Art Briles sideline

Briles

However you feel about Art Briles (and everyone is entitled to their opinion), it’s impossible to deny that the man knows something about coaching successful football.

With no real options in the United States, Briles opted to coach this year in Italy. He’s the head coach of Estra Guelfi Firenze of the Italian Federation of American Football, based in Florence. Guelfi is 3-1 on the season, suffering its first loss last Saturday to the defending league champion Milano Seamen, 35-28. But early returns suggest that Guelfi is playing faster and scoring more than ever before, which would be no surprise to anyone who remembers Briles’ Baylor teams.

The Italian league allows for two American players per roster, and Briles tapped some familiar names to fill those spots — former Baylor players Lynx Hawthorne and Silas Nacita. Hawthorne has been playing quarterback for Guelfi, while Nacita is more of a do-it-all scatback.

Nacita, the walk-on who Baylor fans lovingly nicknamed “Salsa Nacho,” also produced a high-quality documentary about the team for his YouTube channel, entitled “The Rise of Guelfi.”

In it, Briles talks about the joy he has found in coaching football again.

“It’s awesome, unbelievable. To me, it’s at its purest form,” Briles said. “These guys are playing the game because they love it, and that’s why I’m coaching them.”

Guelfi’s next game is Saturday against the Bolanzo Giants.

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