It's tough to know where to start with this whopper: Mack Brown, according to Orangebloods.com, said the Longhorn Network is negatively affecting the Longhorns.
Yes, the same Longhorn Network that was to provide such a recruiting advantage that the use of high school highlights on the network had to be banned after conference rivals revolted. The same LHN that gives Texas $15 million per year to pump into its athletic budget. The same network that is such an edge for Texas, it almost tore the Big 12 apart.
This network, Mack Brown insists, is suddenly bad for Texas.
[Related: BCS Standings Week 2]
Here's Chip Brown's full story, and it provides a strange glimpse into the mind of a coach that seems to be spending a lot of time worried about things that have nothing to do with his team winning or losing football games.
Brown complains about the time he takes doing interviews with the network. I'm sure he has a lot of obligations to the network, including taping three shows a week. ESPN is paying Texas $300 million (that number is still insane, no matter how many times you read it) over 20 years. That's going to require some extra time from Brown to chat about David Ash's throwing mechanics (I, like almost every other American, doesn't get the LHN, but I'm going to guess there's not much investigative journalism being done on those shows). That comes with the territory. It's worth noting Brown makes more than $5 million per season, even though he is 18-14 over the last three seasons. Texas went 5-7 the year before the Longhorn Network was launched, which is also worth noting.
But here's where Brown's concerns start to border on bizarre, from the Orangebloods.com story:
Brown even said if a player needs to have an ankle taped, the UT medical staff will tape both ankles so anyone watching LHN won't know if a player is injured.
Oh. That seems perfectly logical, and a great allocation of time. I'm sure the training staff loves getting that order. Nothing at all crazy about that.
Consider that Texas' sports information staff keeps an eye on the network to make sure there are no competitive advantages being given away. The practice footage comes from the first eight periods of practice, which are assuredly done in a way to not give out any game-planning information (the first few periods of most college football practices are done on individual drills, the same type of drills every team does). To think that Oklahoma beat Texas 63-21 because of the network -- which, again, provides Texas the kind of paycheck every other school dreams of and should allow the Longhorns to hire and retain the best assistants, build great facilities and have a huge recruiting budget -- is flat-out preposterous. To think that Texas can't tackle anyone this season because Mack Brown has to drive to the network studios to answer some questions is absurd. To think that opponents are winning because of things they pick up on the Longhorn Network -- and keep in mind that Texas is having trainers tape healthy ankles to throw off opponents who might be watching the shows, so it's hard to believe any stone is being unturned there- - is paranoia at its most extreme.
The whole thing comes off as whining in the worst way, like lottery winners complaining about how much they were taxed.
"I didn't ask for it," Brown said about LHN. "We were given a deal we had no input in."
As Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro told Yahoo! Sports' Eric Adelson, the Longhorns maybe need to get back to playing football and not "worrying about the stuff that you get distracted with at Texas like the Longhorn Network, all the fans, all the glory, Nike and all that stuff." His coach could benefit from that advice.
So, Texas fans, if you're upset your team is tied for fifth place in the Big 12 with a 2-2 mark, you know who to blame, and it's not Mack Brown. Blame the Longhorn Network instead. In fact, show some respect for Brown's meticulousness -- if Texas trainers taped only injured ankles for practice, the Longhorns might not have even won those two conference games.
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