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Texas Football: What Happened to the Longhorns, and Can Mack Brown Fix It?

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns looks over the team during warm ups before playing the Rice Owls at Reliant Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Texas beat Rice 34-17.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterDecember 1, 2010

Twelve straight winning seasons. Nine straight years of 10 or more wins. Two National Championship Game appearances. One National Championship Trophy. With all of those accolades, what the hell just happened in Austin, Texas?

College football is full of parity, which makes the Longhorns' run over the past 12 seasons something to marvel at. But almost as impressive is their dramatic fall from grace. Eleven months ago Texas was in the National Championship Game—today they are not even bowl-eligible.

Many will talk about what is wrong at UT; we are here to fix the problem.

 

ESTABLISH AN IDENTITY

The Longhorns have changed from a power run game, to the zone option, to the spread option and now to a power-I attack that never took off. Know yourselves, Longhorns.

The state of Texas produces more talent than any other state in the union when it comes to high school football, and yet Mack Brown and Greg Davis have decided to reign in that raw talent by slowing down the tempo on offense and defense.

On offense, the team became predictable. First down: Pass to the flats. Second down: Bubble screen. Third down: Draw play. Fourth down: Punt.

My 10-year old daughter is more creative playing Madden.

Texas refused to go back to what has worked for them over the past decade: Adapt your scheme to your personnel.

When Ricky Williams was in town, the power run game was best. Vince Young made the zone read his bitch. Colt McCoy's accuracy spawned the spread option offense. Garrett Gilbert and his stable of speed receivers would have been a picture-perfect fit for the spread offense.

 

FIRE GREG DAVIS

I have actually be saying this for years. It has become my go-to statement any time Texas loses, which has not been often over the years. But now it is time.

Major Applewhite is in place as running backs coach, and he has shown in a previous stop at Alabama that he is a very capable offensive coordinator. The Longhorns need creativity. They need a spark. They need the same "it" factor that Major provided during the days of Chris Simms.

Fire Greg Davis.

 

UNLEASH THE HORSES

Watching Alabama, Auburn, Oregon and TCU over the weekend, one thing stuck out: They let their players play. Auburn and Oregon use speed attacks on offense that confuse, frustrate and disable defenses. Alabama and TCU have fierce defenses that dictate what offenses can do to them.

While these four programs are all great, none have more talent on their roster than Texas from top to bottom. What they do have is a coaching staff that allows the athleticism and energy in their locker room to flow over onto the field. Alabama and Auburn play loose, fast and hard—and they win big because of it.

 

ATTACK-ATTACK-ATTACK

What does the Texas defense never do? Blitz. The Texas defense has become too complacent, too confident and too happy to sit and wait for the ball carrier. The Longhorns defense no longer scares opposing players the way they did when Derrick Johnson was suiting up.

There is no Casey Hampton on this team.

Will Muschamp, as brilliant as he is, must open up the defensive playbook and let his players play. The speed on the Texas defense can match up with any offense in the Big 12.

And as my high school coaches used to tell us, if you're going to give up big plays—at least give them up trying to kill the quarterback.

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