This week, Monday night, Texas Athletic Director, DeLoss Dodds spoke with Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman about the state of Texas' athletic department. Dodds, through cryptic language, was hoping to galvanize the spirit of Longhorn Nation and stoke the fire behind Texas sports.
Eh, except he did a lot of talking about everybody else.
He talked about Missouri and how Texas was better than them. He mentioned the dips of Texas A&M, Michigan and Tennessee after legendary coaches. He even talked about how other schools aren't making money.
What the longtime AD needed to do was talk more about Texas and less about any school that doesn't wear burnt orange.
The Longhorns have got a serious bucket of problems and looking outside only serves as a diversion. Folks ultimately need answers as to how the flagship school of Texas can get back on top. From a football standpoint, Texas has questions that need a response, both in meetings and on the field.
First, and foremost, what is the game plan on offense? Bryan Harsin is gone, now the head coach at Arkansas State, and that leaves Major Applewhite at the helm. Major Applewhite who is involved in stirring up some of the dirt Dodds is trying to calm. Applewhite, a former Texas quarterback and Alabama offensive coordinator, gets to the run the show, and he'll be first up to answer questions.
Do the 'Horns go ground and pound? Or, do they get cute and try to finesse their way to victories?
With running backs galore, a seasoned offensive line and a quarterback who is at his best using play-action, why wouldn't Texas go full-time power offense? Good question, one that they could not answer this season as the hodge-podge of run, pass, gadget plays and over-thinking played itself out.
On defense? The Longhorns have a lot to prove. A year ago at this time Manny Diaz was one of the hot names that people expected to be a head coach going into 2013. Now, he's a guy whose unit got shredded in wins and in losses. A unit that did not even get off the bus against Oklahoma and who decided 50 points for Baylor was a decent effort.
The group couldn't tackle, it couldn't make run fits and ultimately proved to be one of the more disappointing defenses in college football. The bloom fell off Diaz's rose and the talk should certainly be about whether or not he gets it back in 2013.
As for Mack Brown, Dodds can dance around the coach being on the hot seat all he likes. He can sell this idea that he's retaining him because he's the best person Texas can have in that position to folks who will buy it. He can throw out A&M, Michigan and Tennessee as schools where transition hurt but did not help.
Talk around the meat of the issue all he likes.
In the end, Mack Brown better win some games. And "games" really means "games that matter." That means beating Oklahoma. That means competing for a Big 12 title. That means getting into a bowl game, preferably of the BCS type that people are going to care about, and then winning it.
DeLoss Dodds is a hell of a salesman. Unfortunately, through all the smoke you can see that the real issue is Texas. It's not Texas compared to someone else. It's not Texas worrying about falling on hard times like other programs. No, the problem is merely Texas. A Texas program that's under his watch and command.
As a college baseball fan, clicking over to Baseball America and not seeing the Longhorns is a bit of an issue. The track scandal Bohls mentions in his Austin American-Statesman piece is another issue that causes problems for the athletic department. Basketball, men's and women's, is not looking as bright as many have come to expect. There's a lot on Dodds' plate.
And it all is about Texas.