is counting on a similar improvement in 2020, but just how big of a step forward should fans expect from the offense?

The lack of spring ball because of the coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly have an effect on the Razorbacks, but it would be difficult to quantify how much it’ll hinder them, so HawgBeat did not factor that into the following calculations. Instead, just keep that fact in the back of your mind when determining your expectations.

Included in the chart below are Arkansas’ numbers and rank in those statistics during the 2019 season, as well as what the average percentage improvement at Briles’ three previous stops would look like for the Razorbacks this season.

Considering they’re both Power Five schools and coming off horrendous offensive seasons before Briles’ arrival, HawgBeat also crunched the numbers using only the percentage improvement he experienced at Florida State last year.

(NOTE: The rank for the 2020 Arkansas figures are where they would have ranked in 2019.)

Arkansas' 2020 Offensive Expectations
Category 2019 Arkansas 2020 Arkansas (3-year avg.) 2020 Arkansas (FSU average)

Scoring Offense

(FBS rank)

21.4

(110th)

31.1

(49th)

27.3

(75th)

Total Offense

(FBS rank)

340.1

(111th)

405.7

(65th)

384.4

(87th)

Yards/Play

(FBS rank)

5.21

(101st)

5.96

(58th)

5.94

(59th)

SP+ off. rating

(FBS rank)

21.7

(105th)

25.7

(82nd)

26.2

(t-77th)