For the second consecutive year, head coach Mack Brown was befuddled in the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma in another lopsided loss. But despite the massive flop, throwing Brown on the hot seat is an overreaction.
Until the program's recent rough stretch, Brown won at least 10 games per season from 2001 to 2009, with two national championship appearances and one victory.
During the majority of that span, Brown had the benefit of two of the best college quarterbacks of all time. Other than Michael Vick, Vince Young may have been the most dynamic dual-threat quarterback ever. Colt McCoy ended his career as the all-time winningest quarterback in NCAA history as a four-year starter.
David Ash is just a sophomore and this is the first year he has truly been labeled as "the man" under center for the Longhorns. Up until this past Saturday's tilt with the Sooners, Ash was having a phenomenal season.
Unfortunately, things went south for Ash, capped by a left wrist injury that knocked him out of the game in the fourth quarter.
If the Brown era has taught us anything, it's that the quarterback has to play spectacularly for the team to have a chance. With the exception of one season since the national championship year of 2005, the defense has had to play well in turn for the team to ultimately succeed.
Here is a rundown of the defensive statistics since that magical 2005 title, with yards per game and points per game allowed and Texas' rank in the nation included (via Yahoo!):
|Year||Record||YPG Allowed||PPG Allowed||National Rank in Each Category|
So what can we learn from these numbers? It may sound rather obvious, but fantastic quarterback play and a stout defense translates to the most successful seasons under Brown.
McCoy threw 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 2007, and the defense wasn't quite as good as it would be in the other four years of that five-year span.
Garrett Gilbert quarterbacked the Longhorns into the ground in 2010, which explains the large disparity between yards and points allowed by the defense.
Again, inconsistency under center between Ash and Case McCoy last season led to the defense that gave up more points than it would have with a stable, stellar signal-caller.
Ash has played mostly lights out this season, as Texas is averaging 42.5 points per game. But the 2012 defensive unit has been by far the worst the team has had in recent memory. The 63-point shellacking that Oklahoma laid on them serves as an outlier, but the Longhorns have looked shaky on that side of the ball for the past month.
The departure of former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to coach the Florida Gators has had the Longhorns declining on that side of the ball. Not all of that can be blamed on Brown—just take a look at what Muschamp is doing with the Florida program in just his second season.
It will be hard for Longhorn fans to shake off another nightmare loss to their bitter rival. But considering the circumstances surrounding the Texas program, there needs to be at least one more year given to the rebuilding effort.
One more year of development for Ash and one more year to reconstruct the defense will serve the Longhorns well. Putting Brown on the hot seat and firing him would be an egregious knee-jerk reaction.