If new Texas athletic director Steve Patterson is a man of his word, changes won't be coming for change's sake.
Patterson, who was formally introduced as DeLoss Dodds' successor on Thursday, doesn't anticipate "monstrous changes" being made within the athletic department.
“I don’t see, as I have other places where I’ve taken over organizations, that we need a dramatic turnaround,” Patterson said at his press conference, via Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t anticipate monstrous changes to the department.”
That is, to some degree, a PR tactic. It's Patterson's first press conference at his new job, so it's probably not wise to roll out a list of things that need to be upended. But it's obvious Texas' athletic department has more than its fair share of problems.
The basketball program has underachieved under head coach Rick Barnes. The baseball program, which had been a national power under Augie Garrido, has struggled lately.
And then there's football coach Mack Brown.
Brown, in his 16th year with the Longhorns, seemed all but officially done in September when Texas got off to a 1-2 start. Then, Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and the 'Horns are 5-0 in Big 12 play since. With four games left in the season, Texas is definitely in the thick of the conference title hunt.
Which, of course, is what Brown stood by after getting rocked by Ole Miss nearly two months ago.
Every major college football program dreams of a national championship, but few have the resources and personnel to realistically expect to compete for one often. So while winning a conference title would be great for Texas—it would also only be the third one under Brown—there's no doubt the 'Horns were thinking more as recently as August.
With the 19 returning starters and a wide-open Big 12, Texas had every right to think about it too.
What a difference the timing of Diaz's firing makes.
Now, Patterson is faced with a similar timing-based conundrum that is rich in irony. Winning is supposed to make things easier and simpler. Texas' recent success, however, has only complicated the matter.
Does Brown stay or go? What does Brown want to do? Will it matter? How easy is it for an athletic director to remove a coach if the team is having success?
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who was reported to be the front-runner for the Texas AD job by Orangebloods.com until Patterson got it, found out the ramifications of that firsthand when he replaced Bill Stewart with Dana Holgorsen. Stewart led WVU to three consecutive nine-win seasons from 2008-2010.
Perhaps the situation will take care of itself. B/R's own Michael Felder wrote last month after Texas' win over Oklahoma that Brown is still as good as gone—just on his own terms.
But that was when Dodds was still Texas' AD. Though Dodds will remain as a consultant, it's up to Patterson to decide what's best for the program and whether Brown fits into that plan. Brown has been instrumental in bringing in millions upon millions of dollars to the athletic program, but he was not Patterson's hire.
“I think we need to keep doing what we do well and find places where we can grow and do a better job of things we can improve on,” Patterson said at his press conference.
A lot of people would argue that 28-18 since the 2010 BCS championship—and 16-15 in conference play—would be a good place to start.