Erich Schlegel - Getty Images
Mack Brown has to go. Because he can't be schemed around any longer.
When you write a piece like this, you start by saying nice things about what Mack Brown has meant to Texas...
He restored a program that had largely been lost in the desert for a decade and a half. He brought together warring factions once thought irreconcilable, fielded largely successful football teams (141-39 record), stocked our roster with talent, coached Texas in some of the greatest games in college football history, and ran a clean program in an increasingly filthy landscape. Brown always cared more about his player's actual well-being than just winning football games, and he never bullied the powerless or unduly took advantage of his position in a place where he had every opportunity.
Look around this world. Those are rare attributes. And they deserve your respect.
He was generous with his time - to a fault - volunteering his power, voice, and prestige to numerous charities, welcomed American veterans into the Texas locker room for a spontaneous tour just because he knew it might make the day of someone willing to die for our country, and made countless unmentioned and discreet appearances at the hospital beds of really sick kids and terminally ill Longhorn fans, because he knew how much it meant for their families to see them thrilled, beaming, the person they once were, full of life, one last time. I know about one of these instances because it was a childhood friend and, many years later, the family has never forgotten that final memory and kindness.
Mack Brown is a fundamentally decent man who knows that life is about much more than bread and circuses.
When you write a piece like this, you then deftly transition to the latest calamity, the final straw that means there must be changes, because this is a business, not a charity. And that this bread and circus is paying him over 5 million dollars a year to win...
I didn't watch the 4th quarter of the game. I didn't see David Ash hurt his wrist or the final indignities. It wasn't disgust on my part. I had no choice. The network moved millions of viewers from their primetime national feature game because the game was "no longer competitive."
What took them so long?
63-21. Yet another Sooner blowout. Yet another tentative, unprepared Texas team channeling the angst and week-long nervous self-talk of their head coach, manifesting it in their play as if Mack had squirted doubt into their shoulder pads with the Tin Man's oil can. Yet another game against the only rival that matters in which the team has no understanding that they're walking down the tunnel to get into a fight. Every football coach ever on this campus - even the bad ones - understood this but Mack Brown. I've had more meaningful fights as a student during Texas-OU weekend than some of Mack Brown's football teams. And my winning percentage is higher.
Your goal as head coach of the Texas Longhorns is to, within the rules, make Oklahoma a smoking crater every year in Dallas. And every self-respecting Sooner fan who read that just nodded and thought, "I wouldn't have it any other way. Now what are ROOLS?"
I tried objectively, and not so subtly, to suggest why we were going to lose to OU by going through the series history under Brown as coldly and clinically as possible. My conclusions were pretty simple: our team is made worse in this game by simple virtue of Mack Brown being our head coach.
I love watching the Longhorn Network, but the most disconcerting element of practices and team meetings is Brown's constant, unceasing chatter - a nattering chorus of self-talk disguised as motivation where he gives voice to his doubts and angst by nervously negating them in front of the team, a constant dilution of his voice, thanking his players for irrelevancies and false achievements; treating the "sudden change" of a pre-game hotel move that didn't affect the players one bit with the same gravity as preparation for Oklahoma State. Repeating the word toughness over and over as if verbal repetition imbues it instead of letting his team light up the walk-ons and scout team with full tackling and letting 1's go against 1's.
Every time a leader uses his voice for inanity, the power of that voice is diminished. Eventually, no one hears him at all.
When you write a piece like this, you then transition to the broad overview, told in a few bottom line numbers, usually preceded by something like: This is the bottom line....
I will. This is the bottom line:
5-9 against Bob Stoops. Four of those losses are among the worst blowouts in Texas Longhorn football history. All are the worst against OU in series history. And the record would be the same if both coaches switched programs. Who am I kidding? It would be worse.
Two conference titles at the University of Texas in fifteen years. 2 of 15. Think about it. That's extraordinary. And long before 2012, it was the one statistic I could never really get past. Hardware matters. Mack Brown must have a national championship quality team led by a transcendent all-time quarterback and a NFL roster to win...a conference?
Bob Stoops has won the league with masking tape and saliva stuck to a Paul Thompson bobble head doll.
6-13 in his last 19 Big 12 contests. Frankly, I'd b a little miffed if Texas was 13-6. But we're 6-13. A .316 winning percentage cuts cleanly through all of the bullshit of non-conference scheduling and other assorted nonsense. Texas can't win a third of our conference games over nearly twenty games. That's as close to a scientific sample as we need. We have to run the table the remainder of the year to get to .500. To get to average.
When you write a piece like this, you juxtapose those stark statistics with the resources at Brown's disposal...
I don't care to quibble whether Texas is the best job in the country. I believe it is. If you don't think it's in the Top 5, you're a silly person or have an axe to grind. It's the most profitable athletic department in the country. Texas plays in front of 100,000+ fans. There's deep tradition. Limitless resources. Dominant mindshare in one of the three states that dominates raw NFL talent production and where all future macro-demographics skew favorably. You own state recruiting if your staff can take Woody Allen's advice and just show up and you'll be a national player if you simply wish it so. Texas is a blank check. All you have to do is be competent enough to fill out the amount and make it to the BCS bank without self-destructing in lethargy, incompetence, or arrogance.
Last year, all of SB Nation's college bloggers held a draft of the top programs in college sports. When the first selection took a tad too long, several e-mails went out from various schools in the ACC, Big East, SEC, Pac 12 (none from any of the Texas sites) all basically saying, "Hey, dummy, the correct answer is Texas. Let's hurry it along."
When you write a piece like this, you write how the trends are "disturbing" and "unacceptable" and that "Mack Brown must seriously re-evaluate his blah blah blah..." Then you lay into the coordinators or a position coach. This is the hedge. Stopping just short of saying what needs to be done because the right assistants and players might just turn this thing around, because it has happened before....
Mack Brown has to go.
And I say it without vitriol. He has to go. Tomorrow. Next month. At the end of the season. Whenever. The dignity of a forced resignation at the conclusion of the season is fine by me. This season is going nowhere fast, anyway. But if he won't go - and I suspect he won't quietly because I don't think the average Longhorn fan can comprehend how insular his world is - then he has to be fired. And if DeLoss Dodds, various donor sycophants, or even just good men who are willing for Texas football to stink because they're more interested in life lessons imparted to 85 scholarship 20 year olds than BCS bowls, get in the way, then they need to be sufficiently motivated to act. Or find their own retirements or marginalization hastened.
When you write a piece like this, you typically end with something bitter, cutting, ominous, or snarky...
I'll pass. Mack Brown is a pretty good guy failing at his job. And outrage is a cheap currency.
There's a reason I wrote about Brown in the past tense despite the fact that he's our current head coach. It's over. He has lost us. The Rationals. He can't be our head coach anymore. There's no percentage in it. We've always understood his deficiencies. This is the place where they were endlessly dissected and documented even when we were winning (but the infrastructure was rotting). We saw reasonable evidence in the past that the right staff and overwhelming talent could make him a winner. And we were willing to give it a go with a thorough house cleaning and the idea that 2010 was a substantial wake up slap. Perhaps those things were once true and those bets were good ones given the downside of the unknowable. The calculus has shifted.
It's no longer about Mack Brown. It's about Texas Football. I don't mean Texas Football Inc. Or the goddamn hype machine and the idiot marketers. I mean our football team winning games on the field. And despite the best efforts of Bellmont and a URL address to imply otherwise, It's not Mack Brown Texas Football. It's Texas Football. He didn't build this. He's a caretaker. He's not the program. He serves it. He can't any longer.
It will take some time. There will be a ugly power struggle. Things will probably get nasty on the 40 Acres and I hope my contribution to that discussion is fair, amusing, and objective. Maybe Brown has a dead cat bounce and his enthusiasts pour out from the cracks for a while.
It doesn't matter. It's over.
This is no declaration of war on Mack Brown. It's a declaration of resignation.
So now we wait.