One week after taking the high-flying Nebraska Cornhuskers to the woodshed before a hostile Lincoln, NE crowd, the Longhorns underwent yet another shocking collapse before the Texas faithful at DKR Memorial Stadium in Austin.
In a 28-21 shellacking that was even more dreadful than the numbers might suggest, every functional element of the Longhorn squad was seen to dance wildly about—as if afflicted by a rare neuromuscular ailment—fumbling the football, throwing picture-perfect interceptions, falling down for no apparent reason, and more.
As in previous contests, astonishingly stupid east-west passes were thrown. Again, first down opportunities were blown time and again by pass plays designed to be caught short of the first down mark. The Texas O-Line performed like a clumsy, insipid, bush-league outfit rather than an elite offense unit of a great Big 12 football team!
The loss described here is not simply a loss. No. It's much more than that. It points to deep, systemic disease within the corpus of the Texas Longhorns football program. It is a disease that attacks every part of the affected organism—its brain, appendages and its heart.
The disease leads to players and coaches bereft of the will to win! Texas has become such a team—a floundering, obscene excuse for a football team.
The nauseating performance of the Texas Longhorns today against a team regarded by most analysts as mediocre at best simply cannot be allowed to recur. Action must be taken now. Heads must roll!
The Cause & Cure of the Disease
Early in the season, I wrote in BR's pages, an article that called for the coaching staff to take a look—under game conditions—at Case McCoy. Gilbert is no leader—I am now certain of this. When I wrote the article, I suspected that he lacked the ability to take the Horns to the promised land.
I believed that he had most of the physical attributes necessary to excel. I was unsure about his football skills—that is to say, the ability to "see" the field of play, make sound decisions rapidly and execute. Today, I am of the opinion that he hasn't the skills—on any level—to perform successfully as QB at any major college program.
Gilbert has now enjoyed more than half of a regular season of play to prove himself—to earn the starting spot. I like the young man. I wish him well. But, he just doesn't have the talent to get the job done.
Gilbert should be replaced immediately. Texas fans should call for Case McCoy to start next week.
Mack Brown is responsible for the Texas Longhorns football team. He is paid handsomely to win championships. He isn't doing a very good job, and it's time to bid him farewell. No, I don't want to throw him under the bus—I want to re-purpose Mack Brown.
I like Mack Brown. I like him a lot. He has been very good and very bad for the program.
Mack is the finest coach in the land from the standpoint of recruiting, public relations and so on. He is, unfortunately, a poor tactician and game-day coach. He has squandered more world-class talent at Texas than perhaps any coach in NCAA history. He should have won three or four BCSNCG's given the wealth of talent that he has recruited to the 40 Acres.
Another significant flaw is that Mack maintains loyalty to employees like Greg Davis to the everlasting injury of the team. He should have fired Davis a long time ago, but for reasons of his own, he has not done so. This is often a problem when one hires close friends.
Brown seems to be distracted by hauling in blockbuster recruits whether they fill important gaps in the Horns roster or not. In a state chock-full of great running back prospects, he seldom pursues big, heavy, backs who can make the snot fly! Every team needs a bruiser who can be relied upon to bust heads, carry five defenders on his back and almost certainly gain short yards when they absolutely, positively must be gained. Why does Mack pass on so many prospects of this kind when they are so badly needed? Who knows?
Mack also comes up short in the "intensity" category. Players feed off the intensity of their coaches. One need look no further than Will Muschamp to see a fine example of a coach who can stoke a fire in the hearts and minds of his charges.
I won't dwell on Mack's lack of enthusiasm, but he is a practitioner of the low key, "kinder-gentler," school of coaching. Like a parent who wants to be pals with his teenage sons, Brown too often plays the role of "friend" to his players. It's great that the kids like Mack, but, they would profit from a tougher Mack Brown—a coach to be respected, and to some extent, feared. Ask yourself if you participated in organized sports growing up and if the more successful coaches were seen as "pals" by their players? The good coaches I played for were all a little scary. I respected all of them, but there was no way I wanted to find out what happened if I ticked them off!
Mack's defenders will point angrily to his "stats." "Look," they will argue, "his record is among the best in the NCAA!" They're quite right. I will stipulate that they are good. So, "how," they may ask, can I maintain that he is a bad game-day coach? I hold that Mack is a poor game-day coach because I've looked on for years now as he made very poor decision.
Few coaches manage time as poorly as Mack. He seems to be mystified by the play clock and its implications for success or failure. Game-planning is often poor—so poor that Texas in its very best years has been game-planned out of the first quarter or half by inferior football teams. One need look only as far back as the now famous "pooch kick" he so cleverly called against Nebraska last week for an example of the bone-headed things he does.
So, what to do with Mack Brown?
Texas should offer Mack Brown big money to serve as Chief Executive of the Texas Network—perhaps offer him an arrangement that would allow him to earn modest equity in the enterprise. Having elevated Mack to this role, the University will benefit from Mack's talent, and some of the emotional and psychic upheaval normally associated with coaches being fired outright might be buffered or avoided. Mack Brown likes a dollar as much as the next fella—maybe more than most fellas. He won't carp and kaw about being mistreated if he's allowed to wet his beak in the revenue stream from the new network.
This article is already long, so I will be brief in my remarks regarding Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis.
Greg Davis is an incompetent Offensive Coordinator—end of story. Worse, he is stubborn in his ignorance. If you doubt it, you haven't watched a lot of Texas football. Orange bloods know the story all too well—Bubble Screens, throwing under the chains on third down, idiotic plays galore...moreover, he coaches the QB's! What a horrifying thought!
Davis' defenders will point to his stats. I'll admit, they look pretty good. But, they are not good because Davis is a talented OC. They are good in spite of his gross incompetence. The fact of the matter is that Texas has had so much raw athletic talent on its roster that the Horns prevailed time and again over teams that were better coached and better prepared.
There is plenty of talent in Austin, but it is too young, too raw to deliver in a big way this season. It is likely too, that the level of talent has declined a bit this year. Evidently, the decline has been sufficient to unmask Davis for the pretender that he is.
Davis must be fired, and the sooner the better. He is the worst or the Horns several problems. It's bad that the man is incompetent, but to repeat—over and over—the same mistakes earns him nothing but contempt from me.
The Horns must fire Greg Davis. Tomorrow would not be too soon.
The Future of the Texas Longhorns
There is no reason that Texas should not compete for conference and national titles every year—none at all.
Texas has fallen upon hard times this year for reasons that are identifiable and amenable to correction. Whether or not they are corrected will depend largely upon alums—and to a lesser extent—everyone else speaking out in a loud and unequivocal voice: "Fire Greg Davis Now! Re-Purpose Mack Brown! Bench Garrett Gilbert!"
Some will wonder why I have let the Defensive Coordinator off without a word. Well, here's the word: The Texas defense gave up 199 yards to a mediocre football team today. Iowa State beat Texas at home for the first time in history. Texas has now been whipped twice this season at home! The performance of the defense and Coordinator Will Muschamp was more than unsatisfactory.
Notwithstanding this, defense has shown signs of life this year, but it's losing its luster fast. This, I believe, is partly the result of disgust on their part at the horrible offensive play. The Texas D has spent a lot of time on the field this year. Scoring defense has been a strength for Texas during Muschamp's tenure. Still, the squad is a little suspect. I suppose Will Muschamp is too. If, however, we set his recent failings aside, I have been favorably impressed with him.
I would like to see Muschamp get a shot at coaching the Longhorns. With his fiery, enthusiastic, personality and solid record of accomplishment, I think he might be a solid Head Coach for Texas. He's old enough without being too old. One can envision him spending another 20 years on the campus. We won't know until he is given a chance.
We are Texas! We simply cannot stand still and allow embarrassment of this magnitude to persist.