Briles Stays; Was He Offered By UM?

Several weeks of speculation about Kendal Briles status as the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator came to an end on Thursday when several media outlets reported that Briles had twice turned down offers from new University of Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal to direct the Hurricanes’ offense. A twitter war quickly erupted as to whether Briles had actually been offered the job or if his agent had leaked false information to the media in order to get his client a better contract at Arkansas.

Mike Ryan Ruiz, a producer on the Dan LeBatard podcast, tweeted out: “Briles was never offered the job and CAA (Briles agent) wanted Miami to so they could leverage it for a raise and loyalty clout at Arkansas. Briles really wanted to go to Miami.”

A Razorback fan with the Twitter handle of Pinto shot back: “This is completely false. Miami offered Kendall Briles a deal and he actually refused it, not once but twice. Briles left over seven figures/3yrs on the table to stay with Arkansas and (Sam) Pittman. Nothing but respect for KB.”

Ruiz then responded with: “Respectfully, you don’t know s**t.”

At that point Briles jumped in, advising: “Get a reliable source.”

Later Ruiz claimed that Briles had blocked him on Twitter.

Regardless of what actually transpired between Briles and Cristobal, it is clear that he will continue as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas which is good news for K.J. Jefferson. Arkansas’ starting quarterback showed remarkable development under Briles before and during the 2021 season.

Most Razorback fans greeted the news with joy and a sigh of relief, although some continued to complain about Briles frequent use of various razzle dazzle plays that have, more often than not over the previous two seasons, failed. Double reverses with receivers or running backs throwing incomplete passes appear to have especially irritated these fans.

Interesting, since most express total faith in Briles’ boss but seem to ignore the obvious fact that if Sam Pittman has an issue with his offensive coordinator’s play calling he would not have lobbied as early as last November to get him a new contract and raise.

Just how much of a salary boost Briles will receive remains speculation since according to various sources the new contact has yet to be completed but a good guess seems to be in the $1.5 million/per year range.

Pittman, a first time head coach at the BCS level when he was hired, has pulled off a remarkable turnaround from a dismal two seasons under his predecessor. Chad Morris was fired after 22 games as the head football Hog. The team suffered through consecutive 2-10 seasons, the worst in the modern era of Razorback football.

Under Pittman, Arkansas went 3-7 in the COVID shortened 2020 season with an all SEC schedule that was judged to be the toughest in college football. Year two under Pittman brought an astonishing jump in success. Arkansas went 9-4 with an Outback Bowl victory over Penn State, the most wins for the Razorbacks since 2011.

Briles was a big part of that success along with defensive coordinator Barry Odom, and by keeping both men in light of that success, Pittman is quickly developing a reputation as a head coach who knows how to hire quality assistant coaches and keep them in place.

As for Cristobal, who was hired back on December 6 with a reported 10 year $80 million contract, after almost seven weeks on the job he still doesn’t have an offensive coordinator hired.

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