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Is it time for a coaching change in Austin?
Even though Texas won 21-17 in last Saturday's game against Kansas, the victory isn't sitting well with many folks in Austin. Struggling to beat the worst team in the conference is never a good sign, and the Longhorns don't seem to be much better from last season's 8-5 squad. Mack Brown has had a successful stint as Texas' head coach, but is it time for a coaching change?
Is it time for Texas to make a coaching change?
David Fox (@DavidFox615):
No question, Texas is not where it used to be. The Longhorns aren’t where they should be by any means, either. That said, it’s almost a surprise to look at the standings and see Texas at 6-2. Seems like the record should be much worse -- that’s because the Oklahoma rout felt like two losses, and a 21-17 win over Kansas may as well be a loss. But in the end, Texas is poised for a second consecutive eight-win season or better after going 5-7 two years ago. That three-year span gets coaches fired at Michigan and Florida, and perhaps it should at Texas under normal circumstances. But Mack Brown has too much credibility built up with nine consecutive 10-win seasons and two national title game appearances. And don’t forget: Parting ways with the coach is the easy part. Just ask Tennessee or Florida State.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Before last weekend I would have laughed at this question. But inching past Kansas in extremely unimpressive fashion has raised my eyebrows. Mack Brown has never burnt the midnight oil drawing up game plans to out-scheme the other guy. He has never been an ultra gameday motivator. His value lies in his Gubernatorial talents as CEO of the nation's largest football program and working the "rubber chicken circuit" — aka boosters, recruit’s homes, high school banquets, etc. Most football coaches should be able to win at a place like Texas, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Longhorns should never lose to Kansas. Brown has earned plenty of equity with two national title appearances since 2005. And with Texas Tech, Iowa State and TCU up next on the schedule, his team should be much closer to 9-2 than, say, Auburn's 1-7. I am okay with Brown getting another year in Austin (if he wants it)...unless Art Briles is interested in moving 100 miles down I-35 South.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
I don’t think Mack Brown is in any danger of losing his job this season, but there’s no question the pressure is starting to build. It’s never easy for any program to stay on top forever, but since recording nine consecutive seasons of at least 10 victories from 2001-09, the Longhorns are just 19-14 over the last three years. Revamping the staff gave Texas an initial bump last season, but the defense has regressed, and the quarterback position is still a question mark. Brown is the perfect CEO for this program and continues to reel in top-five recruiting classes. So where has Texas gone wrong? The Big 12 has gotten better, but the talent hasn’t developed as quickly as most expected. In the three seasons prior to his arrival, the Longhorns were 22-14 and struggled to find consistency in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Texas is college football’s premier job, so there should be high expectations every year. Considering what Brown has done, he deserves another year to get this team back in the mix for a BCS title. And it’s also hard to envision Brown getting fired at the end of 2012 or 2013. Maybe he steps down to take an athletic department position or retires, but I don’t see Mack Brown ever getting fired from Texas.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
I would hate to see Mack Brown fired — the man has done too many great things at Texas — but it might be time for a change at Texas. The Longhorns showed signs of progress in 2011 but have since reverted back to ’10 form. Their last four games have been especially alarming — losses to West Virginia (48–45) in Oklahoma (63–21) and wins vs. Baylor (56–50) and Kansas (21–17). Brown has pointed to his team’s youth, but being “too young” should never be an acceptable excuse at a school like Texas. The roster should always be stocked with talent in every class. It might be unrealistic to expect Texas to compete for a national title every season, but it’s not asking too much for this program to be nationally relevant. And that has not been the case since Colt McCoy went down with an injury in the 2009 national title game.
As they say, everything's bigger in Texas, especially when it comes to expectations surrounding the football team. As bad as the back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma have looked, especially the 63-21 beatdown by the Sooners, this Texas team will still probably finish with no fewer than eight wins, and has a chance to make some noise late and get back into the BCS conversation. The Longhorns will have to take care of business, but if they go 4-0 the rest of the way, which would include a win over Kansas State, who is currently undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS standings, that would bring their record to 10-2. However, considering the defense's consistent struggles this season, another loss or two before the bowl season seems a little more realistic. Still, an eight- or nine-win season is something most programs would gladly take, and even though this is Texas, where they eat, drink and breathe football, I see no reason to make a coaching change. That is, unless Mack Brown is the one making the decision to step down. I think he's at least earned that right having won more than 140 games in his 15 seasons in Austin. Do Longhorn fans really think there's someone out there, who would take the job if offered, that would be better for the program, as a whole, than Brown? I don't.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
I think the UT program has been inexcusably average for the last three seasons, but the Longhorns still have a shot at a double-digit win total this year. The Texas offense was horrid in 2010-11 but has improved this season; however, a talented defense has suddenly become a sieve under Manny Diaz in 2012. There were high hopes in Austin coming into this season, after the Longhorns totaled just 13 wins over the last two years. It has not been pretty — especially a 63-21 loss against Oklahoma — but Texas is still 6-2. If Mack Brown can get to 9-10 victories, he should be allowed to fix the recent slippage in a program that has every resource imaginable. If the Horns falter late by losing three or four more, a change may be needed.
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