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Texas' Failure to Develop QBs May Keep Longhorns from Winning It All

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns looks on from the sidelines during the season opener against the Rice Owls at Reliant Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Kyle ScottContributor IIIJune 5, 2012

It's a standard criticism of Mack Brown: He's a hell of a recruiter but not much of a coach.

This should concern some Longhorn fans as this year's team is in need of development if it expects to end up in a BCS game.

There aren't many Vince Youngs out there, the type of player who can just be himself and win games without much coaching. Remember the theme from the championship season was "Let Vince be Vince."

This year's team is stocked with talent, which is par for the course in Austin, but it still needs to be coached up.

This is particularly evident at the quarterback position. With David Ash the likely starter and the possibility of again splitting time with Case McCoy, there is no reason to think they can be part of the nation's elite without improved quarterback play from Ash and McCoy.

Unfortunately, under Brown, quarterbacks do not improve much from year-to-year.

To make the case, let's look at QB ratings for the four starting quarterbacks who played their entire career under Brown.

Major Applewhite: 1998 (147.4), 1999 (129.4), 2000 (135.9), 2001 (149.4). Applewhite finished right where he began with two down years in between. Not exactly evidence of a player being "coached up."

Chris Simms: 1999 (117.6), 2000 (144.0), 2001 (133.5), 2002 (143.0). Simms only played six games in 1999 thus the only comparable years are 2000-02 when we see a relatively stable QB rating with no improvement.

Vince Young: 2003 (130.6), 2004 (128.4), 2005 (163.9). Young's improvement was not steady under Brown's tutelage but only took a tick up when Brown took a hands-off approach to Young's development.

Colt McCoy: 2006 (161.8), 2007 (139.2), 2008 (173.8), 2009 (147.4). Again, no steady improvement in this statistical category.

I am sure there are any number of excuses and reasons one could find to explain the lack of QB development under Brown, but the responsibility ultimately falls on him and his staff for player development. If a coach can't overcome hurdles that can hinder player development, he shouldn't be one of the top paid coaches in the nation.

The 2012 Longhorns are better equipped at running back, the offensive line and the defense, which should be good enough for nine or 10 wins if the quarterback remains unimproved. But to appease Longhorn fans, the quarterback will have to be better as beating Oklahoma and returning to a BCS game are what's expected from the demanding fan base.

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