Report: Kendal Briles will return to Arkansas Razorbacks for 3rd season
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Report: Briles will return to Arkansas for 3rd season

Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles
Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles (Nick Wenger)

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Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles will remain at Arkansas despite being pursued by another program, according to multiple reports.

Fresh off a nine-win season with the Razorbacks, Briles was rumored to be a candidate for the offensive coordinator job at Miami, Fla., and The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy even reported Tuesday that he was officially offered the position.

However, he has apparently turned down the Hurricanes and will return for a third season at Arkansas. That decision was first reported by ESPN’s Chris Low and subsequently confirmed by McMurphy.

Briles himself has seemingly confirmed the news, posting three Hog emojis on Twitter. That tweet was then quote tweeted by the official Arkansas football account with “U love to see it” and a GIF of head coach Sam Pittman smiling at his phone.

Even as rumors swirled about his future in Fayetteville, Briles was actively recruiting for the Razorbacks.

Shortly before McMurphy’s report that he’d been offered by Miami, Briles tweeted about being in Atlanta to recruit. On Wednesday, former Arkansas wide receivers coach Justin Stepp shared that he ran into Briles in Nashville. Later that evening, a high school coach in the DFW area posted that Briles and Pittman had been at his school.

According to Low, Briles has reached a new deal with Arkansas, although no details were provided. HawgBeat has submitted a FOIA request to the UA for a copy of his new contract when it becomes available.

When he was hired by Arkansas, Briles agreed to a one-year deal worth $1 million annually that could be extended for two more seasons “upon the recommendation” of Pittman and “written approval” of athletics director Hunter Yurachek.

Although 2022 would be the third year of that deal, Briles will likely receive a hefty raise.

Toledo head coach Jason Candle, who was also reported as a serious candidate for the Miami offensive coordinator job, was offered in the range of $1.6-$1.8 million, according to the Toledo Blade.

The expected raise comes after an impressive season by Arkansas’ offense.

Led by first-year starting quarterback KJ Jefferson, the Razorbacks averaged 30.9 points on 441.7 yards this season. Those figures ranked 48th and 28th, respectively, in the FBS and both were sixth in the SEC.

More telling, though, is the fact that Arkansas averaged just 21.4 points on 340.1 yards two years ago, prior to Briles’ arrival.

The Razorbacks were particularly dominant on the ground in 2021, leading all Power Five programs and ranking seventh nationally with 227.8 rushing yards per game. However, they were pretty balanced, also averaging 213.9 through the air.

It was the first time since 1971 that Arkansas averaged at least 200 rushing and passing yards in a season.

While they are losing star wide receiver Treylon Burks to the NFL Draft, the Razorbacks do return several key pieces on offense in 2022, including Jefferson, running backs Dominique Johnson and Rocket Sanders, and four of five starting offensive linemen.

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