Texas coach Mack Brown guided his Longhorns to a nice 31-21 victory over Kansas State on Saturday. The win should be enough to ensure he will remain in his post as Longhorns head coach for at least two weeks.
And that's only two weeks because the Longhorns are idle next week. After that, all bets are off. Brown is still working on an 8.5 out of 10 on the hot seat meter.
While I would be surprised if Texas lets Brown go during the season, I wouldn't be shocked. It's been a rough start for Brown. In fact, Texas entered this game at 1-2, which was its worst record after three games since 1998—Brown's first season as coach.
After a 44-23 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels and a 40-21 loss to the BYU Cougars, Brown's standing at Texas had never been lower than it was when he entered Saturday's game.
Just one of those losses in a season at Texas is unacceptable, let alone two of them—and let alone back to back.
Still, this win was definitely a step in the right direction to cooling off Brown's seat a bit. The Wildcats had beaten Texas five straight times heading into this matchup.
At the heart of the problems this season has been an anemic defense. Texas has not been able to stop anyone—especially on the ground.
The Longhorns entered Saturday ranked 121st in the nation against the run.
It would be a wild exaggeration to say Texas stuffed the Wildcats' rushing attack on Saturday, but it was definitely improved. The defense allowed 115 yards gained at 3.0 yards per carry.
This is a good sign, and there is evidence to suggest that the improvements are sustainable. After the bad loss to BYU, Brown fired Manny Diaz from his defensive coordinator position and hired Greg Robinson.
Despite his recent absence from coaching, Robinson's presence appears to have brought improvements to this porous defense.
Another positive sign for Brown's job security is the intensity with which the Longhorns played. This team has not quit on its coach or the season. Check out this hard run by Johnathan Gray:
This win was far from dominant, though. Texas got sloppy in the second half and very well could have lost had the Wildcats executed better. Also, starting quarterback David Ash was knocked from this game with a head injury.
If that turns out to be a concussion, it could be a lengthy absence. It would be his second of the season. His absence would definitely make it harder for Brown to save his job.
The reported discussions occurred prior to the start of this season. That would suggest to me that the Longhorns considered Brown to be on thin ice at the start of the season.
A win over Kansas State is not enough to ease any of those concerns after the dismal start to the season.
Brown is going to need a spectacular close to the season to save his job, and I, for one, don't see that happening.