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Big 12 Media Days: Mack Brown Unplugged

Mack performed for just over thirty minutes. Closed his set with Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple. Said a lot of good things, interesting things, and suggested that he may not be able to tell a pass from a run. As with any time Mack Brown speaks, I was pleased, impressed, irritated twice, and only once muttered, "Maaaack, what the f are you talking about?"

Let's wade in:

From his opening statement -

This year's team is in a position in preseason more like the 2005 team. It's more of a dangerous position, but, at the same time, you feel like that because the expectations are much higher, the 2005 team lived up to those expectations. They stepped up.

The most dangerous psychological position for a team is the year after they've overachieved. Fans, players and coaches tend to rewrite the script as if we were that good all along. Dangerous anywhere, VERY dangerous at Texas. Where complacency can engulf our players like fat white chicks around our LBs at a club.

On our RB circus -

Fozzy needs to stay healthy. He's played well when he's in there. I thought Vondrell probably played hurt a lot last year. We need to continue to work with Cody on conditioning, and he had the bad hamstring pull in the spring.

We have a series of incomplete parts. And the fact that they're all constantly injured suggests the need for a Todd Wright intervention.

Without a consistent running game, how do we protect Colt?

So I think our thought with Colt's running is we don't mind him running. We do want him to be healthy. We don't want him to get beaten down, and we need to do a better job this year of trying to control through play selection and talking to him when he's going to run and when he's not.

Agreed. I'll take it a step further though. We're not just protecting Colt in the running game by finding a scheme and back that work, but also protecting him in the passing game. Colt's primary beatings at year end took place because defenses disrespected our run game and told their outside pass rushers to forget about run responsibilities and allowed their inside LBs and safeties to come on delay blitzes. Colt took real beatings in the pocket against weak teams like Baylor, A&M, and, of course, a quality defense in Ohio State.

TE play is important here - not only in giving Colt a quick check down, but also providing some flexibility in the run game -

It's not as easy to run the ball without a tight end. That affected us some last year. We had too many zero-gain plays or negative-yardage plays in our running game. We moved Grant in there, and he sprained his ankle and didn't do a lot in the spring.

Lots of ankle sprains. I'm not sure what Grant gives us in the running game against a traditional defense, but if we can get a team to go nickel or dime and match him up on a WLB or DB, that's something we can work with. He's not going to fire out and pin Jeremy Beal on his back.

We are excited about the defensive backs. And not only because we think they're talented, but there's a lot of them. And the competition is really driving them. They can't take a lazy step.

Me gusta los Darwinian processes. We've come a long way from the "bled for our program" horseshit. As this relates to Blake Gideon - let's be clear - if he's a starter, it's an admission by our coaches that they don't trust Earl Thomas or Christian Scott setting up the defense. It's not Will Muschamp's misplaced love for a player that reminds of himself. I think Will is a tad more ruthless than that, don't you? Hell, maybe Gideon gets better too.

But what about the mean Big 12 and their evil anti-Texas conspiratorial tie breaking system?

A lot of that comes from us. We need to learn from that and move on, quit talking about the system and just go play.

Attaboy, Mack.

On the uncertainty at DT -

We have two guys with a lot of experience in Ben Alexander and Lamarr Houston. They've been around for a long time, and they're kind of the strongholds.

Yes, Ben Alexander is our Masada.

Now join me as we watch Mack Brown completely lose his mind!

One of the amazing stats from last year at our conference, at our school -- and I want to say this properly because it sounds kind of weird. We had less than 100 runs against us last year, and we had more than 600 passes. That was for the year. And that's phenomenal that we had less than 100 rushes against us.

Mack is having a Joe Biden moment.

If I count up the Big 12 box scores from last year and don't count any QB rushes (many of which are running plays - Robert Griffin, Zac Robinson, Stephen McGee) I can come up with 149 carries. I don't expect that anyone on this staff shall be up for the Fields Medal in Mathematics any time soon.

However, his basic point - which is sound - is this -

So what we're looking at is if that trend continues in the Big 12, you've got to stop the run, obviously, on first down, but you've got to get packages for pass rushers. So as much as we're concerned about the big guys up front, we still have to make sure that we have packages for pass rushers in situations

Right on.

I wrote last year that defense in the Big 12 is nothing more than a bunch of discrete packages based on down and distance. The base defense as your core defense is an antiquated idea. Base defense now means first down defense against a typical set - and if it's facing Tech, it may well be a 3-2-6 with Houston at NT flanked by Keenan Robinson and Sergio Kindle with Christian Scott blitzing off of Kindle's left hip. Not exactly a great preparation for ever playing Georgia Tech, but whatcha gon' do?

And - since I will never a let moment pass without taking a shot - thank God Gene Chizik and his failures in creative imagination are gone because the current Big 12 would pack in his shit like a hot Pashtun boy dropped off in a Taliban camp.

That's why we have this guy:

Mack's most impressive statement is when he was asked by an Oklahoma reporter what has turned the recent tide in the Texas/OU game given Mack's struggles in the early part of the decade. His answer was telling -

And I do feel like our guys are relaxed in the game more than they were previous years, and we're playing better in that game. And Oklahoma is playing great. It's back to where it's a great game instead of some of those lopsided games where I didn't do a very good job coaching.

Talking about that in a forthright way without any defensiveness is good. Very good.

Let's get it on.