COACHES WHO COULD PROBABLY USE A BIG SEASON
NO. 2, MACK BROWN
To listen to Mack Brown tell it, the recent struggles of Texas football were due in large part to having young teams.
Maybe so, but Texas should never struggle like it has recently. Fair or not, the expectations are high for the program that generates more cash and has arguably the most fertile recruiting territory in all of college football. A 22-16 record over three seasons, which is what Texas has produced this decade, should not happen. The Longhorns have too many built-in advantages to produce that record.
There have been notable recruiting failures at quarterback, letting Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel slip away. The offense has seemed stuck in neutral without a clear plan. The defense has faltered, especially last season. Texas is in danger of becoming the second most attractive destination for recruits in the state, if Kevin Sumlin can keep making rapid progress at Texas A&M.
Brown's ultimate legacy will always be a 2005 national championship, which came in the middle of a nine-season streak of at least 10 wins. But he certainly doesn't want his time at Texas to end on such a disappointing note.
Orangebloods.com wrote a fascinating piece on Brown last December. It talks in depth about what has gone wrong the past few years, and explores the hypothetical situation of Brown possibly walking away had Texas won the BCS Championship Game at the end of the 2009 season against Alabama. Brown is apparently convinced if Colt McCoy didn't get hurt, the Longhorns would have won. While respectfully disagreeing, a win in that game likely would have changed everything when it comes to Brown.
That Orangebloods.com story paints a picture of Brown, following that loss to Alabama, desperate to make one final run and go out on a high note. The question is whether he can do that before his time at Texas runs out.
Brown thinks Texas will be well served by having a more experienced team. He brought that up often in a Big 12 teleconference this week. He talked about more experience at quarterback and running back, depth on both lines and in the defensive backfield.
"All of those things are better than they’ve been the last three years, so it gives us a chance to be good," Brown said.
According to Phil Steele, Texas has 19 returning starters. Nobody in the nation has more.
With Longhorns fans excited that Major Applewhite can be a more effective play-caller than Bryan Harsin, who left to be Arkansas State's head coach, and quarterback David Ash coming off a good Alamo Bowl performance. Along with the rest of the returning talent, Texas has fewer excuses than normal if this season isn't successful. If the issues of the last few years really were due to being young, that can't be the reason again if this season isn't much better.
That's a lot of pressure for Brown to be under this season. Another mediocre season and Longhorns fans will be even more anxious over Brown and the direction of the program.
Brown said on the teleconference this week that the Alamo Bowl win against Oregon State that got the Longhorns to nine wins was nice, but he let the players know it's not the ultimate goal.
"Nine is not enough at Texas," Brown said. "They understand the last three years aren’t acceptable.
"Our expectations at Texas are to win every game. They understand that."
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