Kyle Fuller first met Randy Clements when he was a recruit in Wylie, Texas.
Fuller had about 15 offers from schools in Texas to those in the Big Ten and Big 12. A connection that was built with Clements sealed the deal and Fuller was headed to Baylor.
“He was a real up-front guy,” Fuller said. “He was very direct with me about my opportunity at Baylor. He said I had a chance there. He said if I came in and worked, he would guide me along the way. He followed suit and ended up doing pretty good for myself.”
Fuller certainly did well, starting 39 straight games at center to finish his Baylor career in 2016. He was a first-team All-Big 12 lineman as a senior, blocking for a team that led the league in rushing offense (241.8 yards per game).
Now in his first season with the Miami Dolphins after spending time with Houston and Washington, Fuller is appreciative of the coach-player relationship with Clements – who is beginning his first season as Florida State’s offensive line coach.
“It was a fluid process working with him,” Fuller said. “He’s a real great coach. He’s direct. He’s funny. He’s going to be hard on you when he has to but obviously it comes out of love. It takes a second for guys to figure that out. But once they figure it out they understand and take it for their own good.”
Even during a sluggish year for Baylor in 2016, with Clements as offensive line coach and Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator, the Bears still generated 34.6 points per game in a 7-6 season. Baylor led the Big 12 in rushing while averaging 280 passing yards and scoring 33 touchdowns through the air.
Fuller saw the look in defender’s eyes – tired. Once Baylor got a first down, Briles pushed the tempo and the Bears could push their way down the field.
“We went after it, we got those first downs,” Fuller said. “It was real hard for defenses. It messed with the minds of people.”
The initial perception that Baylor was a pass-happy, spread offense has been debunked this offseason. At its core, the Baylor offense is about tempo, alignment, the running game and putting the ball in playmakers’ hands.
Briles and the quarterback would account for how many defenders were in the box and adjust accordingly. If the opportunity is there to run, they went for it.
“It’s just as important as throwing the football,” Fuller said. “It was one of those deals where you had to do both. That’s what we had to do at Baylor. We were able to throw the ball but at the end of the day when we needed hard yards that was very important to us. We worked on that just as much as throwing the football.
“When I was at Baylor it was a very high-powered offense.”
Those are words that should be welcome to FSU fans in 2019.
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