Acting head coach Jim Grobe said Monday he has talked to Baylor’s assistant coaches, all from former coach Art Briles’ staff, about staying focused on football for the final four games of the regular season.
“I think we’re in a situation where everybody wants their perspective to be known, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. … So I would not say that I want to put a muzzle on our coaches,” Grobe said. “My problem is I want to focus on the 100-plus great kids and I don’t think we can do that if we’re fighting other battles right now.”
The Bears are coming off a 62-22 home loss to TCU, their second consecutive loss after a 6-0 start.
On the night before that game, the assistant coaches and several staff members issued a statement on Twitter expressing their support for Briles, who was fired in May. They were disputing claims by school regents that Briles knew of an alleged gang rape.
With the players wearing all-black uniforms Saturday, as selected by seniors for the rivalry game, a group sold black T-shirts supporting the popular former coach outside the stadium before the game. The shirts had the hashtag “#CAB,” which stands for “Coach Art Briles.” A banner with those letters was flown from a luxury suite inside the stadium during the game, and some players reportedly had those initials on black bandanas they wore.
“I have no problems that they care about Coach Briles,” Grobe said. “I just think if you get too caught up in making statements, you play terrible, and that’s happened. … I’d like for everybody to spend a little more time focusing on football.”
After their worst home loss since 2005, the Bears (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) play Saturday at Big 12-leading and ninth-ranked Oklahoma (7-2, 6-0). The Sooners will have two top running backs returning while the Bears have benched career rushing leader Shock Linwood for attitude issues .
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell said Monday that players and coaches have talked about being 100 percent focused on football for the rest of the season.
“Coaches came in yesterday, and said they feel like they let that stuff kind of get to them a little bit, and they’re not going to let that happen anymore,” Russell said. “They’re going to stay focused on us. … If we lose, it’s our name-on-it type deal, and they don’t want to get embarrassed like we did last week. Coming off the field, we didn’t feel like Baylor.”
None of the assistant coaches has been available to speak with the media this season.
Grobe said he has no questions about whether the assistant coaches care about and are fully invested in the players. But he also understands that their focus can be affected.
The tweet Friday night was in response to what four Baylor regents said in a meeting with editorial board of the Dallas Morning News. The previous week, before the Bears lost by one point at Texas, there was a Wall Street Journal article when regents first provided some details about some of the allegations.
“It just seems like every week something’s going to come out, and a lot of times, it’s a rehash,” Grobe said. “I’m not so sure it’s not a culmination, it just built and built and built and built until finally it’s a boiling point.”