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Is Mack Brown the right guy to fix Texas football?

October 16, 2012
  • Head Coach Mack Brown has Texas in the top 25, but that's not enough for some Longhorns fans.
Head Coach Mack Brown has Texas in the top 25, but that's not enough… (Michael Mulvey / Associated…)

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss Texas Head Coach Mack Brown. Feel free to join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Only in college football can a guy average 10 wins a year for 14 seasons and have to justify his job security. But that's what happens when you get outscored by Oklahoma, 118-38, the last two years. The defense has been shockingly bad, but of course Mack Brown deserves one more chance to get it right. He came to Texas in 1998, the first year of the BCS, and since then Texas leads all schools with 95 appearances in the standings.

The Longhorns are No. 25 this week, 4-2, and very young. There were cries for Mack's head when he lost five straight to Oklahoma from 2000 to 2004. The next year, Texas won the national title. Two years after a 5-7 season, Texas is actually headed in the right direction. If you want a coach and program in real crisis, check out Gene Chizik and Auburn.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

I was raised to respect my elders, especially ones as classy and genteel as Mack Brown. But if I were a Texas fan, I’d start wishing that the man do a two-step out of town.

There are some schools where mediocrity simply should not be tolerated. Texas is one of them. The Longhorns have every conceivable advantage, starting with a loaded recruiting base, tradition, a giant stadium and financial resources that would make a Super PAC envious. Yet Texas is 17-14 since 2010. And one of those 14 was Saturday’s atrocious showing in the Red River Rivalry.

Joe Paterno, for all his apparent failings in the Jerry Sandusky case, did manage to turn around Penn State after four subpar seasons as he neared his 80th birthday. Brown is just 61. But if I were a Longhorn alum, I would not count on his being able to fix the program.

Dieter Kurtenbach, South Florida Sun Sentinel

No, Mack Brown is not the man. That man was Will Muschamp, the former Texas head coach-in-waiting who grew tired of waiting and bolted to Florida. You know, Florida, the No. 2 team in the BCS standings.

Brown lost his mojo around the time the rest of the Big 12 realized that the Longhorns ran bubble screens 90% of the time. In that same time, recruiting has gone beyond the borders of states and onto the Internet, where a four-star running back from DeSoto, Texas, can develop meaningful relationships with Oregon coaches. Texas has nine of the top 25 prospects in Texas, but that is a low number compared with years past, and those kids aren't buying Mack Brown, they're buying the school — and Austin isn't hard to sell.

Brown will stay in the role, because it'll cost Texas $3.5 million to buy him out this year, and unless Muschamp wants to double his salary, the Longhorns don't have a better option than Brown.

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

It’s hard to believe that anyone questions whether Mack Brown is the right guy to lead the Texas football program. Sure, the Longhorns have lost the past two games, including a blowout loss to arch-rival Oklahoma, but how can you seriously believe he hasn’t done a good job?

The 61-year-old has won 78% of his games during the 14 seasons he has been at the helm in Texas and has taken the program to 13 bowl games in that time. He’s three years removed from playing in the national championship game and he’s a heck of a recruiter — especially in the state of Texas.

He’s had one bad season at Texas — last season — when his team went 5-7. It came shortly after he lost key coordinators, including Will Muschamp, who left to take the Florida job. This year’s team has made progress, and I expect the program to remain steady under Brown’s leadership.


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