Mack Brown's hot seat got a little bit warmer with a 44-23 loss to the No. 25 Ole Miss Rebels one week after a 40-21 loss to the BYU Cougars.
Once again the Longhorns struggled to stop the run. After giving up 550 yards on the ground to Taysom Hill and BYU, Jeff Scott and Ole Miss ran for 272 yards as the Longhorns went to 1-2 to start a season for just the second time in the Mack Brown era, per ESPN Stats & Info:
With the loss vs Ole Miss, Texas also begins season 1-2 for 1st time since 1998 (Mack Brown's 1st season as head coach).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 15, 2013
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace ran for 57 yards on 12 carries as the Rebels once again utilized the read-option to beat the Texas defense.
Many people would love to see Brown embrace retirement at this point in the season. After losing to both BYU and Ole Miss, fans would much rather see Brown bask in the glory of the national championship he brought to Austin in 2005 while working on his golf game than continue to put a mediocre product on the field.
But before fans get their pitchforks and torches and march on over to the Brown estate, there are some things that must be taken into consideration about the Longhorns' loss at home.
- Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson was just promoted earlier in the week. That's not enough time to make the major adjustments that need to be made defensively for Texas to succeed.
- Offensively, Brown didn't have the benefit of having his starting quarterback to duel Ole Miss signal-caller Bo Wallace. Case McCoy was forced to start due to an injury to starter David Ash.
- Ole Miss and BYU aren't exactly terrible teams.
The frustration coming out of Austin is understandable. This isn't a program that hasn't started 1-2 very often.
However, the Longhorns still have a lot to play for at this point in the season as the Big 12 slate has not even started. Attempting to replace Brown midseason with conference play set to kick off would be a mistake because the opportunity to build some momentum is coming.
After traveling to BYU and hosting a ranked Ole Miss team in back-to-back weeks, taking on a Kansas State team that opened the season with a loss to North Dakota State has to be welcome news.
While the Wildcats have bounced back to get to 2-1 on the season, those two wins have come against the likes of UL-Lafayette and Massachusetts. Not exactly the cream of the crop.
If the Longhorns fail to pick up a win against the Wildcats at home, then the University will have no choice but to start looking for his replacement. But a win would put them at an even 2-2 heading into another Big 12 game against Iowa State.
Given the Cyclones' 0-2 start against Northern Iowa and Iowa, it's safe to say that they are in worse shape than even Brown and the Longhorns.
That means that Robinson and Brown will have at least two weeks with very winnable games to get on the same page and rescue this team from its horrific start before the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma.
While David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest may have been leaning on the sarcastic side when tweeting about Texas' Big 12 title hopes, there is an element of truth to what he says:
If Texas can figure out a way to make the read option illegal in Big 12 play, I like its title chances.— David Ubben (@davidubben) September 15, 2013
The Longhorns have a talented team. Much of the talent from the 2012 squad that went 9-4 with an Alamo Bowl victory is still on the roster. The issues with the team to this point have largely been schematic.
It's not going to be a popular opinion, but the Longhorns can't dismiss Brown quite yet. The 1-2 start has been less than ideal, but after a tenure that has been marked by more successes than failures, the program at least owes it to Brown to try to right the ship in conference play before sending him to retirement midseason.