The Fall of the Longhorns

Craig KnappContributor IAugust 17, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Head Coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns stands on the sidelines during the Citi BCS National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A few years ago I saw Longhorn Coach Mack Brown out on a local area golf course.

He had about a 125-yard shot to the pin and looked like he was hitting a five iron. I watched him as he swung and committed the cardinal sin of an amateur golfer, he lifted his head.

The ball went off the toe of the club and ended up in bushy area. I watched for almost five minutes as he searched frantically for the ball. There was no anger, no real emotion, he just scoured the area for his lost ball with the same intensity he prowls the sideline with.

After a while, his foursome had already putted out and were pressing Brown to just grab a new ball and let that one go. But Brown must have spent another couple minutes before he begrudgingly grabbed another ball and tossed it onto the fairway.

He chipped onto the green and two putted to close out the hole.

And this is why the Longhorn dynasty could come to an end.

No it’s not because coach Brown can’t hit an iron to save his life, its because he just doesn’t know when its over and its time to move on.

Texas has a head coach in waiting, Will Muschamp their defensive coordinator, but the problem is he’s not going to wait forever. The quiet fear in Austin is that Muschamp will be snagged up before Brown decides to hang up the headset.

Anytime a head coaching vacancy at a major program comes up Muschamp’s name is brought up, usually first. Each time Muschamp quickly squashes the rumor and they move onto the next name. But one day he going to say yes, and that day could be soon.

There’s only one job that would most assuredly take Muschamp out of Austin.

So this year every Longhorn fan needs to hope and pray that Georgia rips through the SEC and contends for a National Title. Because if Georgia falters this year and Mark Richt loses his job Muschamp will be the top name on Georgia's very short list.

If Texas loses Brown’s hand picked successor the program will take a hit both in prestige and on the field performance. Muschamp is arguably the best defensive mind in college football today. He is able to motivate his players and has a work ethic that is contagious. Guys want to win for him, they want to bleed for him.

How do you replace that?

You don’t. Simple as that.

So Texas will have to settle for option No. 2 whoever that might be. Probably whomever is the hot name at the time. But the problem will be its not the guy who they wanted or maybe not the right fit.

Brown can put an end to this by just setting out a time line for Muschamp to take over. But he won’t and really why would he?

He has a National Title contender every season and is still able to pull in the top recruits year after year.

The guy’s got it good.

But sadly one of life’s lessons is that things can turnaround fast. At some point those 10 win seasons will unfortunately turn into nine wins and then eight, and then seven.

Then you have trouble getting the big name recruits and your program is in the wilderness for the better part of a decade. See Nebraska before the Pelini regime came in.

Brown needs to realize that nothing lasts forever and he needs to start thinking about the next 10 years of the program. You’ve got a great coach ready to go who will be able to carry on the Brown legacy unless someone snatches him up.

In a perfect world Brown will announce that he plans to step aside in two maybe three years and maybe by that time Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds is ready to call it a career and Brown can move into the position many think he is destined for.

So please Mack just let the ball go.