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Big 12 Media Days: Mack Brown Talks Longhorns

MackSpeak deciphered here.
MackSpeak deciphered here.

It's telling that of our three attendees - Mason Walters, Carrington Byndom, Jordan Hicks - none of them is a senior, and none of them is a QB. The former speaks to a senior class that, outside of Okafor and Vaccaro, can be charitably described as forgettable; the latter speaks to Brown's strategeries around managing the QB depth chart. This is a young team, but if Texas is legitimately going to make progress to the next level (say, 10-3), that excuse can't fly for much longer.

Let's decipher some MackSpeak.

Well, I'm sitting in a red chair; I don't do that very often in the Big 12.

It's a hot seat. Win and we'll paint it white.

On the QB situation:

What we have done now, we have two older guys that have been through a year with Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite offense. They both won significant games, one against -- Case against A&M in College Station at the end of the year, David Ash in the Bowl game against Cal. They left spring practice even.

They didn't, actually. Ash is the guy, barring injury or Gilbertian meltdown. But it's a valuable fiction to maintain if it prevented McCoy from transferring, allows us to redshirt Brewer, and puts Swoopes on an appropriate developmental time schedule. The secondary benefit - not necessarily to me, but in MackMind - is that it prevents Ash from feeling the weight of being the guy and having to relive last season through media questioning. Ash will feel the weight of being the guy when he runs out in front of 100,000, though.

On the QBs separating:

You bring in key players and ask what they think. But usually somebody will tweak an ankle or somebody will have a sore shoulder, and it may not just be by performance that it separates. If it doesn't separate, you choose one to start the game. If he doesn't play well, you put the other one in. And I remember one year that Coach Taft at Baylor was running quarterbacks in every play and had a really good team. I remember he would run them in every play and put a different one on the goal line short yardage package.

That's Coach President Howard Taft of Baylor. Apparently, the press conference court reporter doesn't know their SWC history.

And did Mack just go Cody Carlson and Tom Muecke up in here? He did. The two Baylor QBs alternated for two years in the 1980s. Commander Cody went on to be a back-up QB for the Houston Oilers and Muecke played in the CFL. That Brown drew on a 30 year old data point instead of his own experiences at Texas or UNC to make his point probably means he's not that interested in developing his cover story.

JUCO, Hawkins and Moore:

They both had a good semester academically, from what it sounds, they both had very good summers, and both of them will either start or get significant playing time.

We knew about Hawkins and he pretty much has to start, but if Moore dropping 15 pounds already is an indication of his commitment to fitness, we may have a player who can string together entire drives instead of individual snaps. Good stuff.

Mike Davis and his sophomore slump:

And last year he had a lot of personal things pop up and it just didn't work as well for him. It's harder for receivers when you're playing four quarterbacks. It's harder for them to feel the guy and get the chemistry with the guy. That's one thing we're working to find out right now. But Mike had a good spring. He's getting his confidence back. He's blocking better. His relationship is good with Darrell Wyatt, our new receiver coach. So we really need Mike to step up and have a great year, and we feel like he will.

Fingers crossed. He pretty much checked out over the second half of the season. If we can't complement Shipley with a legitimate threat, the field constricts like a thrift store neck tie.

Other points of interest:

- Brown mentioned that we'd only start two seniors on offense (Roberson, Grant), two on defense (Vaccaro, Okafor). So leadership has to come from the younger classes. I see multiple leaders on the defense, but who are they on offense? Can you name one? Mason Walters seems to have been tabbed, but his play has yet to match his reputation.

- On two separate occasions in this press conference, Mack mentioned that the value of developing a running game wasn't just for our offense, it's also so our defense can experience a real running game in practice. When Mack hits hard on a theme like that, it's typically staff conversations leaking out. I think those conversations began with Muschamp and have continued with Diaz.

- Mack emphasized we're not becoming a run first team. He wants balance. I agree. The predictions I see on some of the fan boards that we'll be 75% run are going to be wrong.