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Barking Carnival's Intern Interviews Mack Brown

Qualifications for a BC Intern

  • Has to be aware that Barking Carnival exists, or is at least open to the idea of its existence. It's a tough job market so we're not just going to settle for the next HenryJames.
  • He's friendly with subjects and predicates alike. And, he has a penchant for introductory clauses that take the oomph out of a sentence from the get go. Heck, around here we call it the Trips Right Up Front But Recovers Nicely Towards the Middle of the Sentence.
  • He attended the University of Texas for at least 12 hours.
  • Still lives with his parents.
  • Yearns to learn the real identity of Fake Ken Tremendous.
  • We finally found someone who met the following criteria and after a crash course in BC Etiquette, we dispatched him to Bellmont just to see what would happen. Would he rappel up the building like Chip Brown, having already been denied access? Would he sweet talk Kandy Kasey Johnson, Mack's longtime assistant and prolific mailer of infant scholarship offers?

    Turns out the dude walked right into Mack Brown's office and got an interview. Mack had never met the guy but already knew his full name and extended family.

    Opening Statement

    There’s lots of decisions to be made over the next week, between now and next Monday, because you start looking at depth chart. It affects this year’s team. It also affects next year’s team. It affects injuries. It affects team morale and conditioning late in games. You’re also looking at who do you play against Rice in 11 days? At 2:30 today it will be 11 days. If you might want to redshirt a freshman by the seventh game, do you play him in the first one?

    If you do, fans need to understand, you play one play, you’re out. You’re through. There’s no room for margin to change your mind, except if a young man got hurt. We may not play some freshmen against Rice that might play in the third, fourth and fifth week, just simply because they’re not ready, but we’ll need them for the season. All of that is important to us. Then you have to talk to them about they’re not really redshirting, because we don’t redshirt until the seventh game of the season. You have to talk to them about talking to their parents when they come home about being embarrassed. "I was very highly recruited and I might not get to play." There’s a lot of sitting and talking to kids individually between now and next week and obviously the Rice game.

    The Intern's Take: Mack is saying we need to think politics with some freshman. If we redshirt one, Mom might get mad at us. Mom's are the lifeblood of the program. If we burn the redshirt on the other one, dad is the one getting mad. So you have to look out what's best for the player and their career path. But they're all good kids who graduate. Not all the kids Mack coached at North Carolina or Tulane or Oklahoma were Good Kids Who Graduated.

    If a freshman might play in the fourth game but not in the first one you’ve got to have special teams depth. Who do you work with for the next 10 days? Also, if you’ve got a senior who’s on four special teams and he’s a starter and he gets worn out early in this heat, do you need to get him off of two of those and put a more fresh guy on there? You have to have two groups of special teams guys ready. If something happens and you’re kicking in one area more than another you don’t want to wear one group down. All of those things matter.

    The Intern's Take: Kenny Vaccaro's wallet says Bad Muthafucka. Having been raised in The Valley, he looks forward to filling said wallet as fast as possible. Hopefully in the NFL and not in college.

    Right now we continue to look at schemes. You try some things in the spring. You try things in early camp. Now you’re getting down as you decide who you’re going to play, you also decide who you feature. Who is your best pass rusher? How do you get him on the worst blocker? Who is your best cover guy? How do you disguise but take the guy away man-to-man? Who do you want the ball in the hands of as a running back? Which receivers are the best combination? Can you find six? Who’s your backup left tackle? A lot of those things we’re going through at this time. But that's why we have the best coaching staff in college football. It's why Mack, Greg, Will, and The Major get to work every day at 4:30 a.m. They should be anyway. I haven't caught up with yet Cleve today.

    The Intern's take: I have no clue what Mack just asked or said but I'm nodding and smiling and unconsciously grabbing my checkbook.

    It looks like at this time Reliant has sold about 50,000 tickets for the Rice game. That’s a great start. We’re still hoping that Texas fans and Rice fans will rally and we’d love to sell it out for the opener. That’s what we’re hoping. It will be fun.

    The Intern's Take: Play a team with a Goddamn pulse and you won’t have to worry about selling out.

    We will scrimmage at 6:00 on Wednesday night, because that’s when we always have the end of the preseason scrimmage. Obviously there will be some Rice work going into that one. You try in preseason to look at what different things you will face in the first five ballgames. After Oklahoma we have an open date, then you start working on the next group with your open date because you have 10 days to two weeks to prepare for that. That will be our Wednesday night scrimmage. Then we will practice Thursday. We will have our women’s clinic Thursday night. We will meet the kids for video at 6:00 on Friday morning. Give them off Friday afternoon, give them off Saturday, and have them meet back with us at 6:00 on Sunday night for a team dinner. Then we will practice at 6:00 on Monday morning. That will help us get them out of bed, but it will also separate early morning practice on Monday when they’re coming out of preseason from the afternoon practice on Tuesday, because we have an extra practice that week because the opening game is like after an open date.

    The Intern's Take: Other than having Rice for pregame dinner, we’re not working on anything of the sort at this stage. We better be working on OU, Nebraska, and Tech in that order during our down time.

    Saturday’s scrimmage I thought the energy was much better. It was a longer scrimmage. It was a more physical scrimmage. We were able to look at about every situation. We had coming off the goal line, we had going in. We had goal line. Live best against best, we had one minute drill. We had game situations that came up. There were no turnovers by the offense, which is good. That scares you about the defense. You’d rather see turnovers forced. There was really good balance on offense with the run and pass. The defense did force five three-and-outs. The defense dominated the first part of the scrimmage, then the offense came back and did well. We did not have an injury in the scrimmage that will keep someone from playing against Rice. It was a great day for us in that we got a lot done and everyone came out healthy enough to continue to play.

    The Intern's Take: No injuries is great. The thing that scares you about our defense, Mack, should be their general disposition. These guys run down cheetahs and buttfuck Rhinos for crying out loud. If the second team Mercy Scores make Greg Davis sleep better at night then more power to him.

    Just some names of guys that have been very consistent in preseason camp, because we will give you our depth chart next Monday. Offensively, Michael Huey, Kyle Hix have played really well at left guard and left tackle. They’re coming off; it’s obviously much easier to come from a three-point stance in the running game. It’s much more difficult to pass protect, but much easier to come off in the running game. They’ve come on and had a great camp. Garrett Gilbert continues to have a great camp. We’re please with Garrett. He’s taking much better care of the ball every day that he’s out there and learning his reads. All three running backs – Tre’ Newton, Fozzy Whittaker and Cody Johnson – have played well. We have said that we knew what Tre’ and what Fozzy could do. Cody has stepped up and he is in the mix. He is a factor as we’re looking at every-down backs. We’re excited about that.

    The Intern's Take: Reading between the lines tells us Cody Johnson is your Ivan Williams. Except there won’t be any weeping in the locker-room come halftime of the OU game, and Fozzy Whitaker is a viable option until he suffers another torn labia.

    The most consistent receiver has been James Kirkendoll. He has shown a burst. He has played at two positions on the wide side of the field. He’s also playing X along with Malcolm Williams. He’s catching the ball. He looks better right now than we’ve seen him look. We’re really excited for him.

    The Intern's Take: We’re going to smelt our Brandon Healey bobble-head and cryogenically freeze it in a Jermichael Finley magnum. If it melts before Tech, I like our chances in Lubbock. That's really all it comes down to. We've also invited Mike Leach to watch the game from our sideline.

    Offensively, we need to get better in the red zone and on the goal line before we play Rice. Wide receivers need to do a better job of getting off of press coverage. We are playing some young wide receivers, but in college the biggest difference in the wide receiver’s life than it was in high school is the fact that you have to beat man-to-man every time to have a chance to get off against a good team, also, blocking down field. As we talked about before, offensive linemen do not cut in practice and scrimmages. The receivers do not cut in practices or scrimmages. We have to work really hard at trying to make sure that the receivers can transition from practice where they do not cut to blocking down field in ballgames, because it’s very important.

    The Intern's Take: We don’t need to do anything other than avoid salmonella before the Rice game. No eggs served on the training table, imo. But yes, I agree, we need guys that can defeat press coverage against Demontre Hurst and Nebraska’s artist formerly known as Prince. Mike Davis resents the fact anyone thinks he can be covered. Like Mike Crabtree, he just wants the ball more than you.

    We still have to establish a second-team quarterback. We haven’t gotten there yet. They’re both doing really well. We’re very proud of them. It probably helped that they came in spring practice. And obviously the fact that Sherrod (Harris) is not playing forced them to step up and get more ready to play. We still have to make that decision. We feel like we’ve got to continue to build more depth on the offensive line. That’s something that we’ve got to do. The second guys need to play. Right now we’ve got a couple that could, but not across the board.

    The Intern's Take: Whomever emerges better play against Rice, Wyoming, and the OOC fodder we play the rest of the way. If you can make the two deep on this squad, you're probably pretty good. The young pups need to make the most of those limited snaps.

    Defensively, we’ve got to build depth on the defensive line. We’ve made progress, but we’re still not there. We want to be more consistent across the board defensively. I’ve said we have a chance for this to be our best defense. We have a chance to run the ball much better than we have lately. Obviously those are just projections until they do it. They haven’t proven it. It’s out there for this team to prove all the things that we’ve been talking good about in preseason. We’ve got to continue to play blocks well up front, play to the standard of never ever letting anyone out hustle you on defense. That’s one of the things that Greg Robinson brought to us and Dick Tomey and then Gene (Chizik) continued and Will (Muschamp) has done a great job of.

    The Intern's Take: Way to provide cover using an unquestioned strength over an unmitigated disaster. I know this is my first interview but jeez Mack! Yes, our best unit needs to morph into the ’85 Bears and it would be nice if we could average at least 4.3 yards per carry with our newfangled running game. I don’t know what the bigger threat to our defensive coordinator will be: LSU losing 5 games or Greg Davis going fetal in Dallas and Lincoln.

    We’ve got to again look at our schemes, figure out what schemes on offense we will stick with and build on, same defensively. We’ve got 3-4 and 4-3 and disguises. What are we going to make our living with? All of that will be decided over the next three weeks but especially over the next two. Will always says we want to lead the nation in effort, which we said. We need to make sure we tackle better, because it’s hard to tackle enough in preseason. That’s something that’s always tough at the first of the year.

    The Intern's Take: Our defense chooses to be multiple because it can do whatever it fucking wants under the witchdoctor that is Will Muschamp. Our offense is relegated to multiple choice and the answer is usually d) None of the Above.

    We will close camp basically with that scrimmage on Wednesday. We will also have our regular Tuesday night meeting. In that meeting, the freshmen have already had a karaoke night where they butchered songs. It’s a very talented group but not when it comes to singing. They were as bad as any freshman group we’ve ever had. It was very embarrassing. You couldn’t understand most of the songs. It was like the old Gong Show. The players booed them off the stage before they finished in most cases. Tomorrow night they will have to sing Texas Fight as a freshman group. Then they will stand up and we’ll sing it as a complete team and pull all the rookies into the fold.

    The Intern's Take: I like this. You can couch this as preparing the kids for the NFL. Dez Bryant is a helluva karaoke guy but he’s dog shit when it comes to carrying pads.

    We are preseason No. 5 in the polls. We’ve started and finished the season ranked among the nation’s Top 10 in five of the last six years, each of the last three. We’ve started the year ranked in the Top 10 in each of the last 10 years. We’re the only team in the nation that’s been ranked among the Top 15 in the final poll in each of the last 10 years. We’ve been ranked among the Top 10 for 47 straight weeks, the nation’s longest active streak. We’ve been ranked among the Top Five for 29 straight weeks, the nation’s longest streak. Our current streak in the poll is 158 straight weeks in the Top 25, it’s the longest active also, sixth longest in the history of the poll. We have told the guys that all that means is that you’ve got your program to a point now where people rank you in the Top Five, Top 10 in the preseason. The only thing in the preseason that matters is that you’re close enough to get in the mix to win the National Championship at the end. I think Alabama was fifth in the preseason last year. What you really want to do is finish in the proper place in the polls. That’s the most important thing.

    The Intern's Take Well said, Mack. I'm glad you've been working on your public speaking skills.

    On what Cody Johnson has done to become an every-down back: He’s gotten in great shape. The starter is still to be determined because the other two are in great shape and they’re doing what they’ve always done. We’re being smarter with Fozzy. He’s not a guy that you beat down in practice, because that’s not his game. He’s got a smaller body. He’s quick. Instead of taking him out there and beating him up and pounding him and wondering why he gets a sore knee or a sore ankle, we’re scrimmaging him but we’re not doing enough scrimmage to a point where he gets beaten down, same with Tre’ Newton. I would think the biggest thing with Cody; he’s learned, he’s in shape, he lost a lot of body fat, but he kept the same weight. It’s great conditioned weight right now. We’re really proud of what he’s done. Regardless of who starts out of those three, and today it would be one of those three, he will be in the mix.

    The Intern's Take Juxtapose the statement about Cody Johnson with someone like, say, Taylor Bible. It’s precisely the reason I’m rooting for CJ this season to take the running back position by the haunches and hump it into submission like lemurs bathing in a tropical pool of Astroglide. Seizing opportunity instead of 8 kolaches at the Czechk Stop with a half dozen apple fritters to go. Oh, and Fozzy Whitaker is Glass Joe from Punchout.

    On who stood out defensively in the scrimmage: I asked Will and Greg, I sat down with them for about an hour this morning. We went over who was the most consistent. You can add the three corners to that, because they’ve played really well. We’ve bragged on them so much I’m ready to see them play. Those other guys played really well.

    The Intern's Take: Our secondary is really good.

    On how many turnovers the first team offense has had in scrimmages: I’d have to check but very few. I know Garrett had one pass interception, I think that was it. It was when he thought a guy was offsides, so he forced a ball trying to make a big play and the guy was not called offsides. I think that’s the only one. He’s done really well.

    The Intern's Take: Garrett Gilbert is really good.

    On what’s different with Cody Johnson: It’s funny, we kind of gave up and said it looks like you’re going to be a short-yardage, goal-line back and that’s fine if that’s what you want to be for the rest of your career at Texas. Every year we sat here and said Cody is doing great in the spring and he pulls a hamstring. Cody is doing great, well he’s out. We’ve made it further this time. We’re actually in a position where he’s done everything right in preparing to play. We’re still 11 days from game time. Hopefully he’ll be able to accomplish the things the season this year that he’s prepared for. He’s never prepared this hard. Right now his preparation has paid off and his conditioning and his confidence.

    The Intern's Take: Cody Johnson deserves whatever accolades he achieves this season. The kid’s put in the time and maybe he’s our Tee Martin at the tailback spot. You can't get these kind of analogies from just any veteran Barker, can you?

    On the team hitting the wall: They work year round and they have to be careful. Jeff Madden does a great job of knowing when to push and when to back off and he lets them off a couple of weeks before practice starts just so they can rest their minds and their bodies. Most of the kids go back and work. It’s like preparing for the Olympics. They want to play so they’re not going to take off but he gives them some time off. Then you see the same thing, especially with your freshmen and preseason camp. They hit the wall last Thursday or Friday. Then their parents come on for the scrimmage on Saturday and that helps them some and they get some time off with fan appreciation day because they don’t go to that, and then you start back and now they’ve got to make it through Wednesday night and they think if they can make it until the weekend they’ll survive. Then they go watch their high school games at home this weekend and then game week is fun, all the students are back and they get really excited, but there’s different times that people hit walls. I saw a couple of those freshmen this morning and they just looked miserable and I said, ‘Do you feel as bad as you look?’ One of them, I’m not going to tell you who it was, but he was big, he said, ‘Yes, I feel every bit as bad as I look, I’ve never been this tired in my entire life,’ and that’s fair, that’s what happens to them. We’re lucky to be in a state where the high school coaches work the guys hard, so our guys aren’t in total shock like some would be across the country.

    The Intern's Take: Take it easy for the next three weeks physically. Then wreck Tech and leave a wake of burnt corpses amidst a smoldering city. 2012 comes two years early.

    On defensive standouts in the scrimmage: Sam Acho, Kheeston Randall, Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho, Blake Gideon, Christian Scott and Kenny Vaccaro have been consistently good and that’s every day. Kenny is, I think, the only guy I saw on four special teams so that’s a concern. He is doing that well and then we didn’t mention the three corners but they’ve just played good, I mean it’s been obvious.

    The Intern's Take: All of our starters are really fucking good. Seeing a theme here?

    On D.J. Monroe fitting into the offense: He would do the same things that Marquise Goodwin is doing. He was a running back, he wasn’t a receiver like Marquise, so obviously the routes downfield and all those things aren’t as comfortable, but the speed sweeps and the flares and those things he can do and that’s where he would work in.

    The Intern's Take: This team will need game-breakers and DJ Monroe is exactly that. Get him the ball on the edge, jet sweeps, pitchouts, wheel routes, and let him do gangsta's work.

    On Jordan Hicks: We have actually looked at Jordan Hicks some at fullback on short yardage and goal line. We’re talking to Jared Norton about some fullback on short yardage and goal line and they would still be linebackers, but we don’t have the big defensive tackle because we don’t have the experience there that we had with Roy Miller and Derek Lokey and Lamarr (Houston) last year, so we’ve got to look at a different fullback situation at goal line. (Hicks) is (progressing) but freshmen, again, are not consistent. They make plays but they’re not consistent and Greg (Davis) made this statement in the staff meeting last week that was fair that if you’re going to play freshmen, you’ll have to put up with some freshman inconsistencies until they get some experience because just to put them in front of 70,000 people for a first game in college on national TV, that’s a big jump from high school.

    The Intern's Take: Reading between the lines tells us the staff thinks the world of Hicks. Every short yardage fullback that has come over from the defense has been all world in the eyes of the staff: Roy Miller, Derek Lokey, and Lamarr Houston. For a freshman to take up this mantle says a lot about the makeup of the young man. If this actually happens in a game, however, I’m going to punch someone in the larynx. Let's keep Hicks at LB 105% of the time and use Roberson for this purpose.

    On Emmanuel Acho looking different this season: Yes, I’ll have to check it for sure, I think he’s 240 pounds. He’s really grown up and gotten stronger. He’s really good. He and Keenan, they can run and they’ll hit you. Kennan is 240 pounds. They’ve just have different looking bodies. I’m really pleased with the improvement in their body type, their strength, and at the same time, they haven’t lost any speed.

    The Intern's Take: Both these guys look like they stole Michael Keaton's Batman body suit and stuffed it under their pads. Striated glutes abound in the LB corps.

    On Demarco Cobbs playing safety and running back: He’s doing both. He’s had a pulled hamstring, he had it in high school so he really hasn’t been able to step up and do either one very much. He’s just not playing enough right now that you could evaluate him.

    The Intern's Take: Some guy named 'Scipio Sex' called Cobbs to the secondary before any of the other pundits made the leap. He also proclaimed VCR over Beta-max and Mike’s Hard Lemonade over Zima. Jury is still out on Wind over Solar and Jorts over Parachute Pants. But you might want to start listening to this guy.

    On what Gilbert has improved since camp began: Leadership, confidence, his swagger is back like he had in high school and the ability to protect the ball. He’s still got the deep arm, the big arm, so he can throw it deep, but he’s coming down a lot more, he’s dropping the ball off a lot more.

    On Gilbert taking a while to recover from the National Championship Game: I don’t think so, he’s tough, he’s really mentally strong. I thought he walked into the offices and program, we were recruiting a lot and we didn’t see it but in listening to the coaches and other players, he walked out there after that game and said, ‘Okay, let’s get back to work, we want to get back in that game and win,’ so I really don’t think so. The thing you worry about with a young quarterback are bad days or bad plays, and he has very few and he is the exact same way every day on the practice field that you all see him when you interview him. He just doesn’t change. His personality is really stable – very smart, very strong-willed, been raised right.

    The Intern's Take: Remember when the staff gushed over VY's summer camp heading into 2005? We’re not prone to hyperbole but it sounds like the staff thinks GG can carry his team on his shoulders, or more specifically, right arm, just as VY carried his team on his thighs, calves, and hamstrings. I believe it with every fiber of my being. It's also because I so sincerely want it to happen. Have you read The Secret?

    On the trick playbook expanding: It is, I told the offense this morning that they had run the same one a couple of time and I said, ‘Okay, we’ve seen that enough.’ We want a different one every day at practice. It’s important for the defense to see and it’s important for us to build our resume so we will have them for the games, so that’s something we’re going to do. There was one in Saturday’s scrimmage and I didn’t recognize it; it didn’t get far enough, so I told them I’d like them to run ones that work. I don’t want them to run bad trick plays because then the fans won’t notice them and they’ll ask me and I’ll say, ‘You know, we did three of them, they just never got to the line of scrimmage.’ So I told the offense I’d rather have them that work. I didn’t explain that this spring.

    The Intern's Take: Fake punt against Rice. Double reverse pass against Wyoming. Book it.

    On Reggie Wilson and Jackson Jeffcoat: Both of them are playing really well. We were talking as a staff this morning and I’ve been surprised with both. Both of them are in the mix; they’re both playing well. You would think Jackson might be because his dad has raised him, like Garrett, where every day he’s been around football, but really and truly, Reggie, coming from the Ivory Coast and being behind, he’s jumped right in there and he plays so hard and he’s so quick, but both of those guys are right in the middle of it.

    The Intern's Take: We hit the defensive end lottery by landing these bookends. They’re both going to maim quarterbacks named after lead singers in boy bands. They’re that good. They also embody the GKWG mantra so blue hairs will endorse the severing of carotids if it actually comes to that. Know who else comes from the Ivory Coast? Didier Drogba. The only player in soccer that isn't a pussy and will slash your larynx on his way to the goal.

    If you actually read all 4600 words this transcript, I will sign your BC tote bag at the UCLA tailgate in September. We're efforting to get dry eraseboard intern there as well.