SI's Stewart Mandel met with a re-energized Mack Brown to find that Mack Brown is re-energized. Mack Brown attributes this re-energization to his abundant capacity for re-energy, despite Brown's increasing number of critics (Mandel links to my post-OU "screed" as a prime example. Was it really a screed? It's one of my rare works that actually bordered on responsible.)
If the "reinvigorated Mack" angle seems like a familiar paint-by-the-numbers effort, it is. Re-energized Mack has been bopping around Austin since 2010.
In addressing the media and answering questions for the first time since the Longhorns' disastrous 5-7 2010 season ended Thanksgiving night, Brown said Monday he's been "re-energized" by the overhaul of his staff and plans to coach "for a long time."
And from the Austin America-Statesman, January 31, 2011:
Indeed, numerous times during his hour-long session with the media, Brown used the word "re-energized" to describe his emotional state.
Other Mackatropes (sort of a rhetorical Jackalope, each myth built equally on suspension of disbelief and illogic) were abundant. Several deserving a full eye-roll.
"This place predicates their attitude on basically the A&M and the Oklahoma game," said Brown over a lunch with two reporters. "Well A&M's gone, and Oklahoma, we've stunk two years in a row, so they're mad. And that's fair."
As I've written before, whenever Mack Brown ends a statement with "And that's fair" it's a dead lock cinch that he believes that this is THE MOST UNFAIR THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE ANYWHERE EVER. Trust me on this.
More importantly - anyone else surprised that a coach who has spent 15+ years immersed in Texas Football - presumably encountering actual fans from time to time - could provide an executive summary more out of touch with the fan base and the reason for their disenchantment?
Though many fans and media assume Brown is on the hot seat heading into the 2013 season, the truth is, he's really not. "What's here is reality. What's out there is whatever," said Dodds from his perch atop a tower. (Literally, Dodds' office is on the seventh floor of a tower in Royal-Memorial Stadium overlooking the north end zone.) "I know the reality, Mack knows the reality. Mack is as good as I've ever seen.
Dodds lectures on the nature of reality while perched, literally, on an ivory tower. That sound you heard was a pack of South Congress hipsters audibly exhaling at the power of the irony they just witnessed. They slink back to the thrift shops, despondent.
Mandel swerves to avoid crushing further Mackatropes under the wheels of reason later in the article when Mack cites Longhorn football's decline as owing largely to psychological hangover from the Alabama game, injuries, and youth. Which is, in order: superstitiously false, provably false, and partially true, but only because he failed to recruit and develop, wasting entire recruiting classes.
So, after three years, Brown's deep dive analysis into our decline are the same lines he's been spouting since Fall, 2010 . And if it's all purely for public consumption, as many would argue - Brown should reconsider - smart people no longer give him the benefit of the doubt. They don't want apology or contrition - they want evidence that Brown inhabits our actual universe of reason.
So the fact that about half of his staff stopped developing, coaching, recruiting, or actively working for about half of a decade goes unmentioned.
But we're back emulating market leaders! Again! Remember that Alabama running game we decided to build back in Spring, 2010?
As Texas coach, he recently hired former Nick Saban support staffer Patrick Suddes as his first-ever director of player personnel, an administrative role that similarly deep-pocketed programs like Alabama, LSU and Michigan created several years before.
Stop if this seems familiar. Brown falls behind peers in his approach to process, blindly emulates the industry leader by writing a check for a single person or issuing an edict rather than pondering the process or system that saw to this development; then, makes cooing noises about progress while Nick Saban grins and shrugs at another replaceable cog gone from the machine, allowing a probable upgrade from his legions of minions.
Brown's in-state recruiting misses at QB are given the obligatory paragraph (Manziel and Griffin loved the idea of the Longhorns and were ignored; Luck and Texas ignored each other equally) but the lack of a backup plan for Garrett Gilbert and a rigged QB depth chart allowing his uncontested succession post-Colt are never explored.
And Mack's motivations are laid bare:
Really and truly, I have matured enough, it's not about me anymore, I really could care less. I don't care about a legacy; I don't care about a record. I want to help kids, I want to help football and I want to win all the games. That's all I want to do."
The worst aspect of Mack Brown continuing as head coach isn't that we'll go 5-7 again - we won't - it's that we're refusing to reboot an underachieving franchise that's still making money on momentum and history. We're stuck in George Clooney's Batman with Christopher Nolan's re-imagining still on hold.
And that's fair?