Mack Brown: Time to Go?

Texas Longhorns Football Coach Mack Brown

It’s hard to write a piece like this without possibly being alienated by a lot of people, but sometimes certain things must be said, and calling for a head coach’s head is never going to be easy.

My family is originally from southern California, so naturally, growing up I became a huge fan of the USC Trojans. The 2005 season was one I don’t really want to remember, and now as a student of The University of Texas at Austin, I don’t want to forget. I hated those Longhorns. Every single thing about them. From the giant cow sitting on the sidelines, to the swagger a bunch of pumpkin colored players had. But, I didn’t really hate them for any of those reasons; I hated them because they won football games.

I’ve thought about it a good amount recently. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been a part of the great tradition of Longhorn football long enough to understand the importance of Mack Brown. Maybe I’m too quick to want coaches gone without allowing young players to develop. Or maybe I’m right.

One of the most exciting parts about becoming a student at Texas was getting to be a part of Texas football; the tailgates, the rallies, the colors, the pride. This is what I wanted, and above all else I wanted to be hated, but hated for winning. The Texas football I grew up hating, is not the Texas football I belong to. It’s not the Texas football I pay ample amounts of tuition to be a part of.  The longer you unravel the mystery of Texas recruiting, and the more you watch our product on the field, the more you’ll scratch your head. I’ve sat through more press conferences attributing our losses to the greatness of opposing quarterbacks and powerful offenses more than I’ve tried to explain my bad grades to my parents. And that’s the thing; is this really the type of leader we want for Texas football?

We will ignore the fact that we’ve missed out on countless recruits at quarterback, and have had recruits not pan out, and in the last few seasons haven’t been able to win the big games for a second. We’re going to ignore all of that in order to give Mack the benefit of the doubt (even though he doesn’t deserve it by any means.) 

Mack attributes the majority of our losses to playing against “great quarterbacks” and “potent offenses.” Does he honestly want us to believe that there’s this much parity in college football offensively?

Now, let’s flash back to where the story began. A young Diego cheering on the University of Southern Cal, which if you remember was one of the most high powered offenses in the last decade of college football, and featured one of the best college quarterbacks in the last decade in Matt Leinart. That offense averaged 579.8 yards of total offense per game. The Longhorns held that offense to 38 points, so now we’ll compare that to the teams in the Big 12 this season that have scored at least 38 points against us this season, or have beaten us.

-West Virginia loss: 518.5

-Oklahoma loss: 505.9

-TCU loss: 397.0

-Kansas State loss: 410.4

-Baylor win: 578.8

Statistically speaking, not one of these offenses averaged more total yards than those Trojans of ‘05. The closest offense is Baylor coming in a yard short, and after that, Oklahoma averages 73 less yards. If you’re putting that into perspective, that is essentially a drive down the field and a score.

Why do these stats matter?

Against Baylor we gave up 50 points at home.

Against Oklahoma we gave up 63.

Against West Virginia we gave up 45.

Against Kansas State we gave up 42.

Remember, those Trojans were arguably one of the best offenses Texas faced in the last decade. Not only did they average more yards of total offense than any team we played this season, but they also only scored 38 points on us. Above you see four separate instances where we gave up 38 plus points to teams that are significantly inferior to the Trojans we stopped in ‘05.

These statistics also disprove the idea that we lose games because we are facing high powered and potent offenses. We have obviously proven we could stop even better offenses in the past. The only other statement that could possibly be used here is to state that Texas football is obviously not the same as it were in ‘05. We aren’t as good, so naturally we will give up more points on defense, and lose more games.

But, let’s take a step back when we consider that idea. A huge step back.

If we are undoubtedly not as good as we were the last time we won a national title, then why is Mack still holding the same value? With some of the top recruiting classes year by year, we haven’t been able to muster the same roster that won us a national title, and our defensive coordinator was hired by none other than Mack Brown.

Mack talks of parity in college football, and he talks of great offenses. But, none of these offenses are any better than the offense his squad was capable of stopping in 2005. Why can Mack not simply acknowledge our mistakes defensively, rather than claim parity and try to justify our losses and points given up? There is no justification. Mack has already proven he can stop better offenses, and if the reason we can’t is because we aren’t as good, then we aren’t as good on Mack’s own accord. He recruited these players. He hired Manny Diaz.

Why does one of the richest, most storied programs in college football accept these excuses from the head coach? Why is it okay for the leader of our entire sports program to claim parity and not admit we couldn’t get the job done? Why should that be okay with any fan? Remember, our websites are named after this guy.

It’s one thing to lose football games, but I don’t need a head coach standing behind a microphone claiming it happened because the other team is great offensively. We are Texas. The University of Texas. I don’t care if we’re playing the New England Patriots, if you are Mack Brown and the leader of this program; don’t make excuses for your losses. Leadership accepts blame and failure, not the opposite. Mack has overstayed his welcome as head coach in Austin, and until the fan base accepts that and stops giving him the benefit of the doubt from a national title won seven years ago, we will continue to lose big games, and continue to have 10-4 seasons. If that’s acceptable to other fans then so be it.

Now, I do realize how great Mack has been for The University of Texas, and I realize how hard it is to let go of a man who has done so much for the program, and is still beloved by many. I don’t propose Texas completely lets him go, but allows him to become the athletic director. Mack has proven his ability to recruit, and keeping him on as athletic director suits every party involved.