Mack Brown has slowly but surely lost the support of Austin, and now, one of Texas' most beloved former players, 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell, has piled on by weighing in against him.
Update: Monday, Sep. 30 – 12:10 p.m. ET
According to Mark Rosner of the Austin American-Statesman, Brown issued the following classy (albeit awkward) response to Campbell's comments:
MACK Brown on Earl Campbell: "He has done so much for Texas. He will always be welcome at our school."— Mark Rosner (@MarkRosnerAAS) September 30, 2013
More Mack on Earl: "I’m disappointed in his comments, but he is entitled to his opinion.”— Mark Rosner (@MarkRosnerAAS) September 30, 2013
--END OF UPDATE--
According to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston, Campbell said that the Brown era has run its course and should soon come to an end:
Nobody likes to get fired or leave a job, but things happen. I'd go on record and say "yes I think it's time."
I'd just say this, I take my hat off for USC for what they've done. They didn't mess around with it. They just said "let's do it now." I think at some point our university's people are going to have make a decision.
Should Texas Fire Mack Brown?
Campbell, of course, is referring to USC's firing of head coach Lane Kiffin, who led the Trojans to a 3-2 record before getting the boot Sunday morning. After an embarrassing loss at Arizona State, athletic director Pat Haden wasted no time in dismissing his head coach.
Some would argue that Texas has already missed that opportunity; it's hard to imagine things getting more ugly than Week 2's game against BYU, when the Cougars rushed for 550 yards in Provo.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired after that game, getting replaced with Greg Robinson, but Brown remained (and remains) in charge.
The cons of firing Brown now are obvious: The team might collapse. And after watching Oklahoma State lose at West Virginia last week, the Longhorns—despite their marked early struggles—aren't delirious to think they have a shot at salvaging the season and maybe even making a run in the Big 12.
But the pros are obvious too. If this season is chalked up as a wash, firing Brown now could give Texas an early jump on its coaching search. It would be able to touch base with its top candidates sooner rather than later and would stand a better chance of landing one of them.
In Texas' mind—a mind that thinks even Nick Saban is available—it shouldn't have to do that. Any coach in the country should be honored to coach in Austin.
But the USC job is, arguably, just as prestigious as the Texas one, so it can't fall too far behind in its pursuit.
Campbell might be right.